Researchers Weigh in on Flood Mitigation

September 18, 2013

Thanks to a grant from the Community Foundation’s New Jersey Recovery Fund, a team of researchers is now sharing their findings on ways to prevent future flooding in New Jersey.  Scroll down for an article from the Sayreville Suburban:



A team of academics investigating the future of flood-prone areas in Sayreville has entered the preliminary stages of what could be done to prevent superstorm Sandy levels of flooding — or worse — in the future.

Professor Tony Nelessen of the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University described 13 potential scenarios to the Sayreville Environmental Commission at a Sept. 3 meeting.

“Whatever the solution, it has to come from the local folks. That way, [we know] that this is what they want,” he said. “There is no correct answer here; we are laying options on the table for you to consider.”

Nelessen’s research is funded by a grant from the New Jersey Recovery Fund, which is administered by the Community Foundation of New Jersey.

He clarified at the meeting that the scenarios are only conceptual ideas and that a solution will not be selected without comment from borough, state and federal agencies and input from the public.

Nelessen explained that the options are varied and largely depend on how many homes remain in the Weber Avenue and MacArthur Avenue areas of Sayreville after closings are made on homes in the buyout program. Homes in the program will be razed and the properties turned into permanent open space.

He provided simulations of what certain scenarios might look like, including allowing the entire area to revert back to nature, a mixed-use area where some homes remain, or the construction of a berm high enough to protect the neighborhood from future floods.

Nelessen and his team predict that the sea level will surge to about 21 feet by the year 2100. The potential solutions all include plans that would account for this new height.

“You might say, ‘Well, I have a hard time worrying about this stuff; this is for my kids to worry about,’ ” he said. “In my opinion, that’s immoral. You can’t let the kids inherit a Sayreville that everyone else has walked away from because they didn’t deal with the problem ahead of time.”

Nelessen and his team will complete research by Dec. 31, and the full package of options will be complete by the fall of 2014. He said a public comment period would take place during that time.

Click here for the article.