Peckman River project

PHOTO COURTESY OF THE BOROUGH OF WOODLAND PARK

 

At the corner of Jackson and Harrison Street in Little Falls, Reps. Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) and Bill Pascrell (NJ-09) hosted a press conference with Little Falls Mayor James Damiano, Woodland Park Mayor Keith Kazmark, NJDEP Commissioner Shawn LaTourette, and Colonel Matthew W. Luzzatto of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) to highlight the recent announcement that the Peckman River Basin Project, which will help address and mitigate flooding in the area, will be federally funded. 

This hard-hit neighborhood saw some 3 to 4 feet of water during Hurricane Ida in September 2021. Some homes were still visibly damaged. Residents here have been flooded numerous times over the years, and were especially hard hit in 1999 during Hurricane Floyd. 

The Peckman River flood prevention project will be fully funded by more than $153 million in federal funds – $146 million for flood prevention and $6 million for disaster relief investigations. Congressman Pascrell began fighting for funding in 1999, when he was the congressman for Little Falls and Woodland Park, along with local flood board members and officials. After Pascrell moved out of the representative district, Congresswoman Sherrill took the baton and pushed the project towards the finish line. The ACOE can now immediately begin moving forward.

“I think many in our communities were very unsure that this day would ever come…that the funding for this life or death project would ever actually be allocated to pay for this project,” said Mayor Kazmark. “Well the day has come, and our residents who are impacted by flooding appreciate that something will finally get done.” 

Flooding from the Peckman River has caused multiple flash flooding events in Woodland Park and Little Falls. This includes flooding most recently during the remnants of Hurricane Ida in September 2021, which caused significant damage and tragic loss of life. Ida was a clear demonstration of the urgent need for this project.

This project would mitigate flooding through a combination of a diversion culvert connecting the Peckman and Passaic Rivers; associated weirs; levees and floodwalls; channel modifications; and nonstructural measures.

This project will install a 1,500-foot-long, 40-foot-diameter diversion tunnel near the Paterson Avenue athletic fields to divert floodwaters out of the Peckman and into the Passaic River. This will solve flash flooding not only from the Peckman, but also from its tributaries – Dowling Brook and brook in the Kohl’s parking lot which frequently overflows its banks. It will not exacerbate flooding of the Passaic. 

In addition, the plan calls for

1,848 linear feet of channel modifications.

2,170 linear feet of levees and/or flood walls.

1,207 linear feet of levees and/or flood walls near Passaic Valley High School, between the track and baseball fields.

Raising up to 16 structures and flood-proofing as many as 58 structures.

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