US Army Corps of Engineers
Philadelphia District & Marine Design Center Website

New Jersey Back Bays Coastal Storm Risk Management Study

Historic storms, including Hurricane Sandy, have severely impacted the back bay communities of coastal New Jersey. The New Jersey Back Bay Study developed out of the larger North Atlantic Coast Comprehensive Study which identified nine high-risk areas on the Atlantic Coast for further in-depth analysis. The study area is located behind the New Jersey barrier islands of Monmouth, Ocean, Burlington, Atlantic and Cape May Counties and includes the set of interconnected water bodies and coastal lakes that are separated from the Atlantic Ocean. The purpose of the study is to investigate Coastal Storm Risk Management strategies and solutions to reduce damages from coastal flooding affecting population, critical infrastructure, critical facilities, property, and ecosystems. The Study will consider the full array of structural, non-structural, and natural and nature-based measures. Examples are highlighted in the below chart. 

The study will consider past, current, and future coastal storm risk management and resilience planning initiatives and projects underway by the USACE and other Federal, State, and local agencies. Three overarching efforts will be performed:

  • Assess the study area’s problems, opportunities and future without project conditions;
  • Assess the feasibility of implementing system-wide coastal storm risk management solutions such as policy/programmatic strategies, storm surge barriers at selected inlet entrances, or tidal gates at selected lagoon entrances;
  • Assess the feasibility of implementing site-specific perimeter solutions such as a combination of structural, non-structural, and natural and nature-based features;
  • Assess the impacts of back bay strategies and solutions on the Atlantic Coast Coastal Storm Risk Management Program towards developing recommendations within a systems context given likely future scenarios.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection released an Interim Report that presents a focused array of alternative plans that manage risk and reduce damages from coastal storms. The report also outlines the engineering, economic, social, and environmental analyses that have been conducted to date. 

In the fall of 2019, the New Jersey Back Bays study was put on hold due to lack of federal funding. In the spring of 2021, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers resumed study activities. A draft report that outlines a tentatively selected plan will be released in the summer of 2021. The draft report will be open for public and agency comments. In addition, public meetings (likely virtual webinars) will be scheduled to share information about the report and solicit feedback. The tentatively selected plan will include a combination of measures – storm surge barriers, floodwalls, elevations, natural and nature-based features, and other features. Essentially, the plan maximizes benefits relative to the costs of implementation.

Coastal Storm Risk Management Measures Under Consideration

Public Meeting in Toms River, NJ on Sept 13, 2018

Public Meeting in Ventnor City, NJ on Sept. 12, 2018

Submit Comments

Comments are accepted on an ongoing basis throughout the study process. Comments may be submitted via email or in writing:

By email:

In writing:

USACE Philadelphia District
Planning Division
100 Penn Square E.
Philadelphia, PA 19107