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Flood Loss Reduction

Serious flooding (particularly the record flood of 1955) was one of the primary reasons that led to the creation of the DRBC in 1961. However, over the next 40+ years the Delaware River and those living or working along its banks were much more familiar with droughts than floods. This hydrologic pattern would change beginning in 2004.

Interstate Flood Mitigation Task Force

In September 2004, April 2005, and June 2006, three major floods caused devastation along the main stem Delaware River, repeatedly damaging property and disrupting tens of thousands of lives. These were the worst floods to occur on the main stem since the flood of record in 1955. The last known occurrence of three main stem floods of comparable magnitude within so short a time span was the period from March 1902 to March 1904.

Reducing flood loss is a responsibility shared by federal, interstate, state, and local governments throughout the basin. The governors of Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania recognized this when they cosigned a September 2006 letter in which they wrote, "Individually, the Basin states can move forward with policies and regulations to reduce and mitigate the impacts of flooding, but we believe that through coordinated effort on a regional basis, we can do more to reduce flood loss within the Basin than we could accomplish acting separately, on our own. The Delaware River Basin Commission is the obvious vehicle for developing flood loss reduction and flood mitigation plans that cannot be accomplished by any single state or local government but that require a holistic, watershed approach. As much as any time since the Commission was created in 1961, now seems an appropriate moment for coordinated action through the DRBC."

The September 2006 letter from the four governors directed DRBC staff to convene an interstate task force to develop a set of recommended measures for mitigating and alleviating flooding impacts along the Delaware and its tributaries. In July 2007, the Delaware River Basin Interstate Flood Mitigation Task Force forwarded to the four basin state governors its action agenda for a more proactive, sustainable, and systematic approach to flood damage reduction. The final report with 45 consensus recommendations addressed six management areas: flood warning, reservoir operations, floodplain regulation, floodplain mapping, structural and non-structural mitigation, and stormwater management.

July 2007 Task Force Final Report/Action Agenda
December 2009 Task Force Post-Report Meeting

The DRB Interstate Flood Mitigation Task Force met on December 15, 2009 at the Hunterdon County Complex in Flemington, N.J. to discuss implementation progress on several Task Force recommendations highlighted in its final report. Presentations were given on flood warning improvement recommendations, flood analysis model results, and floodplain management recommendations.