The next step to reduce the flooding of the Rahway River Watershed is an evaluation by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in September, where they will select an alternative for flood mitigation on the Rahway River.
This week, two years ago, Irene struck the Rahway River Watershed causing more than $100 million worth of damage. Following the hit, the Mayors Council Rahway River Watershed Flood Control was formed and began working with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Although the council has made progress since Irene, they are still waiting on the final decision by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers before any work can begin.
The U.S. Army Corps has already evaluated the hydrological benefits of the seven proposed alternatives for flood mitigation and are now evaluating the cost benefit of each, according to Former Cranford Mayor Dan Aschenbach who coordinates the Mayors Council.
The alternatives include:
- Raising the Lenape Park dam and levees with channelization.
- Raising Lenape Park dam and levees and less channelization
- Excavation of Orange reservoir and gate opening (already rejected)
- Minor modification of Orange reservoir and channelization
- South Mountain Regional Dry Detention Basin and channelization
- South Mountain Regional Dry Detention Basin without channelization
- Non-structural alternatives
- Storage solutions for the Robinson's Branch
"In the face of the destruction down the shore and the urgency of the US Army Corps turning its attention there, the movement now on the Rahway River flooding mitigation evaluation to this point is positive and reflects well on the US Army Corps efforts here,” Aschenbach said. “The Corps professionalism has been critical. But it still has to be stated flood mitigation is not in place which many residents worry about."
The Governor’s Office recently announced $300,000 is
available for these types of projects, Mayor Tom Hannen said at the Aug. 13 Cranford
At the meeting, the township discussed joining nearby towns in hiring a lobbying firm, Wining Strategies, to lobby in D.C. to secure the funds to move the project forward.
The Mayors Council representatives have begun congressional visits to urge federal representatives that the Rahway River mitigation work be give the U.S. Army Corps highest priority, according to Aschenbach.
The Mayors Council includes: Millburn Mayor Sandra Haimoff; Cranford Mayor Tom Hannen; Maplewood Mayor Victor DeLuca; Orange Mayor Dwayne Warren, Springfield Mayor David Amblen; Rahway Mayor Rick Proctor; Union Mayor Clifton People; Winfield Mayor Margaret McManus; Kenilworth Mayor Kathi Fiamingo and Garwood Mayor Patricia Quattrocchi.