Henk Ovink Has Nothing on Marit Noest

Readers of these pages will recognize the Netherland’s Henk Ovink. He is the Dutchman who came to the US after Sandy to share his country’s expertise in resilient designs for living with and staying safe from flooding.

He was also profiled in the NY Times Magazine around the time of the Rebuild by Design Competition that he led.

But a Dutch graduate student in landscape architecture may be giving him a run for his money. Marit Noest came to NJ two years after Sandy and after completely un-learning the Dutch way of doing things, she successfully wrapped her head around the American approach to the situation. She made a film called At the Edge for her graduate thesis which incorporates people’s attitudes towards rebuilding and using and enjoying the shore. She also made a terrific design for a stronger Asbury Park beachfront that lets people enjoy what the shore has to offer while making it much more resilient.

Trailer of the film here.  And a presentation of Marit’s thesis plus the film here

We encourage you to fully explore everything about the project here. https://creatingattheedge.wordpress.com/

achtergrond sleeve dvd doos

Nature-Based Resiliency via Oysters

Staten Island Using Oyster Reefs to Protect From Storms

One of the winners of the Rebuild-by-Design competition is a plan to protect the South Shore of Staten Island with reefs of oysters. Full story, map and diagram here.

Oysters used to be abundant in NY and NJ waters and the oyster industry literally built many of the cities in the region. Oysters provide an additional benefit of filtering the water they live in, thereby cleaning it. Unfortunately, pollution and runoff exceeded the oysters’ ability to clean the water in which they lived, and oysters and their reefs died off.

Coastal Relocation Part 5

The Subtitle on this one is – How an historic Nor’easter, and Act of Congress, and then eleven more years of political battle turned back development from one of the largest barrier islands on the East Coast.

Assateague Island, which stretches from Maryland all the way into Virginia celebrates its 50th year as a National Seashore this year. If you know this area, you know what a gem this is and here is an excellent historical account of how it came to be in this Maryland Coast Dispatch article. It is long but I urge you to read it.

The short version is that development was planned for the island, land was purchased, surveyed, subdivided, roads were paved, thousands of lots were bought, some were developed. Sound familiar?  The State of Maryland was interested in establishing a State Park on the Maryland side and that finally happened in a sweetheart deal with a developer. The developer “donated” 540 acres for the park in exchange for the State building a bridge so people could get to his developments. Then the 1962 Ash Wednesday Storm hit.  Ponies on AssateagueThe development was more or less obliterated. Previously attempted efforts to establish a National Park / National Seashore were renewed and in 1965 that finally happened. But the legislation establishing the National Seashore did not completely halt all commercial and residential development, so once again developers pushed forward.

A visionary citizen named Judy Johnson created the Committee to Preserve Assateague and a member of Congress advised her that the only way to keep development off the island was to change the enabling legislation that established the National Seashore. Eleven years later, she was finally successful and we all have her to thank.


Coastal Relocation Part 2 – Long Point Floaters

Everyone thinks the Pilgrims landed at what is now Plymouth, MA. But the truth is the Mayflower found Provincetown, MA first and stayed five weeks before sailing over to the famous rock. Nonetheless, a community was eventually formed in and around Provincetown (hey the cod-fishing was good!) and by the mid nineteenth century homes spread out as far as Long Point, the arcing sandbar that curls back in on itself at the very tip of Cape Cod. But by then they noticed that this sand bar was not the most stable place for things like houses.

180px-Ptown_Floater_Plaque Thirty houses in Provincetown today bear this symbol and they are known as the Long Point Floaters. They were floated across the harbor from Long Point to P-town in the 1850’s and 1860’s. Perhaps these wise people saw their fate and decided to move off the sand bar and onto the relative safety of the main town (slightly higher elevation on a bigger sandbar.)  Whatever the reason, they relocated and passed their homes down and their history with them. Nice ending,


Two Years Later – One Buyout Story

On this second anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, we want to focus on a few stories where people were followed from their situations after the storm until now. This one relates to a buyout on Staten Island. That is one less property we have to worry about, one less homeowner who will need relief in the future. From Jim O’Grady on NPR http://www.npr.org/2014/10/29/359873662/after-the-waves-staten-island-homeowner-takes-sandy-buyout

We like this one for the follow-up, and that it highlights a buyout program that is working.

Climate Impacts in NJ, Local Expert Reports

The Rutgers Climate Institute has done great things to help us Re-Think the Coast.  Most recently their “working briefs” as the NJ Climate Adaptation Alliance on climate impacts in NJ found here. The reports are available for download at that site, most are not too long, and they are full of good advice for the NJ Coast. Their working brief on Coastal Communities includes information on what other East Coast States are doing to deal with climate change and sea level rise.

There is much more on their website here http://climatechange.rutgers.edu/

Futurecoast – The Future That We Imagine

Futurecoast is getting people to think about climate change by playing a game instead of reading the news or scientific reports.  Participants record voice-mail messages from a future that they imagine.  The “game” is that those messages are transported back in time on a disk and people hunt for those disks in the real world to hear these messages from the future.  More in Scientific American by Julia Pyper.

Listen to some of the messages on http://futurecoast.org/ or on WNYC.org