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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 22, 2006

Contact: Darlene Yuhas (609) 984-1795
Elaine Makatura (609) 292-2994

DELAWARE RIVER FLOOD TASK FORCE REPORT

(06/09) TRENTON - Department of Environmental Protection Acting Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson today encouraged New Jersey residents to review a newly released draft report that outlines measures for averting the devastating effects of major flooding in communities along the Delaware River.

Produced by the New Jersey Flood Mitigation Task Force, the draft report on Delaware River flood mitigation is available on the DEP's Web site. Interested parties can comment on the draft report now through March 15. The final report will be sent to Governor Jon S. Corzine this spring.

"We won't forget the losses so many New Jersey families suffered during the storms last spring. The flood task force members have made significant strides toward identifying a comprehensive list of actions to reduce the impacts of flooding in the future," Acting Commissioner Jackson said.

"With spring rains in the offing and a heightened potential for runoff, we are moving ahead on several key task force recommendations, rather than risk losing opportunities to help protect lives and property while we await a final report," she said.

In its draft report, the task force calls for reforms to flood response, flood-plain management and land-use regulations. Its recommendations include:

  • Strengthening protection of flood plains and homes through tougher regulations for building in a flood plain, improving flood mapping and ensuring compliance with building codes for construction in the flood plain.
  • Pursuing both structural and non-structural flood control measures including property buyouts and effective watershed management plans.
  • Establishing a robust hazard mitigation plan to ensure necessary planning and additional resources for reducing flood risk.
  • Providing public outreach and education programs that give homeowners focused assistance before and after flooding.

The DEP already is taking action on several key flooding-mitigation initiatives including:

  • Establishing funding for developing state-of-the-art flood plain mapping and studying the feasibility of implementing flood-control measures in the watershed.
  • Coordinating with the Department of Community Affairs to address flood-plain building code issues.
  • Working with the Delaware River Basin Commission and the National Weather Service to achieve better watershed reservoir management practices and address snowmelt issues.
  • Assisting the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management in coordinating efforts with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the DEP's Green Acres Program on property buyouts along the Delaware.
  • Establishing procedures to assist communities in developing disaster mitigation plans.

Last spring, following a major rainstorm at the end of March and another during the first days of April, the Delaware River overflowed its banks, flooding some 3,500 homes and forcing the evacuation of more than 5,500 people. In response, the Flood Mitigation Task Force was formed to study and implement measures to reduce future impacts of flooding in New Jersey communities.

The task force held four public meetings in Warren, Hunterdon, and Mercer counties to hear residents' concerns.

After the public-comment period ends on March 15, the task force will hold another public meeting, a date for which has not yet been set.

To review the report, visit www.nj.gov/dep/njflood/.

 

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Last Updated: February 22, 2006