Friday, September 13, 2013

State researchers to help NJ prepare for future floods

Faculty members at New Jersey colleges and universities have been awarded a total of $1.3 million to conduct research studies designed to help protect the state against flooding from future superstorms like Hurricane Sandy.

The Department of Environmental Protection yesterday announced it had approved 10 projects to be undertaken at include Rutgers University, Stevens Institute of Technology, Richard Stockton College of New Jersey and the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Researchers will collaborate on flood mitigation strategies for communities along portions of the Hudson River, Hackensack River, Arthur Kill, Barnegat Bay and Delaware Bay.

“Incorporating perspectives from local communities and stakeholders, the research projects will examine a range of solutions for communities like Hoboken, Little Ferry and Moonachie in northern New Jersey; to Linden and Woodbridge in central New Jersey; from Brick and Toms River at the Jersey Shore; to Lawrence and Downe in the southern part of the state,” the DEP said in a news release.

“It is also anticipated that strategies developed for these regions could be applied to similarly situated communities throughout the State.”

The post-Sandy studies will analyze flood-prone areas that were impacted by unexpected tidal surges during Sandy, resulting in severe damage to homes and businesses, but which are not the focus of current or planned future U.S. Army Corps of Engineers flood-impact projects.

The DEP expects the studies to be developed over the next six months. The results will be shared with  U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

"These (research projects) are the kinds of things some people have been critical of us not doing, and we think using the universities and tapping into their talent will give us quite a leg up on moving forward on this," DEP spokesman Larry Ragonese told the Atlantic City Press.

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Last month, the state launched a $100 million home elevation program in the nine counties hardest hit by Superstorm Sandy, providing eligible applicants up to $30,000 to help finance the elevations of single-family homes under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.

In July, Gov. Chris Christie announced the first buyout offers of Sayreville homes, part of the Administration's plan to acquire 1,000 homes impacted by Superstorm Sandy and another 300 repetitively flood-damaged homes in the Passaic River Basin through the DEP's Blue Acres program.

Here’s a summary of the research projects

Stevens University: Flood adaptation strategies for the Hudson River Waterfront in Hoboken, Jersey City, Weehawken and Bayonne; storm surge reduction alternatives for Barnegat Bay.

Rutgers University: Identification, modeling and green practices for developing flood risk reduction strategies through drainage systems along the Hudson River at Hoboken and Jersey City, the Hackensack River at Moonachie and Little Ferry and along Barnegat Bay; strategies for flood risk reductions on the Arthur Kill at Elizabeth, Linden, Rahway and Woodbridge and the Delaware Bay in Salem and Cumberland counties.

New Jersey Institute of Technology: Modeling potential flood impacts and assess alternatives for hard structures for flood protection on Hackensack River; preparation of ecosystem inventory for natural resources and start of environmental constraints analysis and risk assessment statewide.

Stockton College: Analysis of potential wetlands enhancement in Barnegat Bay estuary, including the use of dredge material to enhance wetlands for surge protection.

Monmouth University: Various assistance on Stevens University and Rutgers University Hudson River projects; development of final report in Stockton's Barnegat Bay project.

DEP's Flood Control Section and Office of Engineering and Construction are administering the projects. Funding will come from the DEP's annual flood control appropriations.

Click here for a detailed description of the flood mitigation research

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