Menendez Tours Army Corps’ Planned Rahway River Flood Mitigation Project

Menendez Tours Army Corps’ Planned Rahway River Flood Mitigation Project


CRANFORD, NJ – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez today toured the Rahway River in Cranford with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Colonel David Caldwell, the New York District commander, to see firsthand their efforts to mitigate the flood threat along the entire 82-square-mile Rahway River Basin.  The senator has continued to fight in Congress to expedite this project and for federal funding needed to complete a required feasibility study.

“Residents along the Rahway River live under the constant threat whenever it rains that the waters could overflow their banks, putting their loved ones in harm’s way, and destroying everything they’ve worked so hard to attain,” said Sen. Menendez.  “Fixing the flood problem along the Rahway River is my highest priority project for the Army Corps’ New York District.  I have worked hard to make sure that the funding is in place to complete the feasibility study, and now seeing the plan with my own eyes, I am hopeful we can move this project forward to protect our communities and families.”

Sen. Menendez and Col. Caldwell discuss the flood mitigation options while standing along the banks of the Rahway River behind the Cranford Canoe Club.

The Army Corps has tentatively determined that the most effective plan of action to mitigate flooding calls for approximately 8,930 feet of trapezoidal channel improvements along the Rahway River from the end of Nomahegan Park to South Ave. in Cranford, and the installation of two, new, 36-inch outlet pipes at the Orange Reservoir in Orange. 

This week, the Senate will vote on the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) that includes an amendment with a provision requested by Sen. Menendez to fast-track completion of the feasibility study and allow the project to proceed directly into preconstruction planning, engineering and design phases.  This will help to continue moving the project forward until the next authorization bill in 2018, where it can be fully authorized for construction.

 

Army Corps staff explain their plans to mitigate flooding along the Rahway River.

The federal government has already provided $3,280,000 since the feasibility study was first authorized in 1997, including an additional $379,000, approved by the Senate in May as part of the Water Development and Related Agencies Act appropriations bill, to complete the study to determine the most effective flood mitigation design along the Rahway River Basin, which flows through Union, Essex and Middlesex Counties. 

Sen. Menendez met with Col. Caldwell in March to press the Army Corps to prioritize and expedite the feasibility study.  The senator met in February 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, the April 2007 Nor-easter and Hurricane Irene in 2011, displacing residents and causing millions in property damage.

Sen. Menendez is stopped by a Cranford resident whose home had been flooded by the Rahway River three times.

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.

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