Menendez Pushes Rahway River Flood Mitigation in Army Corps Meeting

Menendez Pushes Rahway River Flood Mitigation in Army Corps Meeting

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez met yesterday with Colonel David Caldwell, the Army Corps of Engineers’ New York District commander, to press the Army Corps to prioritize and expedite a pending flood mitigation feasibility study along the flood-prone, 82-square-mile Rahway River Basin.

“The mayors of the communities along the Rahway River have worked tirelessly in their efforts to bring a regional approach to find solutions for flood control measures. They have endured flooding events over the years and fear that they are one storm away from another horrific flood. I share in their frustrations and worries,” Sen. Menendez said. “This is my highest priority project for the New York District, and we have worked hard to make sure that the funding is in place for the Army Corps to complete the study.”

The federal government has already provided $2,770,600 since the study was first authorized in 1997, including an additional $379,000 in the President’s FY2017 Budget for the Army Corps of Engineers 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 senator met last month with a group of mayors and other officials representing the communities along the Rahway River that have suffered severe, widespread flooding on numerous occasions in the recent decades, including during Tropical Storm Floyd in 1999 and Hurricane Irene in 2011, displacing residents and causing millions in property damage.

The N.Y. District Army Corps, N.J. Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and the local communities have been working to complete a feasibility study to identify various flood risk management alternatives for communities along the Rahway River Basin with a focus on Cranford and Rahway.

After federal funding was abruptly cut off in FY2014, Sen. Menendez led a bipartisan delegation letter 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.

The Rahway River watershed is one of the Garden State’s oldest urbanized areas, featuring woodlands and wetlands that support over 700 species of plants and animals, some 5,000 acres of county parklands and the source of drinking water for the City of Rahway. It runs through 24 municipalities including Carteret, Clark, Cranford, Edison, Fanwood, Garwood, Kenilworth, Linden, Maplewood, Metuchen, Millburn, Mountainside, Orange, Plainfield, Rahway, Scotch Plains, Springfield, South Orange, Westfield, West Orange, Winfield Park, Woodbridge, Union and Summit.