Public Meetings This Month on Army Corps’ Back-Bay Flooding Study

Sep 05, 2018

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in partnership with the the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection, will host public meetings on its New Jersey Back Bays Flood Risk Management study Sept. 12 in Ventnor City and Sept. 13 at Ocean County College in Toms River. The general public is invited to learn more about the comprehensive flood risk mitigation review of the state’s back-bay areas, and to interact with project team members.

“We encourage residents, municipal and county officials, and all stakeholders, to attend these meetings, which will provide the public with opportunities to learn about and provide comments on strategies to protect coastal areas vulnerable to flooding from back bays and other waterways,” said DEP Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe. “The DEP and the Army Corps of Engineers are committed to ongoing public dialogue on this important study, recognizing that there is no one-size-fits-all strategy for protecting these vulnerable areas.”

The two entities are “nearing completion of extensive construction of a statewide system of ocean beaches and dunes to meet federal protection standards,” a DEP news release pointed out. “The objective of the Army Corps’ New Jersey Back Bays Coastal Storm Risk Management Study is to develop strategies to protect coastal communities against flooding from bays, rivers, creeks, lagoons, coastal lakes and other tidal shorelines.”

The study area encompasses 950 square miles and nearly 3,400 miles of waterways in Atlantic, Burlington, Cape May, Monmouth and Ocean counties.

“The objective of the study,” the USACE pointed out, “is to investigate problems and solutions to reduce damages from coastal flooding that affects population, critical infrastructure, critical facilities, property and ecosystems.”

According to USACE Public Affairs Officer Steve Rochette, “Some of the measures that will be discussed at the public meetings include structural solutions such as storm surge barriers, tide gates, levees and floodwalls; non-structural solutions such as elevating homes; and nature-based features such as marsh restoration and the creation of living shorelines.”

The study, which is cost-shared by the state and the federal government, was developed out of the Army Corps’ North Atlantic Coast Comprehensive Study, undertaken after Superstorm Sandy in October 2012.

Once the study is completed, the Corps will issue a decision document with a recommended plan. After the plan is approved by Congress, design and construction will occur as funding is made available.

Meeting details are as follows: 6 to 8 p.m. on Sept. 12 at the Ventnor Educational Community Complex at 400 North Lafayette Ave. in Ventnor City, and 6 to 8 p.m. on Sept. 13 in Ocean County College’s Gateway Building, on College Drive in Toms River.

The public may also submit comments by email to PDPA-NAP@usace.army.mil or in writing to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Planning Division, 100 Penn Square East, Philadelphia, Pa. 19107.

For more information on the DEP’s Engineering and Construction program, visit nj.gov/dep/ec.

Juliet Kaszas-Hoch

juliet@thesandpaper.net

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