Passaic River Basin towns receive grant to help combat flooding

TRENTON – The Department of Environmental Protection on Wednesday said it has awarded a $350,000 grant to four towns in Morris and Passaic counties for efforts to prevent future flooding.

DEP issued the grant for the Passaic River Basin in an effort to improve water flow as well.

Pequannock, Pompton Lakes, Riverdale and Wayne were awarded the grant for clearing work to be done on the Pequannock and Ramapo rivers. The towns will jointly contract for flow improvements.

The DEP already has awarded permits for these efforts, while the towns are preparing the scope of the work and contract documents in anticipation of going out to bid on Dec. 1, Commissioner Bob Martin said.

“There is no silver bullet that can stop flooding in this river basin,” he said in a release. “But this contract is a positive step forward to help minimize the impact of flooding that has disrupted the lives of so many residents in this region.”

Work to be done under this $350,000 contract includes the removal of fallen trees and sediment shoals from the water, which may provide reductions in floodwater elevations by improving river and stream flow, DEP stated.

The Pequannock and Ramapo rivers flow into the Pompton River, which is a tributary of the Passaic River. In some areas, the flows of the Pequannock and Ramapo are blocked by dead trees, brush, and natural growth, plus sediment deposits that have formed near bridges or abutments, requiring cleaning or removal to allow the rivers to flow freely, DEP said.

Gov. Christie’s Passaic River Flood Advisory Commission earlier this year unveiled a plan to mitigate the impact of floods in Morris, Passaic and Bergen counties. It targeted long- and short-term steps to reduce flooding, minimize the impacts of floods, better prepare for periodic flooding and improve efforts to help flood victims, who have been particularly hard hit this year.

The measures include efforts to buy flood-prone properties, elevate homes in flood areas, improve the operation of the Pompton Lake floodgates, increase river de-snagging and shoal dredging efforts, create larger flood water storage areas, steer future development away from flood zones, create better water flow in Passaic Basin rivers, and direct the DEP to expedite permits for county and municipal projects aimed at eliminating or reducing flooding.

The Passaic River watershed is about 935 square miles, with 84 percent located in New Jersey and the remainder in New York State. The Passaic River has seven major tributaries: the Whippany, Rockaway, Pompton, Pequannock, Wanaque, Ramapo, and Saddle rivers, all of which have periodic flooding problems.

The Commission’s complete plan, with a detailed accounting of the recommendations, can be viewed at:

  Passaic River Basin towns receive grant to help combat flooding