Menendez, Booker Applaud Nearly $11M for NJ Flood Mitigation Projects in Just-Passed Energy and Water Appropriations Bill

Menendez, Booker Applaud Nearly $11M for NJ Flood Mitigation Projects in Just-Passed Energy and Water Appropriations Bill

Legislation includes funding for Green Brook Sub-Basin, Rahway River Basin, Jersey Shore Backbays

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker highlighted $10,954,000 in funding to protect New Jersey communities threatened by repeated floods contained within the FY2017 Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Act appropriations bill, which passed the Senate today.

“Too many New Jersey families know firsthand the painful impacts of severe flooding and the toll it takes on entire communities,” said Sen. Menendez. “Whether it be Sandy, Irene, Floyd, or the seasonal Nor’easter, our state is routinely in the path of severe storms that can destroy neighborhoods and wreak havoc on people’s lives. This funding is vital to moving these communities closer to a long term flood mitigation solution that will protect residents and property. I am pleased that these important projects were prioritized in the President’s FY17 Budget request and funded through the Energy and Water Appropriations bill.”

"For years, far too many communities across our state have been forced to endure the devastating impacts of flooding,” said Sen. Booker. "New Jersey families deserve to have the peace of mind that they are out of harm’s way and don’t have to live in constant fear of the next storm. These federally funded projects make an important investment in the safety and well-being of New Jerseyans by helping to mitigate the impact of flooding and making us more resilient in the face of future storms."

The $37.5 billion funding bill provides $6 billion for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers civil works programs that fall under flood and storm damage reduction, navigation, and ecosystem restoration activities, including the following critical Army Corps projects in New Jersey:

Green Brook Sub Basin - $10,000,000

The funding will be used to advance a flood mitigation project that began in Bound Brook to help communities in Middlesex, Somerset and Union Counties that experienced significant flooding from Tropical Storm Floyd in 1999, Nor’easters in 1973 and 2007, and other storms. The plan consists of a system of levees, floodwalls, closure gates and pump stations in the lower portion of the basin, channel modifications and dry detention basins in the upper portion of the basin, and channel modifications in the Stony Brook portion of the basin.

The 65-square-mile Green Brook Sub-Basin area is located within the Raritan River Basin area and includes the following communities: Dunellen, Middlesex Borough, Piscataway, South Plainfield, Bound Brook, Bridgewater, Green Brook, North Plainfield, Warren, Watchung, Berkeley Heights, Plainfield and Scotch Plains.

New Jersey Backbays - $575,000

The funding will be used to study the effects of tidal flooding in the bays and estuaries along the Jersey Shore impacted by Superstorm Sandy and other major coastal storms. The shorelines of most of the backbays are low elevation, developed with residential and commercial infrastructure, and subject to tidal flooding during storms and exacerbated by historic sea level rise that will only increase the magnitude and frequency of the problem.

The study will evaluate flood reduction measures in the densely populated portions of New Jersey backbays and mainland coastline areas bordering the bays and tidal tributaries, including private residences, commercial businesses, schools, infrastructure, roads, and evacuation routes for coastal emergencies. Potential solutions will involve making the at-risk areas more resilient to eliminate coastal storm damages and will take into account future environmental changes from climate change and sea level rise.

Rahway River Basin - $379,000

The funding will be used to complete a key study needed to determine the most effective flood mitigation design along the Rahway River Basin, which flows through Union, Essex and Middlesex Counties. The surrounding communities have suffered severe, widespread flooding on numerous occasions in recent decades, including during Tropical Storm Floyd in 1999 and Hurricane Irene in 2011, displacing residents and causing millions in property damage.

The federal government has already provided $2,770,600 since the study was first authorized in 1997. After federal funding was abruptly cut off in FY2014, Sen. Menendez led a bipartisan delegation letter, signed by Sen. Booker, to the Army Corps requesting the necessary funding to advance those efforts. The federal government responded in early 2015 with $500,000 in immediate funding included in the Army Corps Work Plan, and an additional $500,000 in the FY2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act that passed later in the year.

In January, Sens. Menendez and Booker sent a letter to the Office of Management and Budget requesting funding for both the Rahway and Green Brook projects be prioritized in the President’s budget.

The Energy and Water Appropriations Bill provides funding for programs at the Army Corps, U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation, and represents a $355 million increase over last year and $261 million above the President’s request.