Union County Commissioners Welcome Restart of Rahway River Flood Control Study – Union County, New Jersey

Rahway River Flood Study Area (credit: USACE).

Union County, NJ – February 18, 2022 – Flood control along the River Rahway has been a focus of the efforts of the Union County Board of Commissioners, local mayors and other community stakeholders for many years, and a solution is finally in sight. Federal funding has been restored to complete a feasibility study of the upper Rahway River Basin. It will serve as a model for future flood control programs.

“The feasibility study is key to solving flood control problems with long-term solutions that protect our communities,” said Commissioner President Rebecca Williams. “We thank the Rahway River Mayors Council and our partners in Essex and Middlesex Counties for working together on this effort, and we thank Senator Bob Menendez, Senator Cory Booker and Congressman Tom Malinowski for working so persistently and diligence in restoring federal funding for the study. .”

“The feasibility study is a complex undertaking that would be impossible to accomplish with state and local resources alone, so restoring this assistance from federal sources is a critical achievement. The Board of Commissioners looks forward to working with the Council of Mayors and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to move this project forward as quickly as possible,” said Commissioner Bette Jane Kowalski, who serves as the Council of Commissioners liaison to the Council. mayors.

“As climate control continues to wreak havoc on our state with high winds and major flooding, this funding couldn’t come at a better time. I was proud to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to secure this funding for critical Army Corps projects across New Jersey and the country. I look forward to the progress of this project which will help protect families and communities along the Rahway River Basin,” said Senator Menendez.

“It has never been a question of whether communities along the River Rahway will be flooded again, but when and how badly it will be. Last year, Hurricane Ida provided another tragic example. Despite decades of study, my constituents in Union County are still waiting for a solution, which is why I drafted legislation to bring the Army Corps of Engineers back to the table to design and build an acceptable project. I am happy to see these efforts resume and will continue to fight to ensure these communities have the resources they need to protect their families and businesses,” said Senator Booker.

“As a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I worked hard to undo the Corps study shutdown, to increase funding for it, and to secure explicit commitments from management. of the Corps to work in conjunction with our local leaders to do so,” said Rep. Malinowski. “I will continue to stand up for homeowners and business owners near the River Rahway who live under the near constant threat of flooding and who deserve peace of mind.”

The 82 square mile Rahway River Basin covers much of Union County as well as parts of Essex and Middlesex counties including Clark, Cranford, Fanwood, Garwood, Kenilworth, Linden , Mountainside, Plainfield, Rahway, Scotch Plains, Springfield, Westfield, Winfield Park, Union Township and Summit.

Flood control has been a concern of Rahway River communities for generations. The list of the most devastating storms on record includes a series of four storms between 1968 and 1975, and four more in the 1990s. Notable storms in the past 15 years occurred in 2007 (an April Nor’easter ), 2011 (Hurricane Irene), 2012 (Hurricane Sandy) and Hurricane Ida, the remnants of which caused severe flooding in eight towns on the Rahway River last September.

Longstanding efforts to establish a regional flood control system began to coalesce after Hurricane Floyd hit in 1999, when the River Rahway towns of Cranford, Millburn, Springfield, Maplewood, Union, Garwood, Kenilworth and Rahway formed the Council of Mayors to collaborate on solutions. Progress began to accelerate in 2015, after Senators Menendez and Booker, and Rep. Donald Payne, Jr., secured federal funding totaling $1 million for a feasibility study to assess risks and alternatives, which will be administered by the US military. Corps of Engineers.

The Army Corps of Engineers produced 17 flood control options in the early years of the study, but further work was unilaterally halted in 2019 under the previous federal administration. The new funding jump-starts the project, reflecting the prioritization of infrastructure and resilience under the Biden administration with bipartisan support from members of Congress.

The feasibility project is part of a new $966 million allocation of federal funding for various Army Corps of Engineers projects in New Jersey, made available through the passage of the Bipartisan Investment Act. in infrastructure and the Disaster Relief Supplementary Appropriation Act last year. An allocation of $1.54 million will enable the study to be completed.

For information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including free vaccination, free testing, emergency food distribution, and other emergency services. support, visit ucnj.org/covid19. General information about COVID-19 is available from the New Jersey Department of Health at nj.gov/health.

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For all Union County programs and services, visit ucnj.org, call the public information line at 877-424-1234, email [email protected], or use the online contact form .

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