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Emergency Watershed Protection in New Jersey

Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee Recovery Work

While the Natural Resources Conservation Service prepares to fund recovery projects following Superstorm Sandy, the last of the work addressing damages from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in 2011 has been completed.  The Borough of Milford removed a failed dam with assistance from FEMA and restored over 600 feet of Quequacommissicong Creek with funding from the NRCS Emergency Watershed Protection Program

NRCS contributed $1.4 million to recovery projects in Bergen, Hunterdon, Sussex and Warren counties.  Funds were used to clear sediment and debris from 2 miles of streams, stabilize 2500 feet of streambank and, in Liberty Township Warren County, stabilize a landslide area that destroyed two homes. Property values protected are estimated at $13.5 million.

Sponsors receiving assistance included the Village of Ridgewood and Oakland Borough in Bergen County, Liberty Township Warren County, the Wallkill Watershed Association through the Sussex County Municipal Utility Authority, and Milford and Frenchtown boroughs in Hunterdon County.

Restoration at Quequacommissicong Creek

The Borough of Milford was successful in restoring damage created by Hurricane Irene and  Tropical Storm Lee. Funding from the NRCS Emergency Watershed Protection Program was used to stabilize 600 feet of Quequacommissicong Creek between the York Road bridge and Stone’s Dam. FEMA funded the removal of Stone’s Dam, remnants of water works from the turn of the century. 

Flooding from Irene undermined the dam. Flow under the dam began eroding the sediment that had been trapped by the dam for years. Then Tropical Storm Lee hit and eroded the streambed to the point that the concrete structure failed and fell into the void. The streambed erosion quickly progressed upstream. The streambanks along the Borough Park became dangerously steep and unstable.  Soon, a sewer line crossing was exposed, and the abutments supporting the York Road Bridge were in jeopardy. If left unattended serious damage to infrastructure could occur in the next storm event. Potential disruption of transportation and sewer services are costly to a community and a threat to water resources. 

FEMA was willing to fund the removal of the failed concrete dam which had become a major obstruction to flow in the stream. NRCS was willing to fund the stabilization of the streambed and banks to protect the sewer line and the bridge foundation. The US Fish & Wildlife Service is donating hundreds of tree seedlings to establish a riparian corridor along the banks. The Borough of Milford secured the engineering services and permits, administered the construction contracts, and contributed 25% of the construction costs.


Progress of Restoration 

Storms scoured hole under dam and released sediment downstream. Dam removal and stabilization work done simultaneously to avoid leaving stream vulnerable Stabilized banks and two grade control stuctures across streambed to prevent further degradation
Eroded streambed and
damaged concrete dam
Restoration work underway Restoration complete

updated June 6, 2013