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Mayors Council Meets Tonight In Cranford to Talk Rahway River Watershed

Members will share updates about U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project South Mountain Regional Detention Basin.

The Mayors Council Rahway River Watershed Flood Control will be meeting at the Cranford Municipal Building on Wednesday to update residents on the progress of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers evaluation of flood mitigation projects including the development of the South Mountain Regional Detention Basin. 

"Most New Jerseyans hearts go out to residents of the shore and the state and federal government have  to be  strong partners in rebuilding," said Dan Aschenbach, former Cranford mayor. 

"We do have to remind the Governor and State Legislature, however, that we are not minced meat and should not be forgotten with regards to  the funding needs to move ahead with flood control," he said.  

Many homes and businesses after Irene in the Rahway River Watershed had significant impacts.  In Cranford alone over 1600 homes were damaged and in Rahway many homeowners had numerous repetitive losses. 

While the federal and state governments have helped to  get lives back in order in the watershed area , the prediction of 9 inches of rain prior to Superstorm Sandy sent residents into a panic. 

The Mayors of 11 communities have been working to implement projects to reduce water elevations during peak storm conditions through several projects the US Army Corps of Engineers is evaluating, according to Aschenbach.

The South Mountain Regional Detention Basin is a high priority which would be located near Campbell Mill Pond in Essex County’s South Mountain Reservation. It would lower water elevations of the Rahway River during peak storm conditions by almost three feet in Millburn, Union and Springfield, and by about 1.5 feet in Cranford and also benefit the City of Rahway. The project has also been cited as being beneficial to flood storage projects being considered for Lenape Park in Kenilworth.  

A funding request to the Governor and State Legislature was made in late June to conduct the environmental assessments so Essex County, the City of Orange and the state Dept. of Environmental Protection can be assured about any impacts. 

The Mayors Council has invited the Governor and State Legislative leaders to Cranford to get updated on the projects, so movement from evaluation to construction can get done.  

The meeting will take place at the Cranford Municipal Building on December 13 at 7:30p.m. Parking for the event will be across the street from the municipal building 

M L December 13, 2012 at 10:30 PM
Why are we asking Dan Aschenbach anything? Cant we put him and his political agenda behind us?
Edward O'Malley December 14, 2012 at 02:01 PM
We need to fully appreciate the historic scale of the numbers. Lessening peak flood elevations by one and a half to two feet will make a mountain of a difference to hundreds of properties in Cranford. One hundred year storms could become nonevents. Aschenbach's political skill, drive and imagination have overcome obstacles imposed by less effective agendas to singlehandedly serve up to Cranford its best opportunity for real flood control in the form of the South Mountain detention basin and Lenape Park proposals. Aschenbach created the Regional Mayor's Coalition after Irene and has infused it with his vision and energy to win the backing of the other member towns. Twenty four towns now make up the Watershed Coalition but Cranford has by far the biggest stake in flood mitigation having lost over $100 million to Irene. Firm construction costs are not yet available but they will probably amount to a fraction of our recent loss. We need to focus on doing what's required to have the best shot at bringing the proposal to fruition. Many things can derail it. We shall need more of Aschenbach's skillful politics in this effort and not less. In addition we must assume a leadership role in discouraging overdevelopment and promoting agressive stormwater management in the watershed to show the Army Corps, NJ DEP and others that the detention basin is not just a means of bailing us out of the consequences of past bad practices so they might continue.
Steve December 14, 2012 at 04:14 PM
Thanks for the comments, Commissioner O'Malley. I was unable to make the recent meeting, which I had wanted to attend. Could you provide a summary of current status, as well as any new developments? Thanks much for being proactive in communicating here.

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