CRANFORD - The Rahway River Mayors Council announced the State of New Jersey's agreement to continue its work with the US Army Corps of Engineers to finalize a plan for upstream Rahway River storage to mitigate flooding in Millburn to Rahway. Additionally, the Congress in the 2019 fiscal year budget has included strong policy provisions that require the US Army Corps of Engineers to keep making a solution a national priority.
The complicated flood control study that has to take into consideration economic and environmental factors has already looked at ten alternatives, and a consensus plan was reached that had a positive cost benefit ratio and met environmental approvals. The plan met some resistance on forecast informed water release, which has required a further review of the project.
The plan would permit storage and/or release of storm water prior to a major storm lowering the elevation of the river from Millburn to Rahway.
The Mayors Council will be meeting in early October to discuss an appeal on the water release question, review of other storage alternatives, and to urge acceleration of schedule to get to implementation.
Mayor Hannen said, “We in Cranford are implementing what we can locally while the federal state project gets finally approved.”
Senator Bob Menendez, Senator Cory Booker, Congressman Lance, and Congressman Payne have been instrumental in getting the flood plan this far. For example, Senator Menendez got the US Army Corps recently to bring in experts from the New England US Army Corps District to find a storage solution. Congressman Lance was able to get language inserted in the next appropriations legislation to make the project a priority.
The Mayors Council has also begun to reach out to Essex and Union County, as well as area legislators to help hasten the approval process. Union County Freeholder Bruce Bergen, who has been a strong supporter of getting the plan in place said, ”It's time to move forward and implement a plan to mitigate the flooding and build further resilience for the future."
The Mayors Council is represented by Tom Hannen, Mayor of Cranford; Millburn Mayor Cheryl Burnstein, Springfield Mayor Richard Huber, Rahway Mayor Raymond Giacobbe. Union Mayor Suzette Cavadas, Kenilworth Mayor Anthony DeLuca , and Maplewood Mayor Victor DeLuca.