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OMB Approval – Which Was Held Up By Trump Administration – Is Required For Disaster Response Aid To Get Shovels In The Ground On Mamaroneck and Sheldrake River Flood Risk Management Project To Save Lives & Protect Community

With Increased Frequency Of Severe Storms In NY, Protecting The Safety Residents Must Be Top Priority For Feds; Project Would Construct Flood Defenses For Westchester Community That Has Been Victim of Severe Flooding, Lost Lives, & Suffered Hundreds of Millions In Damages For Decades 

Schumer To OMB: Too Much Time Has Passed and Lives Lost – Mamaroneck Deserves Peace Of Mind And Flood Protection

Citing the tragic loss of over forty lives in recent severe flooding in New York, including five in Westchester County, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer last week made a personal call to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Acting Director Shalanda Young to urge the agency to greenlight the Mamaroneck and Sheldrake River Flood Risk Management Project (the Project). The Project has been stalled for the past two years by the Trump administration based on faulty analysis, according to Schumer, despite strong support from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), which would provide the boots on the ground necessary for construction.

“The past administration bottled up this vital flood mitigation project in OMB jail based on faulty logic and I called the Acting director Young to bust that logjam,” said Senator Schumer. “I am pleased to report that OMB agreed to move forward with the project, which brings us a step closer to getting shovels in the ground.”

“Following the horrible flooding in Mamaroneck earlier this month, which caused millions of dollars in damage, terrorized the community, and claimed the life of one person, it should be a top priority of the current administration to greenlight the Mamaroneck and Sheldrake River Flood Risk Management Project,” Schumer added. “People are dying as a result of severe flooding in New York and the federal government should and must do everything in its power to mitigate flood risk and save lives. That’s why I made a personal call to OMB Acting Director Young to ensure that OMB stands ready to approve the Project and finally protect and rebuild the Mamaroneck community that has already suffered for decades because of severe flooding.”

“Since the last raindrop fell I have been advocating for our community to finally get the Army Corps of Engineers plan funded for Mamaroneck. We were very close in 2018 to the plan coming to fruition, then the previous administration pulled the rug out from under us. I thank Senator Schumer for making this personal call to the top official at OMB so we can cut right through the red tape of the past and finally move forward in putting the project back on track with the current administration in Washington,” said Village of Mamaroneck Mayor, Tom Murphy.

Schumer visited Mamaroneck the day after Hurricane Ida hit the region, where disadvantaged residents living in the USACE project zone reported 14-feet of water flooding the area forcing them to evacuate their homes and seek shelter in the dead of night. There were over 150 water rescues, 535 flooded homes, 1,000 people displaced, and 310 abandoned cars. The Village has reported over $18M in damages and over $75M in residential and commercial damage. Five Westchester residents also tragically lost their lives in the flooding, including one in Mamaroneck bringing the total number of people who have died in Mamaroneck as a result of the persistent flooding to three in the past 25 years.

The Project was first imagined in response to a 2007 Nor’easter storm, which produced record flooding in the Village of Mamaroneck, equivalent to a one percent flood event. Senator Schumer travelled to the area the day after the storm to personally survey the extent of the significant damage. The 2007 event caused over $50 million in damages and impacted over 50 percent of total structures within the study area. The storm resulted in floodwaters peaking on the Mamaroneck River in approximately four hours, and in approximately six hours on the Sheldrake River. As such, the evacuation time for approximately 19,000 residents in the Village of Mamaroneck was severely restricted and created a high-risk situation. Over 40 percent of Mamaroneck residents required evacuation assistance prior to floodwaters peaking, including a large population of children that attended a school located within the epicenter of the severe flooding.

Following this, in March of 2010, a Design Agreement was signed by the Army Corps, NYS Department of Conservation (NYSDEC), and Westchester County for a Preconstruction Engineering and Design study. During this time, severe flooding again occurred during Hurricanes Irene and Lee in 2011. The flooding extended several blocks on both sides of Mamaroneck Avenue. The repeated disasters, including shoreline flooding from Superstorm Sandy in 2012, caused extensive damage and severely impacted the local economy. Following a $4.7 million Schumer-secured study by the Army Corps, the project was recommended by the Chief of Engineers and Schumer successfully fought to authorize this project for construction in the 2018 America’s Water Infrastructure Act. However, in February of 2020 it was discovered that the Trump administration would not move forward with the construction of the project because of the Benefit-Cost Ratio used by OMB, sparking community concern and outrage.

If greenlit, the project would reduce flood risk for the Mamaroneck and Sheldrake River Basins and protect residents and business owners by constructing retaining walls and a diversion culvert. The project would also enable the deepening and widening of river channels, elevate structures, and remove/replace 2 vehicular bridges that constrict flood flow. The plan is estimated to potentially reduce average annual damages by approximately 87 percent and help reduce the risk of loss of life.