State of the Beach/State Reports/NJ/Beach Description
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New Jersey's coastline is a rich and diverse combination of natural resources and economic engines that improve the quality of life and enrich the economy. Businesses, tourists, and residents are drawn to New Jersey's coast for its many economic and recreational opportunities. Coastal industries contribute enormously to New Jersey's economy. Coastal land provides crucial habitat for a wealth of wildlife, including migrating birds, commercially valuable fish and shellfish, and sporting and recreational species.
- Fact 1: Miles of Coast: 1,792
- Fact 2: 127 miles of open ocean coastline
- Fact 3: Coastal Population (2000): 7,575,546
- Fact 4: 70% of the state's population lives within coastal counties
Contact Info for the Lead Coastal Zone Management Agency
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
Coastal Management Program
Martin Rosen, Manager
H. David Dumont
Wes Bickford - NOAA CSC Fellow
401-07D P.O. Box 420
401 East State Street
Trenton, NJ 08625-0420
Phone: (609) 984-0058 or (609) 633-2201
Coastal Zone Management Program
NOAA’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (OCRM) approved the New Jersey Coastal Management Program (NJCMP) in two phases, the first coastal area in 1978 and the second (incorporating the entire shoreline) in 1980. The lead coastal agency is the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), where the NJCMP is comprised of a network of offices that serve distinct functions within the approved program. A primary mission of the NJCMP is ensuring that coastal resources and ecosystems are conserved as a vital aspect of local, state and federal efforts to enhance sustainable coastal communities.
The coastal area includes coastal waters to the limit of tidal influence including: the Atlantic Ocean (to the limit of the State's seaward jurisdiction); Upper New York Bay, Newark Bay, Raritan Bay and the Arthur Kill; the Hudson, Raritan, Passaic, and Hackensack Rivers, and the tidal portions of the tributaries to these bays and rivers. The coastal boundary encompasses the area described in the Coastal Area Facility Review Act (CAFRA area) and the Hackensack Meadowlands District. The Delaware River and Bay and other tidal streams of the Coastal Plain are also in the coastal area, as is a narrow band of adjacent uplands in the Waterfront Development area beyond the CAFRA area. The State's diverse coastal zone includes portions of eight counties and 126 municipalities.
The NJCMP is based primarily on four laws and their implementing regulations: The Coastal Area Facility Review Act; The Wetlands Act of 1970; The Waterfront Development Law; and The Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act. These four laws regulate the area between the upland boundary of the coastal zone and the three nautical mile limit of the U.S. Territorial Sea and the interstate boundaries with New York, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. The Hackensack Meadowlands Development and Reclamation Act, implemented by the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission, applies to the Hackensack Meadowlands District. These coastal policies and procedures are administered through the New Jersey Coastal Zone Management Rules, which are broken down by location, use, and resource.
The central component of the NJCMP is the Coastal Management Office (CMO), which is part of the Commissioner's Office of Policy, Planning and Science. The Coastal Management Office (CMO) administers the planning and enhancement aspects of New Jersey's federally approved Coastal Management Program. CMO staff develop and implement long range planning projects involving coastal resource issues, and coordinate their efforts with complementary programs having similar interests and initiatives in the coastal area. The CMO also administers Coastal Zone Management Grants and prepares grant performance reports. Other DEP offices that share NJCMP responsibility include:
- The Division of Land Use Regulation, which reviews coastal permit applications submitted to the Department under CAFRA, the Waterfront Development Law, the Wetlands Act of 1970, and the Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act;
- The Bureau of Tidelands Management, which is part of the Division of Land Use Regulation, serves as staff to the Tidelands Resource Council.
- Coastal and Land Use Compliance and Enforcement, which investigates possible coastal and freshwater wetland violations and seeks remedies for violations;
- Brownfields Reuse and Dredging and Sediment Technology, which reviews coastal permit applications for dredging and ports;
- The Engineering and Construction Program, which manages coastal area dredging and shore protection projects, and provides aids to navigation;
- The Green Acres Program, which focuses on land acquisition and linking existing protected areas to create open space corridors; and
- The New Jersey Meadowlands Commission, which serves as trustee of the natural resources of the Meadowlands District and to foster a sustainable regional economy.
Federal and State consistency are conducted through the permitting process by the Division of Land Use Regulation. The one exception in the coastal area is the Hackensack Meadowlands District which is managed by a State-level regional agency known as the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission. State coastal management actions within the District are governed by the District Master Plan and zoning rules, which are considered a separate component of the NJCMP, as well as the Coastal Zone Management rules.
NOAA's latest evaluation of New Jersey's Coastal Management Program can be found here.
- Bernd-Cohen, T. and M. Gordon. "State Coastal Program Effectiveness in Protecting Natural Beaches, Dunes, Bluffs, and Rock Shores." Coastal Management 27:187-217, 1999.
- Bernd-Cohen, T. and M. Gordon. "State Coastal Program Effectiveness in Protecting Natural Beaches, Dunes, Bluffs, and Rock Shores." Coastal Management 27:187-217. 1999.
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