Raritan-Millstone Rivers Flood Control Commission
Montgomery is one of nine towns that straddle the banks of the Raritan and Millstone rivers which, along with Somerset County, have created a regional Flood Control Commission to coordinate efforts to study — and possibly mitigate — flooding along their shores. The other member towns include Franklin, Hillsborough, Millstone, Rocky Hill, South Bound Brook, Somerville, Bridgewater and Manville. Other additional towns may be invited to participate in the future.
The commission first met in February 2012 in Manville. Commission meetings are held regularly on the 4th Wednesday of each month at various member towns. All meetings start at 7 p.m. These public meetings are noticed in the Courier News, Star Ledger and other local newspapers.
After Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, mayors along the paths of the two rivers decided that the frequency and extent of flooding seems to be increasing and that action was needed.
Legislation signed into law by Gov. Chris Christie in January 2012 allows municipalities and counties to buy flood-prone properties using local land preservation tax funds, heretofore restricted to preserving farms and open space other than “blue acres.” The bill was introduced after rain from Hurricane Irene caused rivers across north and central New Jersey to flood their banks, causing significant damage.
The commission is sharing flood data from each participating town, studying and analyzing past floods and flood causes. In addition to sharing the data among towns within the commission, the data will also be sent to the Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Water Resources, the Army Corps of Engineers, local and county planning boards and officials handling subdivisions and development of properties within flood and drainage areas.
In addition, the commission is seeking state and federal funds and grants to support studies aimed at finding solutions and coordinating flood prevention/mitigation efforts (such as brook cleaning) among the members. The commission is funded using $2,500 from Somerset County and $250 from each participating municipality.