Superstorm Sandy was a wake up call for many people living along the eastern shoreline of the United States. The impact was acutely felt in places like Long Beach Island, a 17 mile long barrier island or “sand bar.” While Long Beach Island has seen past storms, development trends in the last couple of decades have made the community increasing vulnerable. Recovery has been a slow and frustrating process for many and has raised questions about how to plan for the future. The Jersey Shore is one of the most densely inhabited shorelines in the United States, and is facing additional challenges including ongoing erosion, pollution, and sea level rise. For example, clammers who once supplied tourists with a seemingly endless supply suffered tremendously after Sandy and are concerned about the impacts of pollution on their livlihood and protecting this living seawall. Costly coastal engineering projects include groins, jetties, sea walls and beach nourishment, techniques that have been replicated around the world. But there are critics of the “New Jerseyfication” of the world’s shorelines, and many claim that ongoing development and fortifying our shorelines is not a sustainable way forward. What are more sustainable solutions? What did Superstorm Sandy teach us about the critical role of community in recovery efforts? How do healthy wetlands also protect shoreline communities? How have publishers, writers, educators, environmentalists, museum curators, and surfers been working together to raise awareness and create a more resilient community?
STORIES FROM NEW JERSEY