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Protecting Coastal Resources Takes Priority

WEINER LAWInsightsLand Use & Zoning DefenseProtecting Coastal Resources Takes Priority

Land Use & Zoning Defense Tuesday, March 10, 2020

As we head towards the warm weather, many New Jersey residents begin thinking about the shore. New Jersey’s coastal resources are some of its most valuable assets, and the state is doing everything possible to manage those resources well.

The Office of Policy Implementation in the State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection oversees land use to regulate activities that may “exacerbate flooding and… impact the health and quality of our streams, estuaries, coastal waters, wetlands, wildlife habitat and drinking water.”

While regulations on activity may not always be popular, the OPI stresses the need for guiding principles that promote sustainability of wetlands and reduce flooding hazards. The OPI operates mainly in four areas:

  • Educating the public about the rules of land use
  • Developing guidelines for “permitting activities in three major land use areas – the coastal area, freshwater wetlands and flood hazard areas”
  • Overseeing financial contributions and land donations that satisfy requirements for mitigation
  • Coordinating all the agencies who contribute to land use management

The Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean includes New York, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia as well as New Jersey and works for “tailoring investments and regulatory attention toward conservation and restoration of those wetlands that can provide climate risk reduction…and climate resilience.” The aim of MARCO is to develop a framework for a defined program to protect the wetlands.

The framework, MARCO leaders suggest, stands on established policies, visual communication to aid public awareness and priority management of resources. Clear goals and communication of those goals will go a long way in maintaining the health and sustainability of coastal regions.