Work Begins on 15 Point Flood Plan

Gorgeous gorge, north end of Branch Brook ParkImage via WikipediaThis Summer, the Passaic River Flood Advisory Commission issued a 15 point plan to Governor Christie regarding the improvement and abatement of flooding along the Passaic River (known also by other names up and down its banks).

This plan included:

1) Expanding and expediting floodway buyouts, with State Blue Acres funds and FEMA funds.
2) Encouraging home elevation projects in flood prone areas if acquisition is not an option.
3) Buying undeveloped land for use as flood storage areas.
4) Improving operation of the Pompton Lakes dam floodgates.
5) Initiating de-snagging and shoal dredging efforts to facilitate improved river flows.
6) Removing feeder dams to offer flood relief to Pompton Lakes, Wayne and Pequannock.
7) State adoption of National Flood Insurance Program regulations to ensure state rules are consistent with local flood control ordinances, and eliminating the risk that FEMA could suspend its flood insurance program in New Jersey.
8) Expediting the DEP's permit process to let towns more quickly obtain permits to de-snag and remove river debris, repair retaining walls and remove shoals.
9) Improving effectiveness and efficiency of county and local emergency response plans.
10) Enhancing the Passaic River flood warning system.
11) Contracting with the National Weather Service to create inundation maps to provide critical information to enable quicker flood projections and greater storm preparedness.
12) Enhancing public involvement, information and outreach on flood issues.
13) Requesting a re-evaluation by the Army Corps of Engineers of the larger potential major engineering projects for long-term flood damage reduction.
14) Updating floodplain mapping to eliminate decades-old maps that do not include detailed modeling of floodplains.

15) Having towns in the Passaic River Basin pursue flood risk reduction changes to their master plans, zoning ordinances and flood prevention ordinances, to guide future development away from floodplains or prevent future development in these high risk flood-prone areas.

So far, work has been commenced to remove shoals along the Peckman River in Little Falls and Cedar Grove.

It is unclear to the public what other measures might be pursued at this time to complete the plan, though many municipalities are watching the Commission closely to ensure that all points are addressed.  Among these municipalities is Pequannock, whose newly formed Flood Control Advisory Commission has even formed a subcommittee to keep tabs on the 15 point plan.  (Full disclosure: I'm a member of that subcommittee).

Christopher Lotito is a member of the Pequannock EnvironmentalHistoric District, and Flood Control Advisory Commissions as well as the author of  "Torrent," a book about flooding in the region.  Lotito's personal mission is to reduce new taxes, drastically reduce flooding, and preserve more green spaces for our children.  Christopher Lotito Profile

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