Evaluating Design Studies

Professor Michel Boufadel’s Center for Natural Resources Development and Protection (NRDP) was recently funded by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to “conduct an economic, ecological, and social capital assessment of design studies for storm surge mitigation.” Michel Boufadel

“In essence, the NJDEP is funding colleges throughout the state to conduct design of structures to mitigate storm surges, and they are asking us to work with these groups so that the designs are optimal from societal and ecological points of view,” he said. “This is a great honor for NRDP Center we are becoming the ‘Steward of the Shorelines,’ a role we have been working toward since I arrived to NJIT.”

Boufadel explained that the effects of climate change manifested in sea level rise, and the increased severity, duration and magnitude of storms will likely continue in the decades ahead, spawning a nationwide call for action to mitigate these impacts that are affecting livelihoods, infrastructure, ecosystems, food production, energy supply, national security, and the cultural heritage of populations and communities. He said that certain coastal communities and ecological systems are particularly vulnerable, but “we now know enough about climate risks to take actions that ensure a safer, more resilient and prosperous future.”

NJDEP is funding universities to put together proposals for technologies to minimize flooding due to storm surge and other flooding events in three areas, Hudson River (Hoboken/Jersey City), Hackensack River (Moonachie/Little Ferry) and Barnegat Bay.  The study plans requested by the state will rely mainly on hydrodynamics and engineering to design flood control structures and systems.  NRDP will conduct economic, ecological, and social assessments of these studies to maximize their benefits and minimize any adverse side effects.  The Center will prepare ecosystem inventories, maximize the use of green infrastructure to mitigate flooding, and guide engineering design principles by adopting a systems approach to minimize risk while also addressing “cumulative” impacts.