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Zwicker Bill to Help Combat Future Flooding in Hunterdon & Somerset Counties Becomes Law

Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker to bolster preparations for future flooding events in Hunterdon and Somerset counties was signed into law this week.

The new law (S-166/A-3901) establishes the Hunterdon-Somerset Flood Advisory Task Force, which is charged with reviewing past flooding events within Hunterdon and Somerset counties from flooding of the Delaware and Raritan rivers and their respective tributaries, and recommending measures to reduce future impacts from flooding on residents, businesses, and local government units in the Delaware River and Raritan River basins.

“While the Delaware and Raritan rivers afford Somerset and Hunterdon county residents many benefits, they also pose serious threats when it comes to flooding,” said Zwicker (D-Somerset/Mercer/Middlesex/Hunterdon). “Towns like Bound Brook are finally getting long-awaited relief from the Army Corps of Engineers project, but there are still many other towns like Manville and Rocky Hill that have been dealing with flooding for decades.

“The goal of this task force is to bring together experts in the field and local officials with keen insight so that comprehensive strategies can be formulated to mitigate damage from future flooding events. I’m looking forward to reviewing the task force’s final report and working with my colleagues on any legislative solutions that may come out of it.”

The task force will consist of 11 members as follows:
– the Commissioner of Environmental Protection, or the commissioner’s designee;
– the Director of the State Office of Emergency Management in the Division of State Police in the Department of Law and Public Safety, or the director’s designee;
– two mayors who represent municipalities located in the Delaware River basin;
– two mayors who represent municipalities located in the Raritan River basin;
– one representative each from the Hunterdon County Office of Emergency Management and the Somerset County Office of Emergency Management;
– one representative from the Millstone and Raritan Rivers Flood Control Commission; and
– two individuals with relevant expertise in the areas of engineering, flood mitigation, public planning, environmental protection, or related issues.

The task force will organize as soon as practicable after the appointment of its members and would be provided primary staff support from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

Within one year after its organization, the task force will submit a final report, including its findings, conclusions, and recommendations, to the Governor and the Legislature. Copies of the report will be posted on the DEP’s website, and printed copies of the report will be provided to the public upon request and free of charge.