May 22, 2014 at 4:00 PM
MILLBURN, NJ – Residents will have an opportunity to learn about flood risk management alternatives for the Rahway River Basin at a public information session to be held Thursday, May 29, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Town Hall.
Another session will be held Wednesday, May 28, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Council Chambers, 8 Springfield Ave., Cranford.
The Army Corps of Engineers and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection are currently evaluating several alternatives. Included in the discussion will be preliminary economic analyses that have been completed by the Army Corps regarding flood risk management alternatives that are being reviewed as part of a long-term look at the river basin and potential steps that could be taken to alleviate flood impacts.
At each session, the public will be able to learn more about the ongoing study and the flood risk management alternatives being evaluated and will have the opportunity to discuss them with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and New Jersey DEP personnel. Each public information session will include two open house poster board and information exchange sessions with a formal informational presentation given between each poster board session each evening.
The meeting agendas are:
7 to 7:30 p.m. – Informational poster board session and information exchange
7:30 to 8 p.m. – Formal informational presentation
8 to 9 p.m. – Informational poster board session and information exchange
No single alternative has been selected for construction at this point and the study is ongoing. The meetings are intended to provide the public with more information regarding alternatives, particularly those that preliminarily meet economic requirements to be evaluated further, and to gather feedback from the public regarding those alternatives.
“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in close partnership with our local sponsors the NJDEP, is committed to continuing to evaluate flood risk management alternatives for the Rahway River Basin,” said New York District Commander Col. Paul Owen.
“We look forward to, with our partners at the NJDEP, meeting with the public to gather their input as we move forward in this study effort.” "New Jersey will continue to work closely with the Army Corps as it moves forward in reviewing various aspects of each of these alternatives and works with local communities to determine a best flood risk management option," said DEP Commissioner Bob Martin.
The economic analysis is one of the required forms of narrowing alternatives and is based on comparisons of benefits and costs between different plans that were developed by the Army Corps. The benefit-to-cost ratios are based on estimated benefits, including damages prevented during modeled storm events, and estimated costs, including cost of initial construction and long-term operations and maintenance. This ratio is critical to determining whether a project would be economically justified and be implementable.
At this stage, an alternative must have a benefit-to-cost ratio of approximately 1.0 or higher in order to meet economic requirements to be considered a legally feasible alternative. Alternatives that show the potential for a positive benefit-to-cost ratio include proposals to build a dry detention basin in the South Mountain Reservation, construction of new outlets on the Orange Reservoir in conjunction with channel modifications in Cranford and non-structural modifications to structures within the 10-year floodplain. These alternatives, as well as other alternatives also evaluated, will be discussed at the sessions.
More information about the ongoing study, including detailed descriptions of the alternatives evaluated and preliminary benefit-to-cost ratios for each alternative is available online at www.nan.usace.army.mil/Rahway
Any alternative considered for further study must undergo further analysis before a Tentatively Selected Plan can be chosen. Alternatives selected for further analysis will be evaluated to formally assess potential environmental and cultural resources impacts through further field investigations and following the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) processes, as well optimization to further refine the particulars of each flood risk management element.
Completion of the study is also dependent upon future federal funding.