By Neha Vachhani
It’s been a year since the most catastrophic natural disaster hit New Jersey, destroying homes, taking lives and dismantling the Jersey shore we all know and love. Although there is still a long way to go, there has been immense progress in restoring the shore. New Jersey residents banned together to help bring life back to the beaches, determined to show the world that we are stronger than the storm.
Although homes are being rebuilt and the beaches are being restored, there are still issues concerning the ocean at hand. Due to climate change, sea levels are rising and causing floods and possibly worse storms in the future. Those affected in Delaware and New York have factored in a rise of sea level and are rebuilding accordingly, while Chris Christie only ordered an allotment of 1-foot margin of safety. To spend such a substantial amount of time and money on rebuilding the shore to only have it last a couple of decades is counterintuitive. New Jersey is at a greater risk of flooding because of the retreat of glaciers from Canada since the last Ice Age. It is predicted that over the next 30 years, sea levels will rise approximately two feet. This may not seem like a substantial amount, but once another bad storm hits, it will be detrimental to the environment and the community.
Many towns have opted to elevate the rebuilding an extra two or three feet, which doesn’t cost that much more but will keep the shore safe for a longer period of time. In addition to implementing higher elevation, dunes and seawalls are needed to safeguard some areas. Christie prefers to rebuild everything as it was with little to no modifications. The beaches and boardwalks were not stronger than the storm, as Sandy proved when it destroyed the shore. It is up to the locals to advocate for more protection and keep the Jersey shores safe.