NJCCA Workgroups

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)

stock photo for planning

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.

Workgroup Products:

Natural and Working Lands Workgroup

Co-chairs: Russ Furnari (PSEG) and Tom Gilbert (NJ Conservation Foundation)

 image of deciduous forest

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 touches upon agriculture; forests; urban forestry and nature-based infrastructure; and wetlands/blue carbon.

Workgroup products:

Offshore Wind Ecological Monitoring Workgroup

Co-chairs: Tim Dillingham (American Littoral Society) and Anthony MacDonald (Urban Coast Institute, Monmouth University)

photo of offshore wind farm

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.

Workgroup Product:

Public Health Workgroup

Co-chairs: Dr. George DiFerdinando (Local Boards of Health Association) and David Henry (NJ Association of County and City Health Officials)

 Public Health workgroup logo

(Image Source: Balbus et al. 2016)

Description: Active since 2016, the Alliance's Public Health Workgroup has led efforts in New Jersey to document the disproportionate impact that climate change has on the same communities and populations that experience health disparities. During this time the Workgroup developed the Climate and Health Profile Report for New Jersey using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Climate Ready Cities and States guidance as the first step in CDC’s Building Resilience Against Climate Threats or “BRACE” framework. In partnership with the Society for Public Health Education, the Workgroup held a 2019 cross-sector convening of public health, social justice, environmental, health systems, health care, transportation, and other leaders to outline climate change and public health strategies that more systematically connect health equity and climate. Also in 2019, working in consultation with local public health practitioners, the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health and the Health Impact Project, the Workgroup prepared a rapid Health Impact Assessment of New Jersey’s Draft Energy Master Plan. In January 2021, the Workgroup issued an actionable Climate and Health Framework for New Jersey informed by its prior work and an examination of efforts in three leading states intersecting climate change and public health: California, Massachusetts, and Minnesota. In June 2022, the Alliance issued a second white paper, prepared by the Public Health Workgroup, that outlines short term opportunities for action in New Jersey to systematically connect public health improvements to climate change action.

Workgroup Products:

Sustainable Organic Materials Management Workgroup

Chair: Gary Sondermeyer (Bayshore Recycling)

sustainable organic materials management workgroup logo

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.” As a direct follow-up to the Sustainable Organic Material Management Plan,  the New Jersey State Policy Lab  partnered with the Organics Workgroup to conduct a collaborative project that outlines potential public policies for consideration in New Jersey based on experiences in a set of other states and cities in a variety of areas, including opportunities in state and municipal government, the health-care sector, the nonprofit sector, the agriculture sector, the waste management sector, local school systems, and institutions of higher education. This companion study report outlines 13 research initiatives and key findings, along with an additional section on the topic of reimagining prison food systems, a topic that repeatedly emerged during the research process.

Workgroup Products:
Sustainable Organic Material Management Plan
Advancing the New Jersey Sustainable Organic Material Management Plan: Opportunities to Increase Food Security and Reduce New Jersey’s Organic Waste

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