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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 13, 2012

Contact: Lawrence Ragonese (609) 292-2994
Larry Hajna (609) 984-1795
Chris Gardner (917) 790-8108 Army Corps

ARMY CORPS AND DEP SIGN AGREEMENT TO REEVALUATE FLOOD CONTROL
PROJECTS FOR PASSAIC RIVER BASIN

$2.4 Million Study to Look at Potential Engineering Improvements

(12/P69) TRENTON - The Department of Environmental Protection and the Army Corps of Engineers have signed a $2.4 million cost-sharing agreement to finance the first phase of a detailed review of potential flood control engineering measures for flood-prone areas of the Passaic River Basin, DEP Commissioner Bob Martin and Army Corps New York District Commander Col. John R. Boulé announced today.   

The reevaluation, which will analyze and compare flood risk management alternatives for towns throughout the Passaic River Basin, is one of the 15 recommendations made by Governor Christie’s Passaic River Flood Advisory Commission to mitigate flood risks to this region of North Jersey.

The Army Corps will study and analyze larger potential engineering projects for long-term flood damage reduction, primarily looking at potential levees and floodwalls.

“We recognize there is no silver bullet to stop flooding in the Passaic River Basin, and are making an aggressive effort to move people out of harm’s way through home buyouts and elevations in the most flood-prone areas,’’ said Commissioner Martin. “At the same time, partly through this joint effort with the Army Corps of Engineers, we are seeking ways to mitigate flood damage and help ease the pain suffered  by residents living in this area.’’

“This agreement is an important milestone toward comprehensive, long-term flooding solutions for communities in the Passaic River Basin,’’ added Col. Boulé. “We are committed to collaborating closely with the New Jersey DEP, our great partner, to rapidly complete the planning that leads to a project that significantly reduces the flood risk to the public that we serve.’’

The first phase, or conceptual phase, of the study will examine different combinations of comprehensive flood risk management alternatives by exploring existing data, using updated engineering, and making a comparison of economic benefits. Potential alternatives include looking at the impacts and costs of taking no action in the basin – an option required by the National Environmental Policy Act -- to considering combinations of levees, floodwalls, channel modifications, and bridge and dam modifications. 

The study also will evaluate a new alternative that involves potential modifications to Beatties Dam in Little Falls and the Two Bridges area.

The study, which kicks off this month, is financed by an even split of $1.2 million apiece from the DEP and federal government. The scope and details of the study will be explained publicly during two planned public information sessions to be held later this summer. Locations and dates have yet to be finalized.   

A draft conceptual phase report is expected to be available by late 2013, with subsequent public outreach meetings to be scheduled.

On April 23, 2010, Governor Christie signed Executive Order 23, establishing the Passaic River Basin Flood Advisory Commission to develop and recommend solutions to the chronic flooding problems that plague New Jersey residents. The Commission in January, 2011, issued its report, which included a realistic package of 15 recommendations designed to minimize the impact of flooding in the Passaic River Basin, while getting people out of harm’s way and improving the emergency preparedness and response to floods.

Read the Commission’s report at: http://nj.gov/dep/passaicriver/docs/passaic-report201101.pdf

For more information on Passaic River Basin flood issues, visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/passaicriver/

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Last Updated: June 14, 2012