News & Announcements Blog

This blog is about NJAFM News and Announcements. Posts can only be made by NJAFM Administrators, however comments to the posts can be made by all registered members. If you have an announcement that you would like posted to this blog, send the request to This blog is viewable by the public.

  • Thursday, December 03, 2015 10:55 AM | Greg Westfall (Administrator)

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) invites you to attend a webinar on the status of the ongoing Flood Insurance Study (FIS) and Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) updates for your community. 

     Following FEMA’s release of preliminary FIRMs for New Jersey’s coastal communities, local officials and residents reviewed the maps and submitted appeals and comments.  FEMA staff have reviewed these stakeholder concerns and provided proposed resolutions to nearly all appellants.  FEMA will incorporate data gained from the appeals and comments into the flood hazard information for New Jersey’s coastal communities where appropriate. 

     To keep New Jersey communities apprised of the status of their FIRM and FIS report, FEMA Region II will host a series of webinars for the affected communities in coastal New Jersey counties  The agenda for these meetings include:

     ·  a status update on appeals and comments submitted from local officials and property owners;

    ·  information regarding a technical appeal submitted by New York City (NYC) and potential impacts on the FIRMs and FIS reports for New Jersey coastal communities; and

    ·  next steps in the map update process.

     I strongly encourage you to attend the webinar for your county to learn about the status of the current FIS and FIRM.  I have attached a schedule of the upcoming webinars for your reference.  A link to each county’s webinar is included in the attachment On the date and time specified for your county, please click the link to attend the webinar.  If you cannot attend the webinar for your county, please feel free to attend a webinar for another county.  It is important to note that if the NYC appeal resolution results in the need for further revisions of coastal New Jersey FIRMs, no additional actions will be required by affected communities.  

    FEMA Region II appreciates the continued support of New Jersey’s coastal communities in our shared mission of ensuring the most precise flood hazard information is available to residents and business owners so they can better understand their risk and learn about things they can do to reduce that risk.  If you need additional information regarding New Jersey’s preliminary FIRMs or the NYC appeal, please contact, J. Andrew Martin, CFM at 212-680-8690 or 202-716-2721.

    FEMA Region II NY-NJ FIS Webinar Schedule.pdf

  • Saturday, November 14, 2015 6:31 PM | Greg Westfall (Administrator)
              Introducing Green Infrastructure                  
    for Coastal Resiliency

     JC NERR logo 


    Introducing Green Infrastructure for Coastal Resilience



    Tuesday November 17, 2015 from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM EST

    Add to Calendar




    Jacques Cousteau Reserve

    130 Great Bay Blvd
    Tuckerton, NJ 08087

    Driving Directions

    We would love to invite you to our "Green Infrastructure for Resilience" 1-day workshop.

    Session Objectives:

    • Participants recognize green infrastructure terms and concepts
    • Participants understand the ecological, economic, and societal benefits of green infrastructure
    • Participants understand the wide variety of contexts and scales of approaches referred to as "green infrastructure" today
    • Participants identify new or existing planning processes suitable for integrating green infrastructure concepts and techniques
    • Participants identify local green infrastructure activities and experts with additional information and resources

    Click on the link below to register or RSVP.

    Get more information

    Register Now!

    I can't make it

    Thank you for your attention and response, and I look forward to seeing you at the workshop.




    Lisa Auermuller

    Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve

    609-812-0649 x204

  • Saturday, November 14, 2015 3:21 PM | Greg Westfall (Administrator)

    The 2015 NJAFM Year in Review Report is here.  

  • Friday, November 06, 2015 5:56 PM | Greg Westfall (Administrator)
    New Jersey Urban Water Conference

    Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015
    8:00am to 12:30pm New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark NJ

    The New Jersey Urban Water Conference is a half-day event that will bring together state and local decision-makers, practitioners and stakeholders to build awareness of the importance of modern drinking water, stormwater and wastewater infrastructure as key to New Jersey’s prosperity.

    The conference will:
    • Build awareness of the importance of modern drinking water, stormwater and wastewater infrastructure as key to New Jersey’s prosperity
    • Educate on best practices and innovative solutions
    • Celebrate Jersey Water Works, its members and accomplishments
    • For further information go to:


  • Monday, November 02, 2015 1:25 PM | Greg Westfall (Administrator)

    Free Registration!


    In cooperation with the American Planning Association (APA), the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) presents the third Planning Information Exchange (PIE) webinar. PIE is a free eight-part quarterly webinar series focusing on tools, best practices, and strategies on the role of hazard mitigation planning and its connections with recovery planning and preparedness.





    Tim Trautman, P.E., CFM

    Mitigation Program Manager

    Charlotte-Mecklenburg Cnty., NC

    Tareq Wafaie, AICP


    Clarion Associates


    The fourth part in the series involves discussions with the Engineering & Mitigation Program Manager for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services (CMSWS) in Charlotte, NC, Tim Trautman, and a planner with Clarion Associates' in Denver, CO, Tareq Wafaie. Tim is actively involved nationally on policy issues with the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) and is currently responsible for protecting life and property from flooding and restoring natural and beneficial floodplain functions. Tareq works primarily on land use and development codes, natural hazard mitigation, urban renewal, and comprehensive planning. In addition to his work in the private sector, he has experience working in state and local government. Jim Schwab, Manager of the APA Hazards Planning Center, will moderate as the two professionals discuss how their communities translated mitigation goals into achievements in two very different environments, Colorado and North Carolina. Learn what makes for successful implementation of mitigation goals for flood, wildfire, and other major hazards.



    1 CM and 1 CEC credit is available for AICPs & CFMs who participate in the entire webinar. 


    To register for this webinar go to:  

    When directed to the landing page, please click on the register button under the titled section 'Upcoming Webinars'. You will then be taken to the registration page. Please fill in the required information and click the submit button.  

    PIE Webinars Hosted by: 


  • Thursday, October 29, 2015 7:13 PM | Greg Westfall (Administrator)

    The 37th Annual New Jersey Society of Professional Land Surveyors Conference and Exhibition will take place at Bally's Park Place Hotel, Atlantic City, New Jersey on February 3-5, 2016.  Featured will be three full days of classes where you can earn up to 24 hours of continuing education credit. 

    For further information on the Conference and Exhibition go to:

  • Thursday, October 29, 2015 7:05 PM | Greg Westfall (Administrator)

    Morris County's Flood Mitigation Program & Blue Acres


    Tuesday, November 10, 2015    8-9:30AM 

    GSWA Headquarters, 568 Tempe Wick Road, Morristown



    Are the citizens in your town concerned with flooding?

    Please join us and GSWA members for a special breakfast briefing program on Morris County's Flood Mitigation Program and Blue acres.



    Created in 2012, the Morris County Flood Mitigation Program has worked directly with 9 municipalities, closing on 55 projects, with 36 projects in progress. The program goal is to create open space and lower municipal costs by moving people out of harms way.

    Our speaker will be Jennifer McCulloch, the founding Program Coordinator of Morris County's Flood Mitigation Program. A Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM), she has worked in land preservation for 13 years, focusing on the acquisition of open space, farmland, and now flood-prone properties. She joined Morris County's Farmland Preservation group 7 years ago, having previously worked with the Harding Land Trust and the Morris Land Conservancy. 


    Please note that this meeting will not be held at the regular Dodge Foundation location, but instead at GSWA Headquarters, 568 Tempe Wick Road, Morristown. This is also open to GSWA's Members.


    The Great Swamp Passaic Municipal Alliance fosters an ongoing collaborative discussion of issues that transcend our individual municipal borders. Our goal is to approach shared concerns and address them in a regional and cost-effective manner by working together. This is an informal networking platform for the exchange of ideas, the sharing of concerns, and development of solutions, among people involved in municipal government.

    Please share this invitation with other municipal elected or appointed officials, or other relevant parties.


    Costs underwritten by the Leavens Foundation

    Great Swamp Watershed Association

    Protecting our waters and our land for more than 30 years

     ph. (973) 538-3500 * e. * w.

    Street Address: 568 Tempe Wick Road, Morristown, NJ 07960 - Map It!

    Mailing Address: P.O. Box 300, New Vernon, NJ 07976


  • Tuesday, October 27, 2015 11:11 AM | Greg Westfall (Administrator)

    Are Towns in a Better Position to Make

    Long-Term Resiliency Decisions? 

    New Report Examines Model Framework for Local Disaster Resiliency Planning

    TRENTON, Oct. 27, 2015 -- A new report from New Jersey Future examines the origin and outcomes of a groundbreaking approach to helping communities take steps to make themselves more resilient to natural disasters. The approach, based on FEMA's recommended National Disaster Recovery Framework, was piloted by New Jersey Future in six Sandy-affected communities. The report summarizes the lessons learned from those engagements, and discusses recommendations for replicating the approach effectively in other post-disaster situations.  For further information go to:

  • Monday, October 26, 2015 10:46 AM | Greg Westfall (Administrator)

    Local towns take the lead in post-Sandy improvement



    Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian, at the Baltic Avenue canal and floodgates. The city’s flood plans are worrying neighboring Ventnor.

    POSTED: Sunday, October 25, 2015, 1:08 AM


    ATLANTIC CITY - It was 1912, a century before Hurricane Sandy, and Atlantic City was engineering a brash future, both as a place that could tame floodwaters and a coastal town that could be something vaster.

    "TEST OF BIG RAIN SHOWS DRAINAGE CANAL WILL WORK," the headline trumpeted. And it did, for decades. The city flourished.

    Fast-forward a century, to Oct. 29, 2012, with old marvels like that Baltic Avenue Canal long dormant, chronic flooding a way of life. Atlantic City, like other Jersey Shore towns, was caught looking.

    Now, three years after Sandy swamped, crushed, and traumatized towns along coastal New Jersey, what has changed?


    If you went to the inlet end of Atlantic City during the nor'easter this month, you might think - incorrectly - not much. Again, sea waters flooded unimpeded, wooden debris spewed a block away. Again, residents like Alicia Casado, 55, peered out at rising waters and thought, "Am I protected?"

    The truth is, infrastructure resiliency projects that languished unfunded and back-burnered for decades pre-Sandy, are now starting to be built. Many are years, and lengthy feasibility studies, away.

    In Atlantic City, projects finally underway are the $6.4 million re-engineering of the underground Baltic Canal and floodgates, a $32.5 million inlet sea wall and an $8.8 million bulkhead project for flood-prone Chelsea Heights.

    In Monmouth County, a $200 million state project will begin in 2016 to protect Union Beach with walls, levees and pumps.

    But along much of the coast, solutions to basic resiliency issues are still years in the future.

    The Christie administration pushes its vast dune beach project (an Army Corps of Engineers shore protection plan for the 127-mile coast), but the more thorny problem of the back bays is being dealt with town by town, even resident by resident.

    Bill Dixon, coastal engineering chief with the Department of Environmental Protection, said the state has begun a study.

    "Replacing every bulkhead in the state to a flood elevation, you'd have to configure a wall of the same elevation to make it a flood-control project," he said. "These cost exponentially more money than a beach-fill project."

    Thousands of residents have either elevated, or are elevating, their homes. Once indifferent coastal towns are sending building officials to school to become flood plain managers.

    But there remains a difficult truth about New Jersey: The nitty gritty of resilience planning and preparedness, ordinances and building codes, emergency management, falls mostly to municipalities.

    And there are 565 of them in New Jersey - big, small, and tiny, some well-trained, some seat-of-the-pants, some farsighted, others waking up.

    DEP Commissioner Bob Martin acknowledged as much this month when he traveled to Atlantic City to launch the seawall project.

    "In truth, it is all over the board," he said. "Some cities and towns are better prepared than others. It's up to municipalities to have to come forward."

    Much to learn

    Inside those borough halls, Sandy taught rank-and-file responders - code officials, deputy emergency managers, recycling heads turned preparedness specialists - much had to be learned.

    "We didn't know what we were getting ourselves into," Nick Fabiano, Matawan construction official told a full house at the N.J. Association for Floodplain Management conference at Bally's last week, in a talk called "Superstorm Sandy Municipal Failures and Administrative Disconnects."

    "We showed up boots on the ground," he said. "We felt like first responders." He recalled people advising residents to pump out flooded basements, then seeing "secondary collapses" result.

    They are only now getting up to speed, in some cases still untangling issues like sheltering. Nonprofits like New Jersey Future and the Jacque Cousteau Research Reserve send planners, but money for that help is drying up.

    Jim Rutala, a grant writer and planner, has been a weapon for towns including Atlantic City and Ventnor, navigating post-Sandy pots of money from an alphabet of federal and state sources (EDA, EPA, HUD, CDBG, DEP, FEMA, EIT).

    Monmouth County created a system to marry emergency planning with the work of code officials.

    Towns such as Lower Township and West Wildwood are trying to get into the Community Rating System of the National Flood Insurance Program. The CRS gives a range of insurance discounts to residents of towns that meet resiliency goals.

    Bayfront mainland towns including Absecon, Pleasantville, and Linwood enrolled after Sandy. Savvy towns such as Avalon, Longport, Brigantine, Margate, and Sea Isle have long participated, all with "5" ratings and 25 percent discounts for their (mostly affluent) homeowners.

    In the middle is a town like Ventnor, with a new flood-plain manager, Dino Cavalieri, help from nonprofit resiliency groups, who have stressed sea level rise, and now with a 7 rating (15 percent off).

    Many advocates say the Christie administration has backed away from sea-level rise as a guide for resiliency. Sea rise is mentioned in state documents, but not as a predictable planning guideline. Scientists at Rutgers University predict that sea levels at the Shore will rise about a foot by 2030, 11/2 to 2 feet by 2050, greatly increasing inundation from floods.

    "It remains a difficult topic for local officials to wrestle with," said David Kutner, of New Jersey Future. "New Jersey isn't giving anyone any guidance."

    At the municipal level, it's not a hard sell, and not only because bond raters now look at sea level rise.

    "You see it all over. Places that didn't used to flood are flooding," said Cavalieri, who urged Ventnor to adopt higher than the state-set minimum elevation, and lower thresholds for a home to be declared substantially damaged (50 to 40 percent).

    Ocean City engineer Arthur Chew pushed for stricter codes for years that were adopted only after Sandy. Ocean City homeowners pays more in flood insurance than any town in the state, he said.

    "It was those sorts of things the storm brought to light," he said. Ocean City is building pumping stations and raised streets near 10th and Haven. (A neighbor no longer needs waders to go home at high tide, clinging to porches.)

    In Sea Isle, construction official Cornelius Byrne issued 190 summonses non-compliant homeowners, pre-Sandy. Cape May County is raising the Sea Isle Causeway by 4.5 feet.

    "It cost political capital and will to implement what's needed," he said. "Citizens get it after Sandy. I don't hear complaints from those people now." A speaker at the flood-plain conference advised electing mayors who live in a town's flood zone.

    Heightened fear

    But newly resilient homes have led to worries that those in elevated houses won't evacuate, believing themselves (and not just their homes) safe.

    The state says 1,430 elevations have been completed with grants, with 4,880 in progress. Lisa Ryan, of the Department of Community Affairs, says rebuilding grants are signed with 7,600 of 8,000 homeowners. Of these, 1,800 have completed construction.

    In flattened towns such as Ortley Beach - famously labeled "Ground Zero, Forever Changed" on a sign just taken down from its perch on Route 35 - the rebuilding has left locals feeling their hometowns have, in fact, changed forever.

    Terri Cerillo, 75, bought on Second Avenue for $23,500 in 1972. She rebuilt inside after chest-high flooding during Sandy, but did not raised her bungalow. The house is now under contract to sell for $329,000 - in part because Cerillo us now surrounded by modern three-story houses that block sea breezes. Neighbors now peer down at her. It's unrecognizable. "I'm not happy here," she said. "Everything was bungalows. It was the Jersey Shore. Now it's the city."

    A block away, the erratic state of Sandy rebuilding can be seen in one block of Fielder Avenue. Dolores Franco, 84, says she feels secure in a house built to recent standards, while next door, a vacant bungalow is still down to studs, marked uninhabitable. Across the street, the big homes built post-Sandy that now define Ortley and other towns - McBungalows - glisten.

    Canal recovery

    Mayor Don Guardian, in a bow tie, and his planning director, Elizabeth Terenik, in heels, paid a visit recently to Georgia Avenue at Atlantis, where the ruins of the Baltic Avenue canal will be resurrected.

    "It's exciting that something that's been in place since 1913 can still work for us," Terenik said, standing by cracked concrete and giant screws for gates once manned by one guy at Georgia Avenue, another guy at Rhode Island.

    The 9,600-foot canal runs under Baltic Avenue. During high tides, the gates close to keep tidal waters out of the city. Pump chambers can evacuate excess stormwater. The canal can be kept empty for use during storms. Guardian says it should eliminate two-thirds of chronic flooding in city back bay neighborhoods.

    Atlantic City also hopes to raise West End Avenue, a coastal evacuation route that routinely floods and gets shut down. A couple of times a year, people in Ventnor Heights can find both their exit routes closed off by flooding - Dorset Avenue across the bridge, and West End to the Black Horse Pike.

    But in true Jersey fashion, Atlantic City's plans have adjacent Ventnor, without similar funding, worried it will be the recipient of their neighbor's flood water. "Building a bulkhead, raising the road, where's that extra water going to go?" said Ventnor's Cavalieri. "They probably need a little more study on that."




  • Friday, October 16, 2015 2:09 PM | Greg Westfall (Administrator)


    Yesterday during a meeting, a presenter showed the 1960s version of the 100-year/24 hour rainfall PF map and it dawned on me that I need to spread the good news!

    Therefore, if you haven't heard already, the NOAA Atlas 14 - Precipitation Frequency data, has been updated for NY and the Northeastern States. The update was finalized on September, 30th 2015. 

    The data is now high resolution and available online in various formats, such as tables, static maps, and GIS. So, go ahead and  pitch those old, tattered, paper copies and bookmark the links below.

    Please distribute this notification as far and wide as possible to your colleagues in planning, soils, engineering, water resources, or anyone else you feel needs this Precipitation Frequency information. The pertinent web links are below.

    Main service link:
    New York:
    Documentation (coming in Nov. for NY)



    Jim Brewster                     

    Hydrologist/Meteorologist                 607-770-9531 x 234

    NOAA/NWS Binghamton, NY

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