WOODLAND PARK/LITTLE FALLS, NJ - The Peckman River received some much needed debris clearing this week, thanks to a track hoe's on site visit off the McBride Avenue Bridge.

According to Dorothy O'Haire, secretary to the Passaic Valley Regional Flood Board, the clean-out is part of the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission's (PVSC) river restoration group. Thomas Tucci, manager for Cedar Grove, spearheaded the project. Tucci is also chairman of the PVSC. 

"It's mandated for the commission to do this remedial work on the Passaic River and their tributaries. The Peckman River is a tributary of the Passaic River and so they are allow to do certain things, such as desnagging, as they did this past week," O'Haire explained, adding that track hoe will be in different sections of the river tributaries over the next few weeks to work on clearing out debris.

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Assessing the on site visit on Thursday, Jan. 5 was Woodland Park Mayor Keith Kazmark, Little Falls  Mayor James Damiano and Thomas Minnella, Woodland Park mayoral secretary and former regional flood board president. Kazmark said the initiative is an ongoing project by the sewerage commission. 

"They're going to be cleaning out the banks along the Peckman River in both Little Falls and Woodland Park," Kamzark said. "This is another effort that was coordinated through the Passaic Valley Regional Flood Board. Tom Tucci, manager in Cedar Grove, is also on the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission so he reached out to us to help coordinate this effort. Basically what they're doing is just clearing any blockages along the Peckman River, including any bank work that needs to be done."

The track hoe was in the process of removing a fence hanging into the river bank that needed to be pulled out, among other items and objects in the river, during the visit made by local officials.

"The commission has been a tremendous partner in trying to keep these river areas clear of any debris or anything that can cause blockages in high water so," Kazmark said. "We're continuing to partner with them and we're thankful for their efforts."

Damiano also commended the regional flood, will works to address flooding issues in Woodland Park, Little Falls and Cedar Grove, and the commission, for working tirelessly in conjunction to help alleviate flooding.

"This is just a great opportunity for one more partnership between the local municipalities and the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission to join an effort here, not only to clean up not only Woodland Park, but also Little Falls, which will hopefully alleviate flooding for all of our towns here," Damiano said. "It's something that we all need to really focus on and make sure that we can do for the residents of our town."

Damiano added that flood control is a priority for his administration.

"We have a shovel in the ground right now, and we're doing it," he noted. "Without a doubt, it's really through the efforts of the regional flood board, encompassing the three towns, that are making these things happen, along with the commission, and getting it all done so efficiently."