Rutgers University, Stevens Institute of Technology, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Stockton College, Monmouth University and Montclair State University will examine various regions of the state to devise flood mitigation strategies for communities impacted by flooding from portions of the Hudson River, Hackensack River, Arthur Kill, Barnegat Bay and Delaware Bay.
Incorporating perspectives from local communities and stakeholders, the research projects will examine a range of solutions for communities like Hoboken, Little Ferry and Moonachie in northern New Jersey; to Linden and Woodbridge in central New Jersey; from Brick and Toms River at the Jersey Shore; to Lawrence and Downe in the southern part of the state. It is also anticipated that strategies developed for these regions could be applied to similarly situated communities throughout the State.
Results of the studies are expected to be developed over the next six months and presented to the Department of Environmental Protection, and be made available to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in connection with its comprehensive coastal study.
“This is an important endeavor that will utilize some of the best science and engineering minds in New Jersey to analyze problems and offer potential long-term solutions,” said DEP Commissioner Bob Martin. “We look forward to incorporating the schools into our recovery and rebuilding strategies, particularly as we rebound from Superstorm Sandy and look to build a stronger and more resilient New Jersey for the future.”
The university flood mitigation analyses are part of an overall effort by the Christie Administration to make the state more resilient in the post-Sandy era. The State will incorporate the findings from these studies into its work with the Army Corps on its $20 million comprehensive study of the coastal North Atlantic Region. The state has actively worked on other hazard mitigation initiatives including home elevations, buyouts, demolitions, and beach restoration and protection projects.
Last month, the state launched a $100 million home elevation program in the nine counties hardest hit by Superstorm Sandy, providing eligible applicants up to $30,000 to help finance elevations of single-family homes under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.
Governor Christie in July announced the first buyout offers of Sayreville homes, part of the Administration’s plan to acquire 1,000 homes impacted by Superstorm Sandy and another 300 repetitively flood-damaged homes in the Passaic River Basin through the DEP’s Blue Acres program.
The post-Sandy studies to be done by the colleges and universities will analyze flood-prone areas that were impacted by unexpected tidal surges during Sandy, resulting in severe damage to homes and businesses, but which are not the focus of current or planned future U.S. Army Corps of Engineers flood-impact projects.
“We look forward to working with the Department of Environmental Protection and the other universities involved in this effort to develop comprehensive strategies and meet the challenges our communities face,” said Qizhong (George) Guo, Ph.D., P.E., professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Rutgers University. “We will draw on expertise of our professors, research staff and students to develop solutions designed to make New Jersey more resilient to flooding.
Each participating educational institution will work on the following research initiatives:
* Stevens University: Flood adaptation strategies for the Hudson River Waterfront in Hoboken, Jersey City, Weehawken and Bayonne; storm surge reduction alternatives for Barnegat Bay.
* Rutgers University: Identification, modeling and green practices for developing flood risk reduction strategies through drainage systems along the Hudson River at Hoboken and Jersey City, the Hackensack River at Moonachie and Little Ferry and along Barnegat Bay; strategies for flood risk reductions on the Arthur Kill at Elizabeth, Linden, Rahway and Woodbridge and the Delaware Bay in Salem and Cumberland counties.
* New Jersey Institute of Technology: Modeling potential flood impacts and assess alternatives for hard structures for flood protection on Hackensack River; preparation of ecosystem inventory for natural resources and start of environmental constraints analysis and risk assessment statewide.
* Stockton College: Analysis of potential wetlands enhancement in Barnegat Bay estuary, including the use of dredge material to enhance wetlands for surge protection.
* Monmouth University: Various assistance on Stevens University and Rutgers University Hudson River projects; development of final report in Stockton’s Barnegat Bay project.
* Montclair State University: Technical assistance to Rutgers’ Hudson River project.
The academic studies are being administered by the DEP’s Flood Control Section and Office of Engineering and Construction. Funding for the grant will come from the DEP’s annual flood control appropriations.
New Jersey historically has taken a strong role in the development of rigorous floodplain management at the state level, while also supporting federal efforts with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Army Corps of Engineers.
For a detailed description of the flood mitigation research to be completed in concert with state colleges and universities, please visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/docs/flood/index.html