The New Jersey Flood Institute (NJFI) aims to help communities, businesses and governments become more resilient. The institute does this by educating citizens and researching solutions that will enable communities in Atlantic County to mitigate the risks associated with flooding and extreme weather. Through education, outreach, assessment, research and our partnership with the New Jersey Coastal Coalition, the NJFI is a resource for communities adapting to changing ecological conditions.
While the Institute is centered in Atlantic County New Jersey, it focuses on Atlantic City, using the city as an incubator to develop solutions that can be exported to other locales or upscaled to regional initiatives. Atlantic City is the perfect setting for the Institute. It is the economic engine of southern New Jersey and because it is the largest urban center in the region, encounters resiliency challenges that compare to other coastal urban centers — both in New Jersey and nationally.
Currently, the NJFI — in cooperation with the US Army Corps of Engineering, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the New Jersey DEP — is developing tools for community resilience that will reduce flooding risk for NJ taxpayers and in the process, establish the NJFI as a national leader. At present, the Institute is developing the following tools:
Education & Outreach
The NJFI staff has over 20 years of experience in delivering Environmental Education programming. Currently, the NJFI is developing:
Language appropiate materials concerning coastal flooding evacuation for all of the language groups represented in Atlantic County.
Video community outreach efforts through “Tidal Flooding Talk” — a internet-based show on flood awareness.
A Resiliency Podcast featuring information and interviews on Atlantic County’s resiliency issues.
Web-based education tools.
Maps delineating daily flooding risks for Atlantic City neighborhoods.
In 2021 the NJFI:
Developing a flood hazard assessment tool to help communities assess their vulnerabilities to flooding.
Exploring options for increasing “points” available to communities through FEMA’s Community Rating System (CRS) — See below.
Conducting an audit of Atlantic City’s CRS program.
The NJFI’s parent institution, the New Jersey Coastal Coalition (NJCC), has developed collaborative relationships with the most important federal agencies addressing resiliency —FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers.
This collaboration led to the NJCC establishing a Multi Jurisdictional Program for Public Information (MJPPI) that promotes best practices in flood and disaster-related preparedness. Developing and promoting best practices that impact FEMA’s Community Rating System (CRS) program for flood insurance, helps to reduce the flood insurance premiums for property owners in participating communities.
Communities participating in the CRS system accumulate points through activities that promote flood preparedness and reduce risk. More points translate into a better rating. A better rating translates into a lower flood insurance premium.
This is a real saving that officials can deliver to homeowners by becoming proactive on flood preparedness.
For more information on FEMA’s Community Rating System visit:
In collaboration with these agencies and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the NJCC has been at he forefront of developing a tools that will help communities with an assessment of their vulnerabilities to flooding and suggest avenues for addressing flooding issues.
The most groundbreaking of these is the a web based predictive flooding program — the NJCC App — developed (in collaboration with FEMA) and a camera flooding program — tools that deliver quality “real time” flooding data to Atlantic County communities.
The Institute is building upon this foundation to expand our community resilience toolkit.
Currently the NJFI is :
> Piloting a camera flooding program that will provide a real-time, 24/7/365 picture of flooding in at least one (1) Atlantic City location.
> Refining the NJCC App to increase its visibility, ease of use and adoption by residents in Atlantic County and the resiliency community.
In the short run, our work will help to educate residents by providing these flood prone communities with the information they need to respond to what has become a dynamic flooding situation.
In the long run, the data gathered will help to further our understanding of localized flood risk and develop mitigation solutions to address these local flooding risks — in Atlantic County and throughout New Jersey.
Custom Mobile Application
A custom mobile application is making coastal New Jersey communities more resilient in the face of severe weather events and flooding caused by climate change.
In a project supported by FEMA grants, Weston Solutions, Inc. of West Chester, Pennsylvania was recognized for developing the emergency mobile app for the New Jersey Coastal Coalition, Inc., a non-profit organization with over 30 New Jersey member communities.
This tool will enable the targeted distribution of real-time information and sophisticated map-based insights.
It will also feature a text message or email alert to registered users, live precipitation radar maps from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, current maps of local frequently flooded areas, safe places to park vehicles, and live evacuation route maps.
Nuisance flooding occurs in many communities weekly, which creates dangerous road conditions. In addition to these protections, the power of data further empowers these communities to partner in their resiliency.
Each record of flooding is archived and accessible by FEMA to focus any needed response actions during a major storm.
Archived flooding occurrences can be used to justify grant requests for FEMA to construct solutions to prevent future flooding. By the end of 2022, the app will be used by more than 10 communities along the New Jersey coast.
See all the CCBJ Business Achievement Award for this project here: