UNION, NJ - The Mayors Council Rahway River Watershed Flood Control is making a direct appeal to citizens to write letters to state and federal legislators to finalize the Rahway River Flood Mitigation Study in early 2016 so construction funding for the entire project can get into position and get US Congress support.
The Mayors Council met recently in Rahway City Hall and discussed also making the Orange Reservoir and Clark Reservoir modification projects as the priority projects to be funded in 2016. Both of these projects would modify the outlets to the reservoirs to permit more storage capacity prior to a major storm. In each case the benefits are clear providing lower water elevations downstream while not impacting up stream bank protection.
Also announced at the meeting was that the seven communities' governing boards (Millburn; Maplewood; Union; Springfield; Cranford; Kenilworth; and Rahway) have again agreed again to enter an inter local agreement to work towards flood control objective in 2016. The City of Orange has also indicated its support.
The Mayor discussed the construction funding campaign for funding the four phase Rahway River flood mitigation plan. Earlier in 2015, the Mayors were successful with US Congress representatives support to get the funding needed to complete the feasibility study of the flood mitigation plan including $2.0 million of state and federal funding to complete the study. The current plan includes modification of the Orange Reservoir to store more storm water during major storm by draining the reservoir a day or so before; increased storage at the Lenape Basin including new dikes; channelization work in Cranford to add river capacity; and modification at the Clark reservoir and channelization work in Rahway's part of the Robinson's Branch of river.
The US Army Corps of Engineers and NJ Department of Environmental Protection has been working at evaluating the hydrology; environmental impacts and optimal benefits of the federal project which would fund 90% of cost between federal and state government. A major milestone in the project is what is referred to as the TSP milestone which is the major decision point on recommendation of the project to the US Congress and is scheduled for March 2016. The work thus far has indicated the projects would meet federal standards and be eligible to be funded.
The Mayors Council has been urging acceleration of the process to start construction funding and implementation since much is already known about the project's feasibility and benefits.
The Mayors Council action plan in 2016 includes:
*January visit with Senator Corey Booker; Senator Robert Menendez; Congressman Payne and Congressman Leonard Lance urging timely funding
*Resolutions by each of the affected communities be sent to the US Congress and New Jersey State Legislature to expedite both the TSP and Chief's Report
*Consideration of an MOU or P3 or P4 financing for the Orange Reservoir modification since that is first project that has to be done.