NJ Climate Change Alliance Workgroups
In addition to Alliance-wide initiatives, the New Jersey Climate Change Alliance hosts a set of topic-specific workgroups. Each workgroup is chaired or co-chaired by Alliance participants and may include Alliance participants as well as subject matter experts that are not participants in the Alliance. Establishment of new workgroups and completion of workgroups are authorized by the Alliance Steering Committee as is public release of workgroup products. An Alliance participant may suggest establishment of a new workgroup to the Steering Committee at any time. Current Alliance workgroups are described below.
Long-term Statewide Planning for Climate Change Workgroup
Co-chairs: Rob Freudenberg (Regional Plan Association) and Deborah Lawlor (Colliers Engineering & Design)
Description: This workgroup is exploring how multi-sectoral state planning efforts, policies and investments in New Jersey can most adequately address long-term climate adaptation and support adaptation efforts in local communities. The group has been evaluating indicators and metrics to help measure the success of a state climate resilience plan. It is also examining long-term funding for climate adaptation that aligns with a cohesive statewide vision for adaptation as well as models for how a cohesive statewide vision for adaptation can be consistently linked to policies, incentives, standards and guidance at the local levels.
Natural and Working Lands Workgroup
Co-chairs: Russ Furnari (PSEG) and Tom Gilbert (NJ Conservation Foundation)
Description: The focus of this Workgroup is to identify opportunities for the Alliance to advance natural and working lands strategies that can contribute to climate mitigation in New Jersey. As a secondary focus, this group is exploring what additional role the Alliance can play in the area of climate resiliency. This Workgroup has almost 40 members and is currently dividing into subgroups related to agriculture; forests; urban forestry and nature-based infrastructure; and wetlands/blue carbon.
Offshore Wind Ecological Monitoring Workgroup
Co-chairs: Tim Dillingham (American Littoral Society) and Anthony MacDonald (Urban Coast Institute, Monmouth University)
Description: The Offshore Wind Ecological Monitoring Workgroup met its short term goal to conduct and publish an analysis of ecological, monitoring and mitigation at offshore wind energy installations in 4 Northeastern states and 3 leading European wind energy producers (UK, Germany, Denmark). The purpose of the analysis is to help inform New Jersey coastal resource managers, scientists and stakeholders about practices for ecological monitoring and mitigation of offshore wind energy systems. This project was also informed by interviews with stakeholders with expertise in offshore wind energy. The analysis was guided by a working group as well as a technical review group.
Public Health Workgroup
Co-chairs: Dr. George DiFerdinando (Local Boards of Health Association) and David Henry (NJ Association of County and City Health Officials)
Description: The Public Health Workgroup has been active since 2016. During this time, the Workgroup developed a Climate and Health Profile Report for NJ using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Climate Ready City and States guidance as the first step in CDC’s Building Resilience Against Climate Threats or “BRACE” framework. The Workgroup took a deeper dive into climate and health equity in a 2019 workshop co-hosted by the Society for Public Health Education which brought together NJ leaders in public health, healthy systems, social and Environmental Justice, transportation, and environmental protection. This workshop pointed to three elements to inform implementation of the framework: Make equity a priority and address root causes, engage communities, and advance integrated solutions. Working in consultation with local public health practitioners, the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Health Impact Project, the Workgroup prepared a rapid Health Impact Assessment on New Jersey’s Draft Energy Master Plan. The Workgroup recently examined ongoing efforts in three leading states intersecting climate change and public health: California, Massachusetts, and Minnesota. Currently, the Workgroup is developing a set of priorities for its focus to advance health and climate change strategies in New Jersey.
Sustainable Organic Materials Management Workgroup
Chair: Gary Sondermeyer (Bayshore Recycling)
Description: This Workgroup conducted a holistic review of current organic material management practices focusing on food waste reduction and donation; food waste management in schools; community scale composting; large-scale organics recycling infrastructure; and sustainable animal manure management. This review included an extensive stakeholder process with over 80 subject matter experts from a wide array of public and private sector organizations, including State, county and local government officials, academics, business and industry leaders, statewide associations, non-profit associations and consultants. This effort led to the development of a sustainable organics material management plan for the State of New Jersey by the NJCCA Organics Materials Management Workgroup. The plan includes 17 core “opportunities for action.” The workgroup is continuing its work to follow-up on the opportunities for action, including conducting research to address knowledge gaps, learning from experiences of leading jurisdictions outside of New Jersey, and conducting outreach and education throughout the state, including leading decision makers at various levels of government.
Sustainable Organic Material Management Plan