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Sherrill Convenes Meeting With Army Corps and Local Officials to Address New Jersey Flooding

October 10, 2019 by Dan McCue
Rep. Mikie Sherrill and Colonel Thomas Asbery of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Two Bridges in Wayne, New Jersey.

WASHINGTON – Rep. Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J., convened a meeting last week with officials of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection and several local mayors to address the issue of repeat and intensifying flooding in her district.

Flooding has been a documented issue in Northern New Jersey, which encompasses Sherrill’s 11th Congressional District, since the mid-1700s.

According to both climatologists and geologists, the main reason for this is a glacier that advanced through the area 25,000 years ago and receded leaving a giant lake that eventually evolved into the Passaic River Basin.

Today, the Passaic River itself and a score of tributaries flow through the tub-shaped basin, causing it to be prone to serious flooding in heavy rains. While the situation may have been an inconvenience for early colonists, it’s been a huge problem for the suburban residents of modern day Passaic, Essex and Morris counties in New Jersey.

“With ongoing flooding issues in our communities, it was important to bring together the Army Corps of Engineers, the NJDEP, and local mayors who represent towns along the Peckman and Passaic Rivers,” Rep. Sherrill said.

“We need to address local flooding and major weather events, and our towns can’t tackle that alone. I will continue to work with our mayors on this issue because the problem of flooding is not going away,” she said.

Catherine McCabe, a commissioner with the state Department of Environmental Protection, said Sherrill’s leadership on the issue is much appreciated.

“Especially in the face of continued impacts from climate change, we understand the impact to life and property that chronic flooding causes for the residents of Passaic, Essex, and Morris counties,” McCabe  said. “The DEP looks forward to continuing its work with all of our local and federal partners to explore ways to address these challenges as we endeavor to make New Jersey stronger and more resilient.”

“I am very happy that the Congresswoman convened this meeting,” said Wayne Township Mayor Christopher Vergano. “Any time we can have a discussion that moves the conversation on flooding forward is progress.”

This is the second in a series of flood infrastructure meetings Sherrill has convened since taking office. In February, she held a mayors’ roundtable to learn more about the innovative ways local leaders are tackling flood mitigation and the roadblocks they face.

Colonel Thomas Asbery of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the meetings have been beneficial, enabling local leaders to engage “on the challenges the basin faces” and furthering efforts to address the situation.

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