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Adaptation to a Warming Planet: Rising Seas and Eroding Salt Marshes

January 19, 2021 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

This Ask a Barnegat Bay Scientist webinar was presented by Mr. Thomas Belton — research scientist, marine biologist, and author.

View a recording of the webinar here. You’ll need this password to view it: Adaptation6.

About the Webinar

Tidal salt marshes cover over 200,000 acres of New Jersey’s coastal landscape, supplying vital habitat for wildlife, maintaining water quality, and helping to protect people from storm surge and flooding. In fact, a recent study concluded that New Jersey’s salt marshes prevented over $400 million in damages during Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Yet this wonderful ecosystem is under threat – and we are the cause! A hotter planet is causing sea levels to rise with storm-related flooding and erosion in coastal areas. In this webinar, we will explore best management practices in the design of a climate-sensitive stewardship program for New Jersey waterways, especially as it pertains to the preservation, conservation, and engineered reconstruction of  salt marsh ecosystems. This story includes not only the efforts of the State to intervene but also the efforts of local interest groups, private citizens, and non-governmental agencies to engage with their municipalities and find common ground in developing acceptable strategies to protect the endangered shorelines around our state.

About the Presenter

Thomas Belton is an environmental scientist, author, and journalist with extensive publications in both the popular and scientific literature. He is recently retired from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Science, Research, and Environmental Health where his primary responsibilities included the design and performance of a wide range of aquatic biology research including water quality studies, groundwater-surface water modeling, ecosystem health, air-water modeling and watershed characterization and assessment methodologies. Mr. Belton was also the Research Coordinator for the Governor’s Action Plan to restore Barnegat Bay, one of the largest barrier island embayments in New Jersey in which he designed and oversaw the performance of eleven interlinked water quality studies including assessing the impact of the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating station, one of the oldest once-through power plant cooling systems in the United States. Until recently he was also a Research Associate in Scientific Writing and a lecturer at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University in Philadelphia. His professional memoir, Protecting New Jersey’s Environment: From Cancer Alley to the New Garden State, was named a 2010 Honor Book by the New Jersey Council for the Humanities. He is by training and profession a research scientist, marine biologist, and an environmentalist with extensive publications in the scientific literature.



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