Ocean Township: Who in our area cares about stormwater management and why?
To answer these questions, the Ocean Township Environmental Commission hosted a February meeting of the five towns that make up the Whalepond Brook Watershed Association - Eatontown, Long Branch, Ocean, Tinton Falls and West Long Branch. Attending were residents and officials from other towns.
The focus was on problems caused by heavy rainfalls and snowfall, not just Superstorm Sandy, but other recurring weather events.
The issues were water quality deterioration, runoff and groundwater depletion, and urban heating that gets hotter. The issues cause flooded streets, basements and other problems for towns and neighborhoods. Streams and wetlands are damaged with negative consequences for nature lovers and sports people.
Speakers at that meeting were Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions (ANJEC) Director Dan Peifer and Chris Obropta, Extension Specialist – Water Resources (and professor) from Rutgers Cooperative Extension.
A basic problem is loss of natural surfaces locally and throughout the state. Development for homes, factories and businesses replaced natural drainage with cement, asphalt and other impervious surfaces.
It has become a quality of life impacting mess, but one with answers.
At a follow-up planning initiation meeting Obropta presented an overview of work in other New Jersey areas that can be used here subject to local modifications.
The Long Branch Environmental Commission has begun work that can complement the Regional Stormwater Management Plan in its engineering scope analysis needed. Added costs can be avoided.
Towns are putting together a RSWMP plan to:
1. Allow stringent regulations for developing in environmentally sensitive areas; 2. Set designs for flooding control and water quality; 3. Provide specific solutions to defined problems; 4.) Promote cooperation among the entities to address common resource issues.
Analysis of issues and identification of specific SWMP areas is begun. Management measures and standards to be followed are in development. Implementation plans and resources are being identified for the NJ DEP review.
A cooperative effort will work best and all towns will benefit, Obrapta said, as most town representatives nodded, with some questions to be answered later.
Ocean hosted the RSWMP planning event with Ocean’s Environmental Committee Member Fred Brody coordinating. Email Brody at email@example.com for more information