With continued concerns about the flooding in the Rahway River watershed, a new regional advisory board has been formed to advise communities and advocate for changes to ordinances and implementation of best storm water management practices including to protect water quality and as important an objective to reduce the quantity of uncontrolled run off.
Meeting for its initial meeting in Cranford, the new board has representatives from Essex County to the City of Rahway including membership from 10 communities. Several community environmental commission members; governing board members and engineers are participating.
The members include: Vaclav Benes (Millburn) , Bob Mc Coy (Maplewood) , Jim Housten (Rahway) ,Eric Benson (Essex County) ,Alyson Miller (Springfield) ,Hortense Dias (Springfield) ,Carol Berns (Cranford) , Ed OMalley (Cranford) , David Schwartzberg (Fanwood) , Frank Klapinski (Cranford),Jennifer Duckworth (Millburn and Essex County) , Kaitalin Gordon (Orange) and John Hrebin Cranford). The board of advisors are Lynda Feder (Rahway River Association) Leo Coakley(Hatch Mott engineering).
David Schwartzberg, Fanwood member and a member of the Rahway River Association said "the board will be developing plans to implement and to communicate through the individual communities and the Mayors Council Rahway River Watershed Flood Control, storm water management education and proposed policy changes that could make a difference in the region."
Cranford Deputy Mayor Ed O'Malley said " Irene changed things and we have to look at this issue in a more aggressive and serious light. The damages from Irene were significant."
Leo Coakley, advisor and engineer said" The regional approach will help to ensure all residents in the region understand that there are approaches that can make a difference"
The board decided on three 2013 major priorities including: a plan to restore the flood plain in the watershed; development of best storm water management practices putting them where you can; and an improved communication/education/and ordinance proposals to make a difference.
The next meeting of the board is scheduled for March 7 in Springfield.