New Jersey Coastal Ecological Restoration and Adaptation Plan (CERAP)

CERAP banner at CRSSA

Ongoing Project, January 2023 Update


The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is developing a Coastal Ecological Restoration and Adaptation Plan (CERAP) for New Jersey’s (NJ)’s coastal marshes, estuaries and back-bays. The CERAP aims to identify areas of New Jersey (NJ)’s coastal zone most appropriate for future restoration, enhancement, or preservation projects that will produce significant net carbon sequestration, ecosystem health and community resilience value.

Rutgers CRSSA is serving as the Technical Lead on CERAP and Jacques Cousteau Estuarine Research Reserve as the Outreach Lead with input from a stakeholder's group that consists of representatives from the American Littoral Society, Barnegat Bay Partnership, NJ Baykeeper, and Partnership for the Delaware Estuary.

Issues of Concern (IOC)

We are working with various government agency and NGO partners to identify prospective areas based on a determination of the relevant Issues of Concern (IOC), including ecological, economic, and social functions of the location and stakeholder interests. The geographic focus for CERAP is New Jersey’s coastal marshes, estuaries and back-bays.

 Eight IOCs have been identified, including: 

  • Coastal Ecosystem Degradation and Habitat Loss  
  • Shoreline Erosion 
  • Coastal Flood Damage  
  • Nuisance Flooding 
  • Coastal Storm Damage 
  • Water Quality Degradation 
  • Loss of CO2 Sequestration 
  • Social Vulnerability 

The IOCs are stated not as goals to be met but more as a potential vulnerability. Take for example, water quality.  From an IOC perspective, we are concerned about identifying areas where water quality is degraded, i.e., where water quality is an issue of present or future concern.  Though one might be equally interested in identifying areas of high water quality and want to protect that present status (i.e., how then NJDEP treats C1 streams) that is not the approach we have adopted.  To aid in area and project site evaluation and planning, Rutgers CRSSA has developed a quantifiable, mappable metric for each IOC to provide a statewide view of the geographic distribution of individual IOCs and in composite.

Mapping Methodology (PDF)

CERAP Online Tools

To assist in the broader CERAP process, Rutgers CRSSA created a two online tools; 1) CERAP IOC Data Explorer; and 2) CERAP Nomination Online Survey.

The CERAP IOC Data Explorer includes a statewide map for each of the IOCs, a combined vulnerability estimate that represents how many IOCs in a given location are highly vulnerable, and supplemental data for some IOCs to allow the end-user to explore the data sets used to create the vulnerability estimates. To access the CERAP Issues of Concern online data explorer, use the following link: .

To facilitate the Area identification and Project nomination, the CERAP Nomination Online Survey tool was developed. To access use the following link.

As part of the nomination process, end-users completed an online survey about the area in question as well as locational information through an interactive digitizing process (i.e., the end-users digitized a polygon outlining the Area that they were nominating for future consideration for resiliency/adaptation projects). The first round of nominations was open for approximately five months (April through August 2021). 

More Information

See NJ DEP Website for more info:


Rick Lathrop
Director, Center for Remote Sensing and Spatial Analysis (CRSSA)

Grant F. Walton Center for Remote Sensing and Spatial Analysis (CRSSA)
School of Environmental and Biological Sciences
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
14 College Farm Road, Cook Campus
New Brunswick, NJ USA 08901-8551
Tel: 848/932-1582
Fax: 732/932-2587

Web site composed by the Grant F. Walton Center for Remote Sensing and Spatial Analysis (CRSSA), © 2021, 2022. Page contents last updated 03/28/2022.