Assessing Exposure of Water-Dependent Uses to Coastal Flood Hazards

News | Raritan River Initiatives | Resilience | Water Quality

Mapping Flood Exposure of Tourism Establishments and Employment along the Raritan Bay

Water-dependent uses along the New Jersey coast rely on access to the water that increasingly threatens to damage their facilities and support infrastructure in the surrounding community. Mal-adaptive planning strategies to enhance resilience could fail to recognize the interrelated systems of benefits and risks that face water-dependent uses, including the spatial constraints that limit the application of popular climate adaptation strategies. Rutgers Raritan River Consortium (R3C) mini-grant funds allowed Matt Campo, a senior research analyst in the Environmental Analysis and Communications Group at the Edward J. Bloustein School for Planning and Public Policy, to create geospatial data sets to assess the exposure of water-dependent uses along the Raritan Bay to future flood events caused by changes in sea-level and coastal storms.

Expanding on tools and techniques developed in partnership with NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management, New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium, FEMA, and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Matt created data sets that researchers and practitioners can use to identify sector-specific facility exposures for different types of flood events along the Raritan Bay. Using ESRI’s ArcGIS mapping platforms and other statistical analysis tools, Matt was able to extend NOAA’s Ocean Economy mapping and analysis methodologies to down-scale data to zip-codes and specific point features allowing for more detailed flood exposure analysis.

The data sets and methodologies have helped inform resilience efforts throughout coastal New Jersey, and led to enhancements of a resilience planning guide for communities with vulnerable water-dependent uses. Matt’s analysis and tools have been featured by the NOAA Economics: National Ocean Watch team, and will serve to inform a professional training for planners and economic development officials on climate resilience for water-dependent uses on May 29, 2019 at Rutgers University.

For more information, contact Matt Campo at

Matt Campo presented a summary of the research at the November 8, 2018 Rutgers Raritan River Consortium breakfast meeting.  View the presentation here.

Maps provided by Matt Campo.  Click here to view a large version of map.