$121M for buyouts of 540 flood-prone properties

TRENTON – State officials said today that 540 properties have been approved for buyouts in flood-prone areas.

The properties, which will cost $121 million in federal grants, are in the Passaic River Basin, according to the Department of Environmental Protection.

DEP made the announcement following a meeting today with mayors and other officials of those affected towns.

 “While there is no silver bullet that can put an end to flooding, the Christie Administration is committed to doing everything in its power to provide relief to people who have had to live for far too long with the cost, stress and anxiety of repeated flooding,” DEP Commissioner Bob Martin said in a release.

“We are continuing to move ahead on the Passaic River Basin Flood Advisory Commission’s 15-point plan to mitigate the impacts of flooding in this highly populated basin.”

Of those 540 residential properties, 125 will be paid for through $5.6 million in DEP Blue Acres funds – 58 properties in Wayne, 46 in Lincoln Park, 20 in Pompton Lakes, and one in Little Falls, according to DEP.

The DEP previously set aside $2 million to provide block grants to municipalities and counties to cover their required non-federal match to buy flood-prone properties. The DEP is working to direct another $8 million for the non-federal match for 174 additional properties that received Federal Emergency Management Agency grant funding under the federal disaster declaration for Hurricane Irene in 2011.

These properties are in Denville, Fairfield, Lincoln Park, Little Falls, Manville, Middlesex, New Milford, Parsippany-Troy Hills, Paterson, Pequannock, Pompton Lakes, and Westwood, DEP reported.
The state and FEMA are working to secure matches from local funding sources for the remaining 241 properties. Those matches will come from a variety of sources, including the Green Acres Program and county and local open space trust programs, DEP said.

Also at Thursday’s meeting, DEP released results of an independent study by engineering consultant AECOM, which determined the operation of the Pompton Lake Dam’s flood gates is not increasing downstream flooding in the central part of the basin.
In February 2011, the Passaic River Basin Flood Advisory Commission  recommended 15 short-term and long-term measures to help mitigate the impacts of flooding in the basin, which covers significant portions of Bergen, Morris and Passaic counties.

In related news:

The New Jersey Office of Emergency Management reported that FEMA has approved grants that will elevate 106 flood-prone properties. More elevation grant approvals are expected under three recent federal disaster declarations.

In acknowledgment of the flooding risks in the Passaic River Basin, Martin said, “The most effective strategy is to move as many people out of harm’s way as we can. We fully expect the pace of offers and acquisitions to pick up in the coming months. All levels of government will continue to work together to help local governments and the residents of flood-prone areas.”

Copy of the report:

 

$121M for buyouts of 540 flood-prone properties