N.J. to receive $5.2M for living shorelines projects, marine debris and microplastics work

New Jersey will receive $5.2 million for living shorelines projects as well as marine debris and microplastics work, which can harm marine life like whales. The New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium in U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr.’s district will receive $284,969 to develop curriculums on marine debris and expand environmental literacy outreach to school districts in underserved communities.

The awards are part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s recently announced $562 million for 149 natural infrastructure projects across 30 states and territories.

Pallone (D-6th Dist.) applauded new awards from President Joe Biden’s administration to make coastal communities and ecosystems more resilient by protecting them from the economic and physical impacts of climate change and marine debris.

Pallone fought to secure the funding for living shoreline projects in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act to protect the Jersey Shore from the impacts of climate change.

The funding is modeled on Pallone’s Living Shorelines Act, which creates federal grant programs to invest in and study living shoreline projects that protect coastal communities and ecosystems from climate change. The new awards are part of the first tranche of funding totaling $1.4 billion that NOAA will distribute over five years to support natural infrastructure projects that build coastal resilience, restore marine habitats and sustainably manage coastal areas through the Climate-Ready Coasts Initiative.

“Today’s announcement is great news for coastal communities in New Jersey and around the country. This funding will improve coastal resiliency and protect communities on the Jersey Shore from the devastating impacts of the climate crisis and pollution,” Pallone said.

As a result of Pallone’s longtime leadership fighting for living shorelines investments, NOAA received $3 billion through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and $2.8 billion through the Inflation Reduction Act to build living shoreline projects and conduct research on best practices in using these projects to protect coastal communities. In November, Pallone and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) urged the Biden administration to quickly implement investments in living shoreline projects from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act.

Living shoreline infrastructure projects use natural materials and systems, including dunes, wetlands and oyster reefs to support the natural flood resilience of healthy shoreline ecosystems. Natural infrastructure is cost-effective and adaptable to changing environmental conditions. It also enhances ecosystem functions which can improve water quality and wildlife habitat protection. Certain types of living shorelines can support carbon mitigation.