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  • Mamaroneck Observer

Flood Update – February 12, 2024

Parallel Flood Mitigation Plan

After months of being told the Village was implementing a “parallel flood mitigation plan,” frustrated residents demanded a real plan.


Soon-to-be-former Village Manager Jerry Barberio and then-Mayor Tom Murphy called anything even remotely related to flooding part of a larger plan that was supposedly to begin mitigation efforts before the Army Corps of Engineers project started. 


Beginning at the June 12, 2023 Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting, Barberio began regularly reporting on a “parallel flood mitigation” effort that started with what he called “dredging.”  It became clear months later that the Village did not actually dredge any river but, as Deputy Village Manager, Dan Sarnoff explained at the February 12th meeting, they removed a buildup of silt in certain locations near overpasses.  The Village also removed debris from both the Sheldrake and Mamaroneck Rivers.


As time went on, the study on the Mamaroneck dam was included under the “parallel” umbrella, as were a handful of code revisions, including one on February 12th to waive permit and other fees for flood victims who wished to raise their residences.  Various on-going storm water management projects and on-going studies, as well as new initiatives such as the cameras were labeled part of the overall effort.  But was there a plan?


Flood victims attending the February 12th BOT meeting apparently didn’t think so.  No one even bothered to ask for a copy.  Instead, one by one, they asked the BOT to turn their attention and efforts to developing an actual parallel flood mitigation plan with various components that could be undertaken simultaneously.  Bernie Camarda began with a list of 24 discrete items he thought the Village should be doing, including getting an early warning system that works, attending to the Tompkins Avenue and Anita Lane bridges, employing pumps, installing storm drains in Washingtonville, addressing the storm water runoff from the Thruway and the Mamaroneck Avenue School, and deciding what to do about the dam and the reservoir.


Many of the residents spoke directly to Trustee Lou Young who has shown a fierce determination to move quickly on the Hunter Lot project.  They repeatedly asked him to show the same enthusiasm for flood mitigation.  Young attempted to respond by declaring the flooding after the “dredging” was lower than before, but he was met with skepticism because there were no actual scientific measurements taken before and that there were too many variables regarding both storms to reach such a conclusion.


Thruway Study of Flood Impacts 

Kate Dehais, a member of the Committee for the Environment (CFTE), reported that a resolution to fund a study of the New York State Thruway Authority (NYSTA) impacts on Mamaroneck flooding was before the BOT at the January 22, 2024 BOT meeting.  A joint resolution by the Flood Mitigation Advisory Committee (FMAC) and CFTE was passed by the BOT.  See HERE.


Dehais reported that CFTE did a study last spring which demonstrated that during Hurricane Ida approximately 6.5 million gallons of polluted stormwater could have run off I 95 directly into Mamaroneck rivers.  Each inch of rain on the 28.2 acres of impervious surface generates more than 761,000 gallons of storm water.  See HERE.


Dehais also stated that the NYSTA’s own documents indicate distortions to the floodplain that impede proper functioning of the watershed.  These distortions may need to be rectified at a future date and that there may be legal liability.  She notes that I 95 was designed and built in the 1950’s before flood mitigation and floodplain protection were required.  The CFTE research was significant enough to trigger two meetings with NYSTA.  At a meeting last September, NYSTA indicated they would not go further without an engineering study which in turn was the impetus for the request of the BOT.  Mitigation could be expensive to the NYSTA but could take pressure off Mamaroneck rivers during flood events.


Village Manager’s Report

Sarnoff reported that a Brigadier General from the Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) will be making a site visit to Mamaroneck in early March. 


Meanwhile, the funding for the ACE project remains an open question as additional funding is needed due to the passage of time and inflation.


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