Floodplain Management Update
In 2015, Pequannock Township made significant progress in acquiring grants for mitigation, updating our floodplain master plan, and improving our CRS rating for insurance discounts.
Application is made to FEMA for a pre-disaster mitigation grant (PDM) to begin elevating dwellings within flood prone areas. Pequannock is currently slated to receive over $4.5 million dollars for design, permitting, implementation, and construction activities. The intent is to apply for similar levels of funding whenever FEMA initiates the PDM grant cycle. The funding needed to assist the entire community is significant, but our vision, over time, is to make federal funding available to anyone that qualifies; and is willing to participate in the program.
FEMA's ranking system for grant recipients requires properties be grouped in neighborhoods with similar characteristics, and with the highest percentage of potential loss mitigation. Pequannock obtained the services of an independent firm to conduct an evaluation of FEMA's requirements compared to historical loss data in order to maximize the odds for Pequannock to be selected. The first grouping consisted of dwellings near the easterly end of Madison and Roosevelt Streets. It appears the strategy worked and funding will be available once congress releases the funds. The framework is now in place to build on this success and to
continue funding elevations through the PDM grant process.
An effectually managed floodplain community requires the integration of many resources. We discussed mitigation funding above, but much more is happening. The Planning, Construction and Engineering Departments are proactively developing practices and procedures reflecting the future of floodplain management. In 2013 FEMA revised the Community Rating System (CRS) manual and scoring to better recognize floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum NFIP standards. Depending upon the level of participation, flood insurance premium rates for policyholders are reduced. Pequannock has been an active participant in the CRS program since 1991, saving residents multi-millions of dollars in cumulative insurance premiums.
Several surrounding communities in the Passaic River Basin also participate in the program. Pequannock Township has always been ahead of the curve having maintained a CRS rating of seven (7) for at least the past five years (1 is the best, 10 is the least). Based on the current list of CRS communities; Bloomingdale, Butler, Lincoln Park and Oakland are receiving no insurance discount; Riverdale gets a 10% discount; with Pequannock and Wayne receiving 15%; and Pompton Lakes getting the best local discount at 25%. Each year on May 1 or October 1, a communities rating can be modified.
In January 2016, Pequannock completed a comprehensive audit based on the 2013 guidelines. We anticipate the results of the audit effective May 1 or October 1, 2016 at the latest. Since our last audit in 2011, the Township has intensified its efforts to improve community outreach and planning. The Floodplain Management Plan is being revised and is currently under review by the Flood Control Advisory Committee. We anticipate publishing the preliminary plan on the website for public review in March with hopes of formally adopting the plan in May. The plan plays an important role in community planning, goal setting and implementation that is integral to an increased CRS rating.
The Public Works Department has diligently maintained and documented efforts to promote the flow of stormwater through our many ditches and channels. Please call the DPW anytime you observe a blockage of any ditches, streams or pipe crossings. The proper maintenance of surface drainage facilities is critical for flood control and inclusive in Pequannock's NJDEP Stormwater Management Plan requirements.
Finally, if you live near a flood prone area, you are at risk. Floods can occur anywhere, you should strongly consider purchasing a separate National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) flood policy through an insurance agent. Not everyone understands the need for a separate flood policy. In fact, research shows that there's a common misconception that homeowners insurance covers flood damage when, in fact, it typically doesn't. In a March 2013 survey commissioned by a major insurance provider, 44 percent of Americans said they believed they were covered for weather-related floods, when, in fact, only 15 percent reported having purchased a flood insurance policy through the NFIP.