SCHUMER PUSHES ARMY CORPS TO ACCELERATE CRITICAL REVIEW OF MAMARONECK FLOOD CONTROL PROJECT; PERSISTENT FLOODING IN MAMARONECK HARMS ECONOMY, HURTS PROPERTY VALUES & PUTS LIVES AT RISK SENATOR URGES ARMY CORPS TO WORK WITH COMMUNITY TO MOVE PROJECT FORWARD QUICKLY
Westchester County Has Been Hit By Hurricanes & Major Storms With Increasing Frequency & Mamaroneck Has Been Particularly Susceptible To Flooding, With Major Flooding Occurring After 2007 Storm & Hurricanes Irene, Lee & SandySchumer Secured Funding in 2007 for Mamaroneck and Sheldrake River Watershed Flood Mitigation Study Following Major Storm & Worst Flooding in Decades Will Reveal Results of Study, Push Army Corps to Expedite Review & Begin Push To Secure Funding For Locally-
Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer revealed the findings of a major Mamaroneck and Sheldrake River Watershed flood mitigation study, conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and pushed USACE to expedite its review of the study, since, according to Schumer, "The sooner Army Corps completes its review, the sooner it will be possible to turn the community's preferred floodprevention plan into reality."
Schumer secured federal funding for this study in 2007, following Mamaroneck's worst flooding in decades, and now begins his push to make sure the preferred project resulting from this study is implemented . Schumer explained that Mamaroneck is particularly susceptible to flooding and, as extreme weather events have become more frequent, it is important to move forward on a plan to mitigate the risk of future flooding and make the community more resilient. The 2007 storms and subsequent flooding, as well as the flooding that occurred as a result of Hurricanes Irene, Lee and Sandy, significantly damaged property and local businesses, and disrupted the local economy. Schumer said that these weather events and the resulting impact demonstrate the critical need to begin implementing the flood mitigation and damage reduction recommendations laid out in the study.
"Mamaroneck has been plagued by damaging floods for too long; now is the time to invest in flood mitigation measures to protect residents and businesses from the next Irene, Lee, or Sandy," said Schumer. "That's why I worked with my colleagues Rep. Engel and Rep. Lowey to secure the funding for this Army Corps study, which clearly outlines a viable path forward in making Mamaroneck more resistant and resilient to future flooding. Now that a flood control plan has been identified, I am urging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to move this project along as swiftly as possible, and that starts with getting this out for public comment right away. The sooner we are able to clear this bureaucratic hurdle, the sooner I can go to bat for federal approval and funding, and the sooner we can begin working to reduce damage from future storms and build a safer Mamaroneck."
Congressman Eliot Engel said, "As we have seen with Hurricanes Sandy and Irene, the need to protect our shore communities couldn't be any more urgent. I have brought the Army Corps of Engineers to Mamaroneck to tour the flooded areas, and I have met with them multiple times to press for a timely review of the Mamaroneck flood control project. Communities along the shore deserve to know they will be protected the next time a major storm threatens our region.
State Senator George Latimer said, "We appreciate Senator Schumer's leadership and echo his call to not only expedite the Army Corp of Engineer's review of the Sheldrake River flood project, but also to have the federal share of the chosen project fully funded as well."
"The Village of Mamaroneck is very grateful to Senator Schumer for his support of the combined efforts of the Federal, State and local governments in addressing and reaching firm plans to mitigate the flooding conditions which have plagued our Village for generations," said Mayor Norman Rosenblum. "Senator Schumer's personal visit and support is integral to the success and certainly demonstrates our highest officials caring for their constituents and quality of life."
The confluence of the Mamaroneck and Sheldrake Rivers around Columbus Park, where Schumer stood, has been a flooding "hot spot" for over a decade. The area was hit by flooding in 2004 and massive floods from two storms in April 2007, in which about 134 residential units and two commercial properties flooded when storm water overflowed the dam at Sheldrake Lake. In total, this storm caused approximately $50 million in damage. 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, have caused extensive damage and severely impacted the local economy. More than 200 homes are in the flood plain and have been affected by repeated flooding.
Schumer explained that the economic loss that occurs as a result of this flooding in Mamaroneck is substantial: businesses are unable to operate and forced to spend hard earned money on costly repairs, local rail lines are damaged, and families are put out of their homes as a result of damage. According to the study released by the USACE, annual damages from floods in the region are estimated to be $3.4 million if no flood mitigation project is implemented. Schumer has long advocated for projects that would achieve flood mitigation and prevent future flood damage, and today revealed the results of a longawaited U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study on flood mitigation in Mamaroneck. Schumer and thenSenator Hillary Clinton secured the necessary funding for the study following the 2007 storms.
Today, Schumer revealed the results of the USACE study, which includes a Locally Preferred Plan (LPP) to deal with the persistent flooding. The LPP provides a 92% reduction in flood risk for a "50year" storm and an 84% reduction in flood risk for a "100year" storm. In total, the LPP is projected to cost $59.2 million and will consist of the following elements: 4,360 feet of flood walls will be added, the Mamaroneck River will be widened by up to 45 feet and deepened by up to 4.2 feet, the Sheldrake River will be widened by up to 35 feet and deepened by up to 3.4 feet, and six bridges will be either removed or replaced - Ward Ave. bridge, Station Plaza bridge, Waverly Ave. bridge, Center Ave. bridge and two other footbridges. Schumer noted that at a cost of $59.2 million, with a 65% federal cost share, this project will potentially pay for itself with one major flood like the one that hit Mamaroneck in 2007.
The flood mitigation study analyzed both structural and nonstructural measures to improve flood risk management. Structural solutions include building diversion tunnels, modifying current channels, and strengthening floodwalls. Nonstructural solutions include elevating building structures, constructing peripheral walls, and expanding flood proofing. Schumer explained that the LPP drew from these strategies to make the watershed more resilient to flooding.
The USACE will now proceed to various internal and external reviews, leading up to a public review that will include an environmental impact study and a full project report. Schumer is urging the USACE to expedite this review phrase and get a plan out for public comment as quickly as possible, so that the project can get closer to the construction phase sooner. Schumer vowed to support and seek funding for the LPP as soon as it cleared the review process.
A copy of Senator Schumer's letter to the USACE appears below:
Dear Assistant Secretary Darcy,
I am writing today in response to the Mamaroneck and Sheldrake Rivers Flood Risk Management General ReEvaluation Study (GRR) recently released by the US Army Corps of Engineers. As you know, the study took an indepth look at how to address the persistent flooding in communities like the Village of Mamaroneck and throughout the Mamaroneck and Sheldrake watershed. The study identified a number of alternatives for how to address flooding events, including a Locally Preferred Plan (LPP) that would provide a 92% reduction in flood risk for a 50year flood event.
I urge you to work quickly in your review of the LPP and advance the draft report to the public comment phase as fast as possible. In addition, I urge you to expedite the release of the draft Environmental Impact Statement for public comment. In the plan presented to the Village these next two necessary steps are scheduled to take an additional 8 months or more, this is simply too long for this community to wait.
I urge you to do everything you can to expedite this project, and advance the LPP to the phase where Congress can act to fund this project. As you know, a final Chief's Report must be approved in order for this project to move forward. Westchester residents have been plagued with severe flooding for too long, and this plan finally present a way to help alleviate some of those impacts.
Charles E. Schumer
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