Towns Will Finalize Interlocal Agreement To Begin Flood Remediation

Cranford will join with Millburn and several other communities in Union and Essex counties to take steps toward developing a dry dam in the South Mountain Reservation.


The Following press release was provided by the Mayor's Council on Rahway River Watershed Flood Control.

, established after Irene to find solutions to flooding in Rahway River Watershed, will meet on Sept. 13 at 6:45 p.m. at the Rahway Municipal Library.

The Mayor's Council consists of the Mayors and engineers of communities along the Rahway River that have been meeting regularly since the end of 2011.  The communities of Millburn, West Orange, South Orange, Maplewood, Springfield, Union, Cranford, Kenilworth, Garwood, Westfield, Winfield Park and Rahway have been represented on the council.

"All the towns in the Rahway River Watershed have to improve the way we handle stormwater since what happens in one town affects others. Our efforts have been to develop regional solutions," said Rahay Mayor Rick Proctor.

The agenda includes finalization of the interlocal agreement for the legal analysis and work plan for the development of a dry dam in the South Mountain Reservation near Campbell Mills Pond. The dry dam would store storm water during peak storm conditions. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers working with the Mayors Council has confirmed in its preliminary analysis that the storage could lower water elevations up to three feet lower in Millburn, Springfield and Union and one-and-a-half feet lower in Cranford and also benefit Rahway.

Seven communities have agreed to sign the inter-local agreement. The mayors have urged the state legislature to fund the environmental assessment on the project and are waiting for the state's response for this urgent project. In addition, the mayors are urging Sens. Frank Lautenberg Robert Menendez to include in the Senate appropriation legislation for the FY 2013 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act funding that was left out of the House version of the appropriations bill for the US Army Corps of Engineers to complete its alternatives review of mitigation projects to reduce flooding on Rahway River including the dry dam in South Mountain; Lenape Park; Morris Avenue bridge improvement and flood mitigation at Robinson's Branch. 

In addition, updates on the other key projects the U.S. Army Corps is evaluating are on the agenda including improvements to capacity of Lenape Park. The Army Corps has provided preliminary estimates of the changes it is evaluating and projected storage levels. A Lenape Park task including representatives of various communities and the county engineer will be meeting on the next steps at an early September meeting.

An important agenda item will be discussion by mayors on several objectives to improve best practices in storm water management. The objectives will be finalized over the following week at a major conference co-sponsored by the Mayors Council and the Rahway River Association, a leading environmental organization that is focused on improving the ecology and environment of the Rahway River Watershed. The conference is scheduled for Sept. 20 at 6:30 p.m. at the Millburn Library. Guest speakers include Dr. Amy Rowe and Michele Bakacs of the Rutgers Cooperative Extension (Union, Essex, Passaic and Middlesex counties) on pervious concrete and rain barrels; Sandy Batty, Executive Director of the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions and Rutgers University's Chris Obropta.  

"We need everyone involved to manage storm water better," said David Schwartzberg and Lynda Feder, Rahway River Association Trustees. "Every household and business can do simple things that will help reduce the chances of flooding severity. We need to educate our families on what can be done." 

Under discussion are several key objectives to be implemented by the watershed communities in the coming year. Each objective has some capability of lowering the quantity of storm water while making improvements to the quality of the storm water. The objectives include: requiring planning and zoning boards members to have mandatory and specific training in storm water management concepts; each Mayor and governing board taking a pledge to lower impervious surfaces by 10 percent by 2015 at school and municipal facilities; creation of a regional policy board to effectuate changes in land use rules, and development of green technology demonstrations projects in sensitive properties near floodways.

Mr monde September 04, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Its rather insulting that the town feels the people need to be educated on storms and how to deal with them..."Every household and business can do simple things that will help reduce the chances of flooding severity. We need to educate our families on what can be done." education is not going to help us when our horrible sewers stop taking water its not going to help when the town builds useless buildings on properties that could easily soak up and deter the flood water making it less of a problem education is not going to stop the river from cresting over the bike path in front of my home along with a pumping station that is basically useless..A logical plan WOULD and CAN help..but I have a better chance of getting flooded again than having things improved
Steve September 05, 2012 at 02:17 AM
Cranford has tried to control its stormwater since its creation in 1871. And while a regional council along the Rahway River is a salutary restart -- it was unsuccessfully tried in the years immediately following WWII -- it is likely doomed to failure without also confronting the existential threat posed by climate change and rising seas. The vast majority of SCIENTISTS now acknowledge human-induced global warming. A short list of the many scores of leading scientific organizations having issued such definitive statements includes the prestigious U. S. National Academy of Sciences, NASA, the American Physical Society, the American Chemical Society, the American Meteorological Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. See, e.g.: http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2011/0606alamitos_letter.shtml Hardly a week passes without yet another scientific study supporting the foregoing conclusions. The New York Times, PBS and NPR, as well as other well-respected news sources, have been covering these developments. Nevertheless, as Yale University found, most people fail to grasp the seriousness of the situation and are unaware of the mountain of peer-reviewed scientific evidence. See, e.g.: http://www.npr.org/2011/06/21/137309964/climate-change-public-skeptical-scientists-sure Focusing on mitigation and "simple things" without meaningfully attacking the root causes (e.g., over-development and climate change) is merely to forestall the inevitable.
Steve September 09, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Of course, some few may prefer a wet basement to the dry sump. Henry David Thoreau espoused such a view in his classic essay, "Walking," first published during the Civil War: "The most tasteful front-yard fence was never an agreeable object of study to me; the most elaborate ornaments, acorn tops, or what not, soon wearied and disgusted me. Bring your sills up to the very edge of the swamp then, (though it may not be the best place for a dry cellar,) so that there be no access on that side to citizens. Front-yards are not made to walk in, but, at most, through, and you could go in the back way." "Yes; though you may think me perverse, if it were proposed to me to dwell in the neighborhood of the most beautiful garden that ever human art contrived, or else of a dismal swamp, I should certainly decide for the swamp. How vain then have been all your labors, citizens, for me!"


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