Advisory Board To Advocate For Changes To Improve Rahway River Flooding Problems

CRANFORD — With continued concerns about the flooding in the Rahway River watershed, a new regional advisory board has been formed to advise communities and advocate for changes to ordinances and implementation of best storm water management practices including to protect water quality and as important an objective to reduce the quantity of uncontrolled run off.

Meeting for the first time in Cranford, the new board has representatives from ten communities in Essex and Union counties. Several community environmental commission members, governing board members and engineers are participating.

The members include: Vaclav Benes (Millburn), Bob McCoy (Maplewood), Jim Housten (Rahway), Eric Benson (Essex County), Alyson Miller (Springfield), Hortense Dias (Springfield), Carol Berns (Cranford), Ed OMalley (Cranford), David Schwartzberg (Fanwood), Frank Klapinski (Cranford), Jennifer Duckworth (Millburn and Essex County), Kaitalin Gordon (Orange) and John Hrebin (Cranford). The board of advisors are Lynda Feder (Rahway River Association) Leo Coakley(Hatch Mott Engineering).

Schwartzberg, who is also a member of the Rahway River Association, said “The board will be developing plans to implement and to communicate through the individual communities and the Mayors Council Rahway River Watershed Flood Control, storm water management education and proposed policy changes that could make a difference in the region.”

O’Malley, Cranford’s deputy mayor, said ” Irene changed things and we have to look at this issue in a more aggressive and serious light. The damages from Irene were significant.”

Coakley said” The regional approach will help to ensure all residents in the region understand that there are approaches that can make a difference”

The board decided on three 2013 major priorities including: a plan to restore the flood plain in the watershed; development of best storm water management practices putting them where you can; and an improved communication/education/and ordinance proposals to make a difference.

The next meeting of the board is scheduled for March 7 in Springfield.

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