Stormwater Advisory Board Sets Goal Of Developing 1,000 Rain Gardens

UNION COUNTY — The Rahway River Watershed Stormwater Advisory Board, a newly formed organization of concerned citizens and officials, has set a goal of over 1000 rain gardens be developed over the next two years in the 24 communities in the Rahway River Watershed from Millburn to Woodbridge.

Rain gardens work by collecting excess stormwater from lawns, roofs, driveways and other paved surfaces. Rather than running off to overloaded storm drains, the excess water seeps naturally into the soil.

After Hurricane Irene and Sandy, the board believes that the extreme weather patterns suggest a more significant approach is needed to managing storm water in the Rahway River watershed.

Rain gardens, besides providing beneficial aspects to water quality, will help to increase the time of concentration on a regional basis providing flood waters “time to peak” which will then reduce the depth of water elevation in the river channels and then also reduce the width of over-the bank flows.

Faced with the extreme prospects of a next storm, the advisory board has taken a major step to make this objective of reducing peak flow damage and will be working with private and public partners to encourage homeowners and commercial property owners to act on their own and to get municipal governments and school boards to implement a regional plan.

Meeting for its March meeting in Springfield, the new board has representatives from Essex County to the City of Rahway includes membership from 11 communities. Several community environmental commission members; governing board members and engineers are participating.

The members include: Vaclav Benes (Millburn) , Bob Mc Coy (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 advisors are Lynda Feder (Rahway River Association) Leo Coakley(Hatch Mott engineering).

The board also has on its agenda: an effort to evaluate and consider options to restore more of the flood plain; to come up with best practice storm water management projects where they can be done; and to develop model ordinances and improved planning and zoning board training on storm water management.
The next meeting of the Advisory Board is scheduled for April 11 in Millburn at 7:30 p.m. at the Millburn Municipal Building.

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