Seeing is Believing in New Jersey

Nov 28, 2023

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Island Beach State Park: Fisherman’s Walkway photo station on September 21, 2023, after a flood tide on September 24, 2023, and November 16, 2023.

New Jersey residents can now get a firsthand look at climate change impacts at one of five learning stations in State Parks, thanks to the Jacques Cousteau Reserve, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), and partners. Sea-levels in New Jersey are likely to rise 2.1 feet by 2050; these stations are helping people see and document how rising seas are changing the places they know and love.

“It is often said that seeing is believing,” said New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette. “It is our hope these learning stations will provide park visitors a window into the realities of climate change and motivate them to learn more about the steps they can take in their personal lives to prepare for, and help mitigate, its effects.”

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner LaTourette at Cheesequake State Park.

In response to community need, the Jacques Cousteau Reserve had begun to explore placing interpretive signage in public access areas to capture coastal change. In partnership with NJDEP, they transformed this local need into a collaborative statewide initiative. The interactive climate change learning stations feature a community science tool, MyCoast: New Jersey, previously launched by NJDEP and the Reserve in 2021 to document coastal flooding. 

“MyCoast is becoming a one stop shop for community resilience in New Jersey,” says Amanda Archer, coastal training program coordinator at the Reserve. “It’s a valuable resource management tool for the community to document coastal changes they may, or may not be seeing every day. By incorporating fixed photo station reports, we can better understand the climate impacts our dynamic shorelines are facing and help communities’ adapt life on the coast accordingly.”

Each learning station provides visitors with an overview of how climate change is reshaping the state’s shorelines and what makes New Jersey coasts more resilient. Sand dunes and salt marshes—natural defenders against coastal erosion— are highlighted at each station. Park visitors are encouraged to snap a photo of the shoreline using the phone holder and upload it to MyCoast. MyCoast fetches background data on weather and tide levels to add scientific context to the submitted photo. A timelapse video on the website displays visitor’s photos to chronicle climate change impacts over time.

Climate Change Learning Station on the Crabbing Bridge at Cheesequake State Park.

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ReservesJacques Cousteau, New JerseySeeing is Believing in New Jersey