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Eustace Stream Cleaning Bill Continues Advancing

Legislation Assemblyman Tim Eustace sponsored to loosen restrictions on how counties and municipalities may clean local streams continues moving forward, having received approval from the Senate on Thursday.

The bill (A-3507) would amend current stream cleaning law to allow streams 30 feet or less in average width to be eligible for county or municipal stream cleaning projects that include sediment removal. Current law limits average width to 15 feet or less.

“This change to current law will better enable counties and municipalities to quickly and economically engage in stream cleaning projects that include sediment removal activities,” said Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic). “The legislation can help reduce or prevent future flooding events in certain bodies of water, such as some tributaries to the Hackensack River.”

The bill would also clarify that a project that includes sediment removal from a stream corridor to be cleaned, cleared or desnagged must be either a) a municipal project covering a single municipality or b) a county project covering a single municipality or covering less than 500 feet of a stream located in two or more municipalities.

Current state law requires counties and municipalities to provide the Department of Environmental Protection with a statement from an engineer noting that the applicable stream floods, and the flooding results, or can result, in property damage. The bill would eliminate this requirement.

The measure, which the Assembly passed unanimously in December, must now return to the Assembly for the consideration of Senate amendments.