Many Garden State residents experiencing a higher frequency of coastal flooding are blaming Superstorm Sandy for altering our environment. However, lead scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey say Sandy is not to blame.

Flooding from Superstorm Sandy (Townsquare Media NJ)

Those scientists said the findings of a study examining the Barnegat Bay and the Great South Bay show that water levels following Superstorm Sandy were unchanged.

"What we're saying is that whatever changes were caused by Sandy, the water level that was found in the mainland inside the bays was not altered," said USGS oceanographer Alfredo Aretxabaleta, the study's lead scientist.

The scientists are attributing increased coastal flooding along the eastern coastline to New Jersey's relentless offshore winter storms or nor'easters.

"So that the perception was there was additional flooding," said study co-author Bradford Butman, also a USGS oceanographer. "It was strong, but it wasn't influenced by Hurricane Sandy; it was influenced by these offshore storms."

One thing the study suggests is that if we get another rare storm like Sandy in the future, we can expect the same type of flooding. We can also expect continued coastal flooding from frequent nor'easters.

The study, "Water level response in back-barrier bays unchanged following Hurricane Sandy" by Aretxabaleta, A.L., B. Butman, and N.K. Ganju, is in the Geophysical Research Letters journal and available online.