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Ongoing Activities of the New Jersey Climate Adaptation Alliance

The New Jersey Climate Adaptation Alliance is a network of partner organizations dedicated to the mission of enhancing New Jersey's capacity to plan for and respond to a changing climate. Support for the Alliance's effort comes from partner organizations, private foundations, Rutgers University and government agencies. The Alliance's efforts are guided by its Advisory Committee and facilitated by Rutgers University. Ongoing efforts include:

► Develop Public Policy Recommendations
The Alliance is engaged in a comprehensive undertaking to prepare a set of recommendations for state and local climate preparedness policy. New Jersey is only one of two states in the region without a statewide climate adaptation plan. Through research on climate impacts, analyses of affected populations, identification of leading practices and engagement of stakeholders, the Alliance will provide specific recommendations to strengthen the New Jersey's ability to plan for and respond to a changing climate through state and local public policy. Specific activities include:

  • Identification of statewide climate change adaptation and preparedness policy gaps – In December 2013, the Alliance issued a report: "Resilience: Preparing New Jersey for Climate Change: A Gap Analysis (see: http://njadapt.rutgers.edu/resources/njcaa-reports) which identifies major gaps in public policy in New Jersey documented through an extensive stakeholder process. The report also summarizes the latest climate trends and projections for New Jersey as well as public support for policies to address climate change adaptation. It is intended to inform a forthcoming process to identify specific policies and actions that can be taken in New Jersey to ensure the state is prepared for the challenges of a changing climate. Early in 2014, the Alliance will be engaging stakeholders, practitioners and policy makers to develop a set of recommendations for action to address the policy gaps identified in its December 2013 report. Research, continued assessment of best practices, and workshops with targeted stakeholders, experts and practitioners will lead to policy recommendations on the part of Alliance that are needed to better prepare New Jersey for climate change impacts.
  • Development of background materials to inform New Jersey public policy – Working in partnership with the Rutgers Climate Institute, the Alliance distributes materials related to the state of New Jersey's climate, including climate trends and projections (See http://climatechange.rutgers.edu/resources/state-of-the-climate-new-jersey-2013). In addition, potential impacts and policy considerations for leading sectors in New Jersey are identified in a series of "working briefs (see: http://njadapt.rutgers.edu/climate-impacts-in-new-jersey) that provide background on sectors including agriculture, public health, built infrastructure, natural and water resources.
  • Stakeholder engagement – To inform the identification of policy gaps in New Jersey, the Alliance engaged stakeholders and practitioners throughout New Jersey to identify and better understand needed policies. Listening sessions, surveys, meetings, workshops and interviews were conducted to understand the perspectives of stakeholders and practitioners as to needs for climate preparedness public policy in the following areas: agriculture, public health, emergency management, vulnerable populations, transportation, utilities, water resources and natural resources. Summary reports of these efforts will be issued by the Alliance in early 2014.
  • Policy Research – The Alliance has undertaken research efforts on two key topics affecting all of its targeted sectors: identifying innovative policies to finance climate change preparedness and adaptation and identification of populations that are especially vulnerable to climate change impacts. Both of these research reports will be posted on the Alliance website in early 2014.

► Conduct Outreach and Education
The Alliance conducts outreach and education on climate change impacts and preparedness issues to the general public, decision makers and practitioners. Specific activities include:

  • Website and email notification - As the facilitator of the Alliance, Rutgers University maintains a website for the Alliance which includes general information on climate change impacts as well as news and events about efforts in New Jersey. Additionally, members of the public are welcome to sign up for the Alliance email list to be notified of news and events and when new materials are made available on the website.
  • New Jersey Climate Adaptation Directory – The Alliance maintains an online directory of ongoing climate change preparedness efforts in New Jersey. The directory is intended to serve as a clearinghouse of activities throughout the state at the local, state and regional level in both the public and private sector. Organizations in New Jersey are encouraged to incorporate a summary of their climate change efforts into the directory through an online submission available at http://njadapt.rutgers.edu/resources/climate-adaptation-directory.
  • Conferences and workshops – The Alliance hosts conferences and workshops on pressing climate change topics in New Jersey. For instance, the Alliance has hosted two large statewide conferences over the past three years. The first, Preparing New Jersey for Climate Change, was held on November 29, 2011 and focused on identifying impacts to New Jersey from a changing climate. This proceedings and videos of this conference are at http://njadapt.rutgers.edu/past-conference-materials/preparing-nj-for-climate-change-inaugural-conference-2011. The second, Climate Change Preparedness in New Jersey: Leading Practices and Policy Priorities, was held on May 22, 2013 and focused on practices and policies needed in New Jersey to address climate change impacts as well as best practices from across the country. The conference proceedings and videos are available at http://njadapt.rutgers.edu/past-conference-materials/leading-practices-priorities-2013. Notification about future conferences and workshops can be received by signing up for the Alliance email list.
  • Guides for local practitioners – In partnership with other organizations, the Alliance is producing short guides for local practitioners to address climate change impacts in their particular sector. These guides are designed to serve as a consolidation of best practice thinking within a particular area (e.g. watershed management, land use planning, etc.) so as to assist local practitioners in New Jersey with integrating climate change preparedness into their own activities. This series of guides (See http://njadapt.rutgers.edu/resources/njcaa-practitioner-guides) is ongoing. The Alliance welcomes partnerships with organizations in their development. Additionally, in collaboration with other partners, the Alliance is beginning to develop a more comprehensive guide to local climate change adaptation planning which will be designed to support development of local climate preparedness and adaptation plans, addressing all climate change impacts, at the local level. This guide is expected to be issued in mid-2014.
  • Informational videos – The Alliance is in the process of planning the development of a series of short educational videos that will provide basic background on climate change impacts and adaptation strategies relevant to New Jersey. The videos, which are expected to be issued in mid-2014, will be available via the Alliance's website and will provide readily available information on climate impacts in New Jersey in an engaging format.

► Facilitate Demonstration Projects
The Alliance undertakes pilot and demonstration projects with partner organizations in order to advance understanding of the benefits of climate change preparedness in New Jersey. As an organization that works with partners in many sectors, the Alliance may be engaged in demonstration projects related to a variety of areas including public health, transportation and other infrastructure assessment, natural resource protection, community resilience, etc. Ongoing efforts include:

  • Statewide climate impacts geospatial information platform - The Alliance is undertaking a multi-sector "marquee" demonstration project to begin the development of NJADAPT, a statewide geospatial tool that will relate climate change impacts such as temperature change, changes in precipitation and sea level rise to geographic locations throughout New Jersey for planning and outreach applications. A steering committee has been convened to begin a strategic planning process to identify an effective approach to development of a statewide online geospatial platform that could support integration of climate change science data to support state and local planning and decision-making.
  • Sandy Recovery Support – Partnering with other programs at Rutgers University, the Alliance is providing analytical and geospatial support to grantees of the New Jersey Recovery Fund and other entities as part of its efforts to advance policy solutions and enhancement of local community resilience. As part of this Rutgers effort, the following specific elements are underway:
    • Development of a public platform to support data related to climate impacts, resilience and recovery planning;
    • Identification of areas of coastal flooding vulnerability;
    • Identification of data that supports consideration of ecosystem service impacts as part of recovery planning and decision-making;
    • Geographic identification of vulnerabilities at the local level for specific communities to support local vulnerability assessments for recovery planning and decision-making.
  • Ongoing efforts to develop and apply mapping and geospatial tools to support integration of resiliency into post-Sandy recovery efforts will contribute to design of the NJADAPT platform.

► Provide Support to the Business Community

  • Survey of perceptions and needs – In the first quarter of 2014, the Alliance will partner with several statewide business organizations to survey representatives of the business community about their perceptions of climate change impacts to their sector and operations as well as to better understand the tools, research and analysis that is needed within New Jersey's business community to prepare for and adapt to climate change as it affects their New Jersey operations, supply chain and investments. Outcomes of the surveys will be prepared in a final report and made available on the Alliance website.
  • Business workshop – In partnership with business organizations throughout the state as well as the Rutgers Business School, the Alliance will host a workshop specifically for representatives of the business community in spring 2014. The workshop will be in response to the findings of the Alliance's survey by highlighting best practices and tools that can support efforts within New Jersey's business community to prepare and adapt to a changing climate. More information will be available early in 2014 on the Alliance's website.

For more information about the New Jersey Climate Adaptation Alliance, please contact:

Dr. Marjorie Kaplan
Associate Director
Rutgers Climate Institute 
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Jeanne Herb
Associate Director
Environmental Analysis & Communications
Group; Bloustein School
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