Middlesex County and municipalities join Resilient NJ to initiate resiliency plan to reduce flood risk

Posted on April 8, 2021

 

Middlesex County and municipalities join Resilient NJ to initiate resiliency plan to reduce flood risk

The Resilient NJ: Raritan River and Bay Communities initiative seeks

community input to build an equitable and impactful long-term climate adaptation strategy

MIDDLESEX COUNTY – A coalition of local Middlesex County leaders and technical experts today announced the launch of the Resilient NJ: Raritan River and Bay Communities initiative. This joint effort led  by NJDEP in partnership with Middlesex County including the municipalities of Carteret, Old Bridge, Perth Amboy, Sayreville, South Amboy, South River, and Woodbridge —and supported by Arcadis – will identify and implement flood risk reduction strategies for the Raritan River and Bay region to improve long-term environmental and economic resiliency.

To ensure an equitable approach to resiliency, the project team is seeking input, information, and recommendations from local residents regarding their own experiences with flooding and storm events. Specifically, the Resilient NJ: Raritan River and Bay Communities initiative will work to address flooding from coastal storms, high tides, heavy precipitation, and overflowing riverbanks. Community engagement is critical to ensure an impactful outcome.

“We are excited to work with municipal and county leaders in the Resilient NJ regions to identify locally-driven regional solutions to current and future flooding” said New Jersey Chief Resilience Officer Dave Rosenblatt. “Strengthening New Jersey against today’s climate threats is an important part of our long-term approach to climate resilience and we applaud these leaders for their vision and initiative.”

“While the County has strengthened its flood resilience since Hurricane Sandy, the partnering municipalities are still vulnerable to increased flood risk from increasingly intense storm events, sea-level rise, and climate change,” said Middlesex County Commissioner Director Ronald G. Rios. “The announcement today is symbolic of the County’s continued commitment towards future-forward projects that build a strong foundation for our communities to thrive for generations to come. We’re eager to hear from constituents who live and work in the region to participate in this long-term resiliency plan to ensure that it is reflective of their social, economic, and physical priorities.”

Community members interested in sharing their perspectives, recommendations and experiences can contact the team through a variety of channels including:

  • Downloading the project’s app for your smart phone: IRYS
  • Visiting the project’s website at www.resilient.nj.gov/rrbc
  • Engaging on social media at @ResilientRRBC
  • Leaving a voicemail at the multilingual project hotline: 732-661-3808
  • Participating in future virtual public meetings and focus groups. Additional information is available on the project website.

“The Raritan Bay watershed and surrounding bodies of water, including the Arthur Kill here in Carteret are essential for commerce, recreation, and transportation. We must protect the health of these vital waterways and each municipality has a responsibility to promote the important role they play in our everyday lives,” said Mayor Daniel J. Reiman, Borough of Carteret.

“The Old Bridge Township Mayor and Council offer full support to the HUD-sponsored Resilient NJ – Raritan River and Bay Communities initiative administered by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. We fully endorse Resilient NJ’s mission to create a multi-municipal watershed-based plan for flood risk prevention, resiliency, and restoration. Although Old Bridge was fortunate to have minimal impacts during Superstorm Sandy, we recognize that Old Bridge has a responsibility and interest in identifying potential risks associated with flooding and acknowledges the importance of preparing an action plan to effectively address any such future events,” said Mayor Owen Henry, Old Bridge Township.

“Being part of Resilient NJ will identify ways our city can mitigate vulnerabilities that will assure our longevity in climate changes.   I want to thank NJ DEP, Middlesex County Commissioners, and fellow coalition members in this collective effort that will chart the course to advance our preparedness to evolving environmental conditions,” said Mayor Helmin Caba, City of Perth Amboy.

“Sayreville is located along the Raritan River and has a history of regular flooding associated with storm surges. Hurricane Sandy, for example, caused substantial damage to homes and forced the evacuation and rescue of dozens of residents. As a community that has experienced much loss due to flooding, we are pleased to take part in the Resilient NJ: Raritan River and Bay Communities initiative which will help us ensure long-term environmental and economic resiliency for generations to come,” said Mayor Victoria Kilpatrick, Borough of Sayreville.

“As a coastal community South Amboy is well familiar with the detrimental impact of flooding and coastal storms.  This is a very important initiative and I encourage all of our residents to take an active part in support of this project.  Flood resiliency planning is a critical element of our waterfront development projects and will help us to preserve our existing bayfront for generations to come,” said Mayor Fred A. Henry, City of South Amboy.

“South River is excited to share in a partnership with Resilient NJ and Middlesex County in this project to help revitalize the downtown of the borough and continue on with the goal to reduce the flooding problems in the borough,” said Arthur Londensky, South River Borough Administrator.

“As we have experienced in recent years, strong storms are becoming more frequent and intense, and it does not take a full-scale hurricane to cause serious flooding or damage. There are over 3,000 acres of regulatory floodplains within Woodbridge Township and these areas encapsulate both riverine and coastal environments.  While these unique geographic locations provide expansive benefits for ecological resources and passive recreational opportunities, they also present heightened risk during storm events that we must plan for now to best ensure safety in the future. Addressing these flood threats must be taken seriously and mitigation will not be effective, sustainable, or equitable without examining hazards across municipal boundaries.  We look forward to partnering with the Resilient NJ: Raritan River and Bay Communities project as we embark on a collaborative approach to address flood risk and resilience through a regional initiative,” said Mayor John E. McCormac, Woodbridge Township.

“Anyone who lives or works in New Jersey has been, or knows someone who has been, affected by flooding. The people familiar with this area understand its strengths, limitations, and needs and are uniquely capable of helping identify what neighborhoods and streets are most susceptible to flooding. We are eager for input to make sure this plan effectively and impactfully protects these communities,” said Carly Foster, project manager for Arcadis.

The Resilient NJ: Raritan River and Bay Communities project is expected to be completed in May of 2022. The project will be conducted in waves to account for public input at every point in its development.

ABOUT RESILIENT RARITAN RIVER AND BAY

Resilient Raritan River and Bay is a partnership between NJDEP, Middlesex County, Woodbridge, Sayreville, Carteret, South Amboy, South River, Perth Amboy, Old Bridge, and supported by Arcadis.  The partnership aims to provide a clear roadmap for ensuring long-term social, environmental and economic vitality by reducing flood risk. Resilient Raritan River and Bay is a collaboration between local and state government, community organizations, the public and other stakeholders. Additional information about the partnership and project can be found at www.resilient.nj.gov/rrbc.

ABOUT MIDDLESEX COUNTY, NJ

Middlesex County is home to numerous Fortune 500 companies, three universities, 18 park systems, and world-class healthcare and research facilities making it one of the nation’s most dynamic regions and a leader in technology, transportation, the arts, and food innovation. As one of the most diverse populations in the country, Middlesex County is home to over 832,000 residents living throughout 25 municipalities and employing nearly 40,000 people. Ranked #1 in the state for best schools, the County offers an award-winning vocational school system, a county college, and workforce development creating a unique ecosystem in which opportunities abound. Conveniently located between New York and Philadelphia, Middlesex County is a leading destination for businesses and residents alike to live, work, and play – and has been since the 17th century. For more information, visit middlesexcountynj.gov and find us on Facebook and Instagram.

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