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Delaware River Basin Flood Mitigation Task Force Holds Kick-Off Meeting

For Immediate Release

October 25, 2006

(WEST TRENTON, N.J.)  -- Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) Executive Director Carol R. Collier announced that the newly formed Interstate Flood Mitigation Task Force met today for the first time to begin its work towards recommending a set of comprehensive flood mitigation measures for the Delaware River Basin.

"We know that each basin state is working individually to address and mitigate flooding, but we believe a comprehensive, long-term flood loss reduction and flood mitigation strategy can be developed through this coordinated, interstate effort," Collier said.  "At the direction of our five commissioners, we have been ambitiously charged to propose a preliminary action plan with recommendations by the close of 2006."

Delaware Gov. Ruth Ann Minner, New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, New York Gov. George Pataki, and Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell, who serve as DRBC members, jointly sent a letter to Collier on Sept. 21 authorizing and requesting commission staff to form the interstate task force.  This was followed on Sept. 27 by the formal adoption of a resolution at a commission meeting which was unanimously agreed to by the four states and DRBC Chair Lt. Col. Gwen Baker, who represents the federal government on the five-member commission.

The Delaware Basin was devastated by severe floods in September 2004, April 2005, and June 2006, following a period of nearly 50 years without any widespread main stem flooding.

"The task force is comprised of 30 members including elected and emergency management officials, along with representatives from federal, state, and regional agencies, as well as citizen and academic interests," Collier said.  "We sought to gain a broad representation of task force members while realizing that involvement of all interested stakeholders in the four states was not possible due to the short time constraint established by our commissioners."  DRBC Deputy Executive Director Robert Tudor is leading the staff support of this effort.

The first meeting focused on plan framework issues, inventorying ongoing initiatives, and discussing work plan needs for the coming weeks in order to complete a draft preliminary recommendations report by the end of the year.  A public comment period and public meetings are anticipated in early 2007.

Strategy elements are expected to encompass reservoir operations, floodplain mapping, floodplain regulations, structural and non-structural mitigation measures (including acquisition and elevation programs), flood warning, and stormwater management.  Additional information will be posted on the commission's web site at www.drbc.net as it becomes available.

The DRBC was formed by compact in 1961 through legislation signed into law by President John F. Kennedy and the governors of the four basin states with land draining to the Delaware River (Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania).  The passage of this compact marked the first time in our nation's history that the federal government and a group of states joined together as equal partners in a river basin planning, development, and regulatory agency.


Contact: Clarke Rupert, DRBC, 609-883-9500 ext. 260, clarke.rupert@drbc.state.nj.us