Atlantic Highlands: The tide is rising.  Invest wisely.

The proposed development of a seven-acre tract of waterfront property in Atlantic Highlands, known as the McConnell Tract, is a lost opportunity for a more sustainable future for the town. Rather than paving and building over a rare open space along a river and bay waterfront with yet another development, Atlantic Highlands could be proactive and adapt the land as an investment in resiliency for the future of their community in the face of sea level rise and increasingly severe storms.

The impacts of climate change are already being felt in New Jersey, and will only intensify.  As the earth continues to warm, we can expect increases in the severity and frequency of rain events, stronger superstorms and storm surges, as well as sea level rise.  Coastal communities are on the front lines of climate change and developing the few remaining coastal open spaces is reckless for the long term success of the whole community.  Countless studies and reports affirm these truths and the recommendations call on leaders to take actions that will protect their citizens and towns from the harmful impacts of future storms.  Atlantic Highlands has a unique opportunity to become a leader and demonstrate what 21st century positive community action to respond to climate change looks like, and create a model for others to follow.

This property represents a chance to break with past mistakes and place the future well-being of the community over the interests of a developer. The property should remain undeveloped and be transformed into a living coastline - an expanded natural sponge to capture stormwater reducing flooding and pollution. Ultimately, this will help protect and buffer the community from very real climate related impacts.

Clean Ocean Action urges Atlantic Highlands’ leaders to heed the call for meaningful action to help protect your community from climate change impacts.  By investing in this property to serve as a hedge against future flooding, you’ll be banking on success. The tide is rising. Invest wisely.

Cindy Zipf

Executive Director, Clean Ocean Action