New report seeks to address needs of populations vulnerable to changing coastal climate conditions

June 15, 2020

Everyone in the United States is affected by climate change. Some communities and populations, however, are more vulnerable to changing climate conditions. These populations of concern include those that are low-income, communities of color, immigrant populations, people with limited English proficiency, Indigenous people, older and younger adults, and people with disabilities and compromised health and mental health conditions.

A new report, “A Seat at the Table: Integrating the Needs and Challenges of Underrepresented and Socially Vulnerable Populations into Coastal Hazards Planning in New Jersey,” conducted by Jeanne Herb, Executive Director, Environmental Analysis & Communications Group at the Bloustein School and Lisa Auermuller, Assistant Manager, Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve, New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, sought to develop decision-support tools, resilience planning guidance, and training and policy options to advance efforts to address the needs of socially vulnerable populations as part of coastal climate resilience planning.

On Monday, June 22 at 12:00 pm the Rutgers Climate Institute will host a virtual Summer Climate Academy, “Engaging Vulnerable Populations in Resilience Planning” highlighting some of the outcomes of the report. Participation in the webinar is free but registration is required

A specific objective of the project was to increase the availability of data to enhance practitioners’ ability to identify socially vulnerable populations as part of resilience planning. The authors developed a searchable database of organizations to make it easier to find organizations that might serve, represent, and support socially vulnerable populations in their vicinity. They also identified and developed additional datasets regarding socially vulnerable populations through the Rutgers University-hosted web-based data visualization and mapping tool, NJFloodmapper in order to complement existing access of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Social Vulnerability Index (SVI).

The research and report were made possible with financial assistance from the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended, as administered by the Office of Coastal Management, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Program through the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Coastal Management Program, Bureau of Climate Resilience Planning.

Click here to download a full copy of the report (PDF).

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