Several areas in NJ designated by FEMA as ‘disaster resilience zones’

NJ Spotlight News: Several flood-prone areas in New Jersey have been earmarked by federal officials to receive additional support to protect communities against climate change.  

The Federal Emergency Management Agency designated 483 census tracts nationwide as Community Disaster Resilience Zones earlier this month.  

FEMA listed eight zones in New Jersey, including parts of Bergen, Hudson, Atlantic and Cape May counties. The eight zones are in Little Ferry, Moonachie, Kearny, Atlantic City, Pleasantville, Wildwood, North Wildwood and Commercial Township. 

FEMA will use the designated zones to prioritize grant funding and to increase the federal share of the cost of resiliency projects in those areas.   

“The priority is to assist communities that are at the highest risk to climate impacts and have the most need for assistance,” Victoria Salinas, FEMA associate administrator for resilience, said during a recent call with reporters. 

Risk index 

According to FEMA, no new source of funding is tied to the Resilience Zone list. Rather, communities on it will be prioritized for grant funding not just from FEMA but from other federal agencies. 

FEMA made the designations after the Community Disaster Resilience Zones Act, signed into law last year, instructed the agency to identify areas at high risk from the impacts of climate change and other natural hazards.  

To compile the list, FEMA used its National Risk Index, which rates census tracts based on their vulnerability to different natural hazards, including coastal flooding, hurricanes, wildfires and drought. FEMA also considered socioeconomic factors that can impact a community’s disaster resilience. The agency identified the top 50 census tracts with the highest risk for all natural hazards nationwide, as well as the top 1% for each state. Read more>>