USACE, DEP to Host Back Bays Flood Risk Meeting

The Department of Environmental Protection is partnering with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to host a meeting next week to gather input on a comprehensive study that will evaluate ways to better protect Back Bays and other tidal coastal areas from storms and flooding.

USACE and DEP are launching the three-year Back Bays Flood Risk Management feasibility study to assess a wide range of structural and non-structural approaches to mitigate the impacts of storm surge and flooding from estuaries and other coastal water bodies.

The meeting will be Thursday, December 1, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Campus Center at Stockton University in Galloway Township, Atlantic County.

The $3 million study was authorized by Congress and is being cost-shared by the DEP and federal government. Once the three-year study is completed, the Corps will issue a decision document with a recommended plan.

After the plan is approved by Congress, design and construction will occur as funding is made available. The study was developed out of the Army Corps’ North Atlantic Coast Comprehensive Study, which was undertaken after Superstorm Sandy slammed the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast in October 2012.

The study area encompasses 950 square miles and nearly 3,400 miles of bays, rivers, creeks, lagoons, coastal lakes and other tidal shorelines in Atlantic, Burlington, Cape May, Ocean and Monmouth counties.

Strategies that are being explored include structural solutions such as storm surge barriers, tide gates, levees, floodwalls and drainage improvements.

Also being evaluated are ecosystem-based solutions such as marsh restoration, beach and dune restoration, and creation of living shorelines, which are areas planted with native marsh grasses and shellfish to provide natural flood buffers.

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