Lisa Auermuller, watershed coordinator for the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve (JCNERR), was presented the Floodplain Management Leadership Award at the New Jersey Association for Floodplain Management (NJAFM) annual conference on October 22 in Atlantic City. The award recognizes individuals who have achieved success in a significant aspect of floodplain management, including efforts in education, government, policy, research, litigation, outreach, or implementation, which demonstrate the advancement of flood loss reduction.
Auermuller has been the watershed coordinator for JCNERR in Tuckerton, NJ, since 2002. Her role includes assessing the needs of coastal decision makers and assembling training opportunities through JCNERR’s Coastal Training Program. These efforts are designed to better inform decision makers through the use of science-based applied research, visualization tools and best practices.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Auermuller’s recent focus has been coastal community vulnerability and resilience as they relate to current and future coastal hazards. Auermuller has worked with a variety of partners and stakeholders to develop tools and protocols to help communities understand their risks, plan for those risks and put resiliency, mitigation and adaptation measures into place. She oversees a team of Coastal Resilience Specialists who work one-on-one with municipal staff and elected and appointed officials to assess municipal vulnerability and risk, facilitate a resilience preparedness and planning assessment process and to recommend implementation options at short and long-term scales. Auermuller’s work combines natural and social science aspects of the coastal decision making process.
New Jersey residents often do not comprehend flood dynamics and floodplain management, and the actions they can take to mitigate impacts from flood events. This lack of understanding contributes to poor land use decisions, inadequate flood protection, insurance liability, threats to life and property, and the inability to engage in sound decision-making. Flood preparedness – including education, outreach and training on flood hazards and appropriate mitigation actions – is one of the most important initiatives to help protect people and property from the adverse impacts of floods.
The Coastal Training Program at JCNERR provides up-to-date scientific information, access to technologies and skill-building opportunities to professionals responsible for making decisions about coastal resources.
The Jacques Cousteau Coastal Center serves as the hub for education and outreach programs associated with the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve, which is one of the 28 national estuarine reserves created to promote the responsible use and management of the nation’s estuaries through a program combining scientific research, education, and stewardship. The program is part of the Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers.