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N.J. Pushes Bistate Flood Commission

New Jersey legislators and mayors urge New York to pass legislation creating a bistate flood commission to coordinate management and flood prevention of waterways that flow between Rockland and Bergen counties.

Governor Chris Christie signed legislation in January creating an 18-member Rockland-Bergen Bistate River Commission made up of officials and residents of both states to coordinate the management and flood prevention of waterways that flow between Bergen County, NJ and Rockland County, NY. However, New York legistators seem to be dragging their feet. 

Senator Robert Gordon and Assemblymembers Connie Wagner and Tim Eustace, along with members of the Bergen County delegation and mayors, have signed a letter addressed to the New York State Senate urging them to pass legislation that has already been enacted by New Jersey in order to create a Rockland-Bergen Bistate flood commission. 

Citing the devastating effects of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee on the residents of New York and New Jersey and on the budgets of municipal governments, the legislators want to cross the border and join forces to work together to achieve "better outcomes during future weather events." 

From Lake DeForest in West Nyack, the Hackensack River feeds into three reservoirs — Lake Tappan in Rockland County, and Woodcliff Lake and Oradell in Bergen County. Because these three reservoirs are capable of holding much less water than Lake DeForest, releasing water upstream can cause severe flooding downstream.

According to the legislation, the commission will focus on the Hackensack River, Sparkill Creek, Saddle River and the Ramapo River and their tributaries that cross the interstate border to come up with a "comprehensive bistate approach" to identify and remediate potential flood hazards that have devastated communities along those waterways.  

The commission will be charged with "assessing projected development and land use" and the potential impact on the waterways; coordinate environmental cleanup; and coordinate with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the New York Department of Environmental Conservation their watershed management programs.

AML July 13, 2012 at 02:03 AM
Which governing body will have the authority to select members of the public for this bistate flood commission? How does one apply?
Ann Piccirillo July 13, 2012 at 04:05 AM
Here's the language of the bill: The commission shall include 10 members of the public with a background or experience in the protection, preservation, maintenance, management, or enhancement of rivers or the natural, scenic, or recreational resources associated therewith, who are resident voters of the County of Bergen in New Jersey or the County of Rockland in New York, of whom one shall be appointed by the Governor of the State of New Jersey, one shall be appointed by the Governor of the State of New York, one shall be appointed by the President of the Senate of the State of New Jersey, one shall be appointed by the Minority Leader of the Senate of the State of New Jersey, one shall be appointed by the Speaker of the General Assembly of the State of New Jersey, one shall be appointed by the Minority Leader of the General Assembly of the State of New Jersey, one shall be appointed by the Majority Leader of the Senate of the State of New York, one shall be appointed by the Minority Leader of the Senate of the State of New York, one shall be appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly of the State of New York and one shall be appointed by the Minority Leader of the Assembly of the State of New York. For entire bill see: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2008/Bills/A4000/3865_I1.HTM
Lori Barton July 18, 2012 at 11:34 AM
So overflow from Lake DeForest ends up in the Hackensack River, which ends up in the 3 reservoirs. But ALL of the overflow makes its way to the Oradell Reservoir because that's where the overflow from Lake Tappan and Woodcliff Lake reservoirs ends up. And where does the overflow from the Oradell Reservoir go? It goes into the homes and businesses in New Milford! And the more development that occurs, the more New Milford is victimized. ALL of New Milford pays, not just the people in the flood path. We all pay with higher taxes due to flood costs. This is a town wide problem. WE NEED TO STOP OVERDEVELOPMENT NOW! SOD!

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