PASSAIC RIVER FLOOD COMMISSION HOLDS FIRST MEETING
(10/P46) TRENTON -The Passaic River Flood Advisory Commission will hold its first meeting Wednesday, in a public session at Montclair State University, with a goal of finding solutions to chronic flood problems that have long-plagued the river basin in Morris, Passaic and Bergen counties.
Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin will chair the seven-member panel, including local officials and scientists, who will delve into the myriad of issues that cause the flooding, with a final report expected by the end of the year.
“It is imperative to start the work to find solutions to this problem,’’ said Commissioner Martin. “The continuing scenario of flooding that has buffeted the river basin, prompting repeated evacuation of homes and business, and causing extensive property damage, is not acceptable.’’
“The people who live in this area deserve relief from anxiety, worry and the cost of repeatedly cleaning up after floods.”
The commission’s launch meeting will be open to the public, with two subsequent special public hearings to be scheduled tentatively in July and August. The department has created a Web page, www.nj.gov/dep/passaicriver, to provide basic information about the commission and its activities.
Gov. Chris Christie in April signed an executive order forming the commission in the aftermath of severe flooding during multiple March storms. The commission is expected to identify short-term and long-term recommendations to improve flood mitigation efforts, emergency response planning and post-flood recovery response efforts.
In addition to Commissioner Martin, the flood panel includes Assemblyman Scott Rumana; Robert Steven Prezant, Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics at Montclair State University; John Miller, a professional engineer and certified floodplain manager from Lambertville; Pompton Lakes Mayor Kathleen Cole, Little Falls Mayor Mike Defrancisci, and New Jersey State Police Superintendent Rick Fuentes.
Among many duties, the commission will look at expanding and expediting purchases of properties in the floodway; identify areas the state could acquire for possible flood water storage and wetlands creation; reinvigorate the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ study and analyses of potential engineering projects for long-term flood damage reduction; evaluate river characteristics to better predict and respond to floods; review the status and effectiveness of county and local emergency response plans; and investigate the operations of the Pompton Lake flood gates for potential impacts on downstream communities.
The executive order directs the commission to submit to the Governor a final Passaic Basin flood mitigation report with recommendations by Dec. 31.
Wednesday’s inaugural commission meeting will be held at Montclair State University lecture hall number 1070. Links for directions, a campus map and parking in the Red Hawk Deck are below. The university will provide free parking for visitors to the campus.
Campus Map: http://www.montclair.edu/campusmap/