Army Corps Will Evaluate Mamaroneck Flood Prevention

MAMARONECK, New York, July 6, 2008 (ENS) – A new federal, state and local initiative is underway to develop a plan of action to reduce the storm damage on the Mamaroneck and Sheldrake rivers, especially in the Village of Mamaroneck, Westchester County.

The floods of April 2007 were devastating in Mamaroneck, a suburb that fronts onto Long Island Sound.

Westchester County as a whole has experienced a greater number of storms and many of these with greater overall intensity in the recent past. There has been an approximate 10 percent rise in flows over the past 20 years, state and local officials report.

The increased number and intensity of storms, combined with historic patterns of development that have encroached natural floodways, with more flooding and damage throughout Westchester County.

Congresswoman Nita Lowey of New York; Commissioner Pete Grannis of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; Westchester County Executive Andy Spano; State Senator Suzi Oppenheimer; and Assemblyman George Latimer gathered on June 20 to announce that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will conduct an evaluation of the hydrologic, environmental, and economic factors present in the area.

The report will examine flood damage reduction opportunities including channel modification, levees, floodwalls, detention, diversion, as well as non-structural measures such as flood-proofing, floodplain connection and stream restoration.

“Since the floods of 2007, we have made steady progress in developing federal, state, and local cooperation to determine the causes of regional flooding and implement solutions,” Congresswoman Lowey said.

Federal Emergency Management Agency
Administrator David Paulison at
microphones, U.S. Senator Hillary
Rodham Clinton at Paulison’s right,
Representative Nita Lowey at
Paulison’s left, and local leaders at
a press conference after
Mamaroneck flooding. April 2008.
(Photo by Kim Anderson
courtesy FEMA)

“I am pleased that this study will commence and that we are a step closer to mitigation projects that will prevent damage in the future. I will continue to work with all stakeholders to protect Westchester County residents and business-owners,” she said.

“The floods of 2007 were just the most recent of the flooding that seems to continue to grow in severity, causing substantial environmental and economic impacts,” Commissioner Grannis said.

“Congresswoman Lowey approached DEC to get support for this important evaluation and we agreed that it is a high priority,” Grannis said.

“She is to be commended for her efforts to assure funding for the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct this study and for the continued partnership of the Army Corps, New York State and Westchester County as this project moves forward,” he said.

The Army Corps of Engineers estimates that the study to identify a recommended plan will take approximately 30 months after it signs the partnership agreement with DEC.

Col. Nello Tortora, commander of the Army Corps of Engineers’ New York District said, “We look forward to a cooperative partnership with the DEC and Westchester County. This is a significant step towards bringing solutions to the water resources problems within the Mamaroneck and Sheldrake Rivers Basin, specifically in the Village of Mamaroneck.”

“The communities in the Long Island Sound area were among the most devastated in the storms of April 2007,” said Spano.

“The increased number and intensity of storms we have all been experiencing is a wake-up call for every level of government to work together to minimize the impacts of such storms on all our residents,” the Westchester County executive said.

“This project dovetails perfectly with the types of projects we are attempting to undertake with municipalities throughout Westchester County using the $10 million a year that we put into the county’s capital budget for flood mitigation,” said Spano, praising the congresswoman as “a true ally in working to address this problem and in finding funds, not just for more study, but for real solutions.”

A preliminary study conducted by the Corps over 30 years ago sought to determine the potential for flood damage in the Mamaroneck/Sheldrake Basin and how to prevent it. The recommendations were never implemented.

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