Friday, July 18, 2014

South Mountain Reservation Dam Project Cancelled

An 810 foot dam will not be constructed in the South Mountain Reservation.

The group 'Save our Reservation' posted the following on their Facebook page:

"The NJ Department of Environmental Protection informed the Army Corps of Engineers to remove the proposed South Mountain dam as an option for further study! Yes, that's right - it's over! But, of course, we said that once before when the Union/Essex Mayors' Council voted unanimously for the same result, after the Corps said that it would be looking to the local Mayors for a decision - and then announced that it would be looking to the DEP for the decision. However, THIS time the Corps was very clear about the fact that it would be bound by the DEP decision - its "local source" partner in the entire flood mitigation study. And what the Corps got today was a letter on State stationery, bearing the names of Governor Christie and DEP Commissioner Bob Martin on the letterhead. So, we're pretty confident this time. What the DEP did recommend was further study of Option 4 (work on the Orange Reservoir dam + channel improvements downstream) and Option 7a (flood-proofing structures in Cranford). We are particularly optimistic about the efficacy, cost, and fairness of Option 4, and have promised downriver folks that we will stay involved in this matter to help relieve them of ruinous flooding. More about that later. Part of the problem is funding - what else? But for now - celebrate! Our cherished South Mountain river valley has been saved! No need to write any more emails for now. And thanks for ALL of your support! The power of the people, coupled with social media, is really something, isn't it? Remember, Save Our Reservation came into being on February 22. We haven't moved mountains since then, but we apparently have moved a dam out of the way!"

The group 'RAFSA' posted the following on the South Mountain Conservancy website:

"Today, in response to public meetings and comments and a DEP review, John Moyle, Manager of the NJ Bureau Dam Safety and Flood Control, directed the US Army Corps of Engineers to no longer consider the dam-detention basin in the SMR for Rahway River Basin flood abatement. Instead, the NJ DEP recommended that more economically feasible and less environmentally destructive flood abatement options be pursued. The 810-foot dam and 80-acre detention basin at the heart of the Reservation is off the table. To all those who worked to oppose this misdirected flood abatement option, we thank you, especially the organizing by Save Our Reservation under the direction of former Maplewood Mayor Fred Profeta. SMC, SOR and RAFSA (Rahway Alternative Flood Solutions Alliance) hope to work with the corps and Mayor’s Council to ensure that further study is funded so optimal solutions can be implemented to reduce flooding in Millburn, Cranford, and other towns."

This article will be updated.

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