Monday, September 23, 2013

$3 Million Program for Passaic River to Reduce Flooding Risks


Wayne, N.J. neighborhood flooded in April 2007 - via NY Times
The Christie Administration today announced that local and county governments in the Passaic River Basin may now apply for state grants to help them keep streams and rivers clear of snags, debris and shoals under a new $3 million program that will reduce flooding risks in communities throughout the Passaic River region.

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), which is administering the program, is distributing applications and other information about the grants to 116 eligible municipalities in the basin.

“While the Passaic River Basin was not as affected by Superstorm Sandy as our coastal communities, it certainly bore the brunt of Tropical Storm Irene and Tropical Storm Lee just a year earlier, when the river basin suffered severe flooding,’’ said DEP Commissioner Bob Martin. “We know there is no way to stop flooding in the river basin, but steps like this, which are identified in Governor Christie’s Comprehensive 15-Point Passaic River Flood Plan, are critical to alleviating flooding impacts to this repetitively-flooded area.’’

“Funds are allocated to participating communities to be used to clear fallen trees and other debris that can cause the Passaic River Basin to clog and overflow,’’ added Commissioner Martin. “Dredging in shallow waterways also will help keep water flowing during heavy rain events.”

Stream cleaning or de-snagging, is defined as the removal of accumulated sediments, debris, garbage, or vegetation from a stream with a natural stream bed, or the removal of any accumulated material from a stream previously channelized with concrete or similar artificial material.

The Passaic River watershed is about 935 square miles, with 84 percent located in New Jersey and the remainder in New York State. The Passaic River has seven major tributaries: the Whippany, Rockaway, Pompton, Pequannock, Wanaque, Ramapo, and Saddle rivers, all of which have periodic flooding problems.

On August 7, Governor Christie signed legislation that re-appropriated $3 million from the “Dam, Lake, Stream, Flood Control, Water Resources and Wastewater Treatment Project Bond Act of 2003’’ to fund state flood control projects.

Municipalities and counties have until November 30 to submit letters of interest to the DEP. The letters should include a statement of need, a description of the requested de-snagging and/or shoal dredging project, with an estimated cost of the project, including engineering, permitting, bidding and construction.

The DEP will establish a priority list for funding based upon previous flood damage in each applicant community, the likelihood of success of proposed projects in alleviating flood impacts, and whether municipalities or counties are willing to contribute matching funds to the project, among other considerations.

Municipalities with related projects are also encouraged to submit their letters of interest as one project through their county. Such combined projects will be ranked in the priority list based upon the highest ranking municipality in the group.

Each individual grant is expected to be in the range of $100,000, although the DEP may award additional funds if a project is deemed to be especially critical in addressing local or regional flooding.


For a list of towns eligible for the grant, visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/docs/prfb-towns.pdf

For a copy of legislation signed by Governor Christie, visit: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2012/Bills/PL13/100_.HTM

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