News / USA

    Rising Seas, Regulations Push Poor New Jersey Residents to Move Inland

    Brian Padden
    The devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy last year along the northeastern coastline of the United States has convinced many skeptics that global warming and rising sea levels are now a real and present danger. The state of New Jersey is spending millions of dollars to build up sea walls and sand dunes to protect popular beaches but, in some poor coastal communities people are being urged to flee their homes and move inland.

    William Bowen is the oldest living resident of Money Island in New Jersey. He remembers a time when there was a wide beach in front of his home.

    Now workers are helping him replace the small sand embankment that was washed away by Hurricane Sandy last year.  He says neither the storm damage nor the encroaching sea will make him leave his home.   

     “I am here to stay, okay?  I love it here. This is my roots," he said. "I have some problems with being here at my age. I’m 85. And where am I going to go?”

    Money Island is not an island. It's a small village of modest homes and trailers in the wetlands of southern New Jersey where the Delaware River meets the Atlantic Ocean.  

    Mayor Robert Campbell says ever since Hurricane Sandy there seems to be a concerted effort by regulatory agencies to force residents to move away from the coastline. Houses located in flood zones must be elevated. He says the county is imposing stricter sewage and septic standards, forcing residents to spend thousands of dollars to upgrade their systems.

    “I don’t know what their agenda is but they are using all the regulatory powers that they have to scare and intimidate people along the bay and make them want to sell out to programs like Blue Acres,” he said.

    Blue Acres is state program to buy houses in floods zones.  Renee Brecht, who is with the environmental organization The American Littoral Society, has been urging many in Money Island to move.  She's against governments spending millions of dollars to protect a small number of houses from rising sea levels.  

    “I mean you can put up big sea walls and so forth but those things a lot of times will not only cost an enormous amount of money for tax payers but they also will only be a short term solution," she said. "So 20, 30 years down the road you’re back in the same position.”

    Brecht says she would like to make much of the bay area a natural preserve like the Nature Conservancy’s restoration project in nearby South Cape May.

    That project received some government funding and turned 86 hectares of abandoned homes into a wildlife habitat that protects the community from storms like Sandy.

    “The dune actually held which was wonderful and protected the local town from the storm water coming in, the storm surge,” said Adrianna Zito Livingston, a project coordinator with the Nature Conservancy.

    She says it will cost $35 million to maintain the Cape May preserve over the next 50 years. Which leaves many in Money Island wondering why it is worthwhile to spend millions to return these areas to nature but not to help the people who live there.

    You May Like

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    What Take-out Food Reveals About American History

    From fast-food restaurants to pizza delivery, here's what the history of take-out food tells us about changes in American society

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora