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Sand Dollars: NJ’s Costly Beach Replenishment Cycle Faces Climate-Change Challenge

January 18, 2024 |

Credit: Image by Andrew S. Lewis

Sea level rise, combined with the slight but steady subsidence of the coastal plain upon which southern New Jersey rests, has for years been the climate-change bogeyman most often blamed for the staggeringly fast erasure of equally as staggering amounts of sand from the Atlantic shoreline. While sea level rise does play a role — the Atlantic City tide gauge shows over 18 inches of rise since 1910, a foot of which has occurred since 1950 — more recently, climate change’s impact on localized weather events has been an increasing concern.

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NJ SEED: The Atlantic Ocean has been trying to reclaim the Jersey Shore since the end of the last ice age about 130,000 years ago when the climate was warmer than it is at present. It may be a losing battle, but with tourism in the four shore counties – Monmouth, Ocean, Atlantic & Cape May – generating about $16 billion annually for the state’s economy along with thousands of jobs, it’s battle worth fighting. An informative study by Rutgers, “Sea-level rise in New Jersey fact sheet” can be found at:

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