Data collected by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the months following Hurricane Irene has shown that the cost of the damage to homes, schools, and municipal property has exceeded $50 million.
The economic loss, including the decrease in some property values has led members of a regional flood control panel to seek financial assistance from federal, state and county governments to help prevent future losses due to storm damage.
When the Mayors Council on Rahway River Watershed Flood Control meets on April 3 at the Union Municipal Building, members will discuss some of the funding that has already been awarded to towns along the Rahway River to help with flood mitigtion efforts.
The Mayors Council is made up of the Mayors of the communities that are in the Rahway River Watershed including Millburn, Union, Springfield, Cranford, Winfield Park, Westfield, Rahway, Garwood and Kenilworth. The organization was founded in October of 2011 after the damages from Irene to develop flood control strategies on a regional basis to mitigate flooding and protect area residents.
The council's April 3 agenda also includes an update on the US Army Corps of Engineers hydrology evaluation of several priority projects to increase the storage of floodwaters including assessment of the Orange Reservoir and the South Mountain reservation. In addition, the mayors will a discuss possible flood mitigation opportunities in the Lenape Park Retention Basin, including changing the spillway. There will also be an evaluation of both Echo Lake Park and Nomehegan Parks and assessment of the bridges along the stretch of the river.
According to former Cranford Mayor Daniel Aschenbach, who helped form the committee and remains involved in the panel, the mayors will also consider recommendations of the engineers of the watershed communities.
"The engineers were hosted last week by Union County Engineer Tom Mineo and covered numerous action items including better river maintenance practices and regulatory relief regarding normal stream maintenance," Aschenbach said. "In addition a resolution will be presented to commit each community to lowering the amount of impervious surfaces by 10 percent by 2014 and a list of flood prone properties will be provided to Union County for open space purchase."