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January 2018

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

Red Tape Delaying Protection of Mamaroneck Homeowners from Future Floods Say Elected Officials

On December 7, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and U.S. Representative Eliot Engel urged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to swiftly review the Chief’s Report on the flood risk management for the Mamaroneck and Sheldrake River Basins in the Village of Mamaroneck.  The federal representatives said that without progress on this project residents and business owners in the area remain at risk to severe flooding. The federal representatives said the area has already suffered loss of life and serious damage due to floodwaters from the Mamaroneck and Sheldrake River Basins.

 

 In 2007, over $50 million worth of damage was done by a nor’easter storm floods. The storm resulted in loss of life, displaced thousands of residents and caused severe damage to the Village’s infrastructure. Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and Representative Engel said the Chief’s Report must be promptly reviewed and signed so the project may move to the authorization phase. Schumer, Engel, and Gillibrand said a swift review of this project will help ensure continued commitment to the lives and safety of the residents of the Village of Mamaroneck.

 

“Making sure the Village of Mamaroneck is protected from future flooding is critical for public safety and property preservation of homes and businesses,” said Senator Schumer. “Floods have hammered this area before and we can’t wait another year before we implement a better flood protection plan for the whole community, which is why we need Army Corps to promptly review and approve this plan. The Army Corps signing this report is essential to saving lives and protecting the Village of Mamaroneck from the storms of the future.”

 

“It is critical that the Army Corps of Engineers immediately approve the report that will allow Congress to authorize the flood risk management project for the Village of Mamaroneck,” said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which oversees the Army Corps of Engineers. “The lives and livelihoods of New Yorkers are at stake, and we must be proactive in ensuring that these heavy storms do not create yet another disaster. The Village Of Mamaroneck has suffered enough loss, and it is unacceptable to wait any longer to take action. I will continue to urge the Army Corps of Engineers to take this first step in ensuring that the Mamaroneck and Sheldrake River Basins are guarded against future flooding, and will work to ensure that this project is authorized by Congress in the next Water Resources Development Act.”

 

“Flooding in Mamaroneck has caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damages and tragically taken the lives of two of our citizens. I have seen the heartbreak and loss experienced by residents of the community, and I have witnessed their hard work to recover and rebuild,” said Rep. Engel.  “After I testified before the Army Corps in March, I was pleased to see that its Civil Works Review Board advanced the Mamaroneck and Sheldrake Flood Risk Management Study, and now it’s time for the Army Corps to approve the final Chief’s Report to enable this project to move forward. This plan is technically feasible, environmentally appropriate, economically justified, and absolutely necessary.”

 

Senators Schumer, Gillibrand, and Representative Engel said the vital project which seeks to reduce flood risk for the Mamaroneck and Sheldrake River Basins and thus protect residents and business owners will include the construction of retaining walls and a diversion culvert. The project would also enable the deepening and widening of river channels, structure elevation, and the removal/replacement of 2 vehicular bridges that constrict flood flow. The recommended plan is estimated to reduce average annual damages by approximately 87 percent and will help reduce the risk of loss of life.  Schumer, Gillibrand, and Engel said it is vital that once the report has been reviewed, it is promptly signed so that it can go to the next step wherein Congress can act to authorize and fund this project.

 

Senators Schumer, Gillibrand, and Representative Engel explained in April 2007, a nor’easter storm produced record flooding in the Village of Mamaroneck, equivalent to the one percent flood event. The 2007 event caused over $50 million in damages and impacted over 50 percent of total structures within the study area. The storm resulted in floodwaters peaking on the Mamaroneck River in approximately four hours and in approximately six hours on the Sheldrake River. As such, the evacuation time for approximately 19,000 residents in the Village of Mamaroneck was severely restricted and created a high-risk situation. Over 40 percent of Mamaroneck residents required evacuation assistance prior to floodwaters peaking including a large population of children that attended a school located within the epicenter of the severe flooding. However, this was not the only flood event in the basin. Additionally, two deaths have occurred as a result of flooding in the project area in the last 25 years, most recently in 2007.