Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Another Update on Flooding

There has been a number of articles on PhillyBurbs lately concerning flooding projects in the area. Here is an overview with links.

A task force has come up with 45 recommendations for flood prevention. (“Task force lists ways to thwart flood damage,” by Brian Scheid 7/18 Bucks County Courier Times)

The recommendations, agreed on by the 31 members of the Delaware River Basin Interstate Flood Mitigation Task Force, include setting up priority funding for home elevations and developing stricter floodplain regulations and more rigorous storm water management.

However, the recommendations do not include a call for year-round caps on reservoir levels, which several lawmakers and riverfront residents have contended would reduce flooding downriver. Task force members have instead called for a study of the operations at major reservoirs in the river’s basin to see if regulating reservoir levels and releases would help reduce flooding.

This has led to some controversy as there is still an area contingent that has strong feelings about reducing water levels in New York reservoirs (“Reservoirs not the solution,” by Jenna Portnoy Intelligencer 7/19)

Over the river (so to speak) and through the woods we have more information on the Pennypack Creek.
(“Dedicated funding sought to fight floods,” by Jacob Fenton 7/18 Intelligencer

A report released by Temple University last year showed that flooding in the Pennypack Creek watershed is worse than federal agencies thought. But it has not yet helped local officials figure out how to pay millions in flood reduction expenses.

The Pennsylvania Environmental Council and the Environmental Finance Council have applied for grants from private foundations to fund the effort. Other options on the table include creating stormwater authorities, other forms of governmental cooperation, and bills for water runoff.

Other projects have had some success with federal funding. (“Congress approves $250,000 towards flood prevention,” by Jenna Portnoy Bucks County Courier Times 7/29)

Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-08) has asked for $250,000 for floodplain mapping, Rep. Charlie Dent (R-15) an additional $250,000 to help the Delaware River Basin Commission improve its flood warning system. These earmarks were attached to a bill that has passed the House.

From Murphy's press release:
Today, Pennsylvania Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-8th District) announced federal funding for two local priorities. The House of Representatives, in passing the Energy and Water Appropriations bill, approved funding for two Bucks County projects for which Rep. Murphy fought. These projects were passed as part of a larger bill that invests in renewable fuels, global warming research and new technology to stop the harmful effects of climate change. The local projects include $250,000 for Bucks County Floodplain Management Services to study and evaluate recent flooding and update floodplain mapping over a wide area to help prevent and mitigate future flooding. The other project funded in this bill is $182,000 for a study of Southampton Creek to restore the ecosystem along approximately two miles of degraded stream in Upper Southampton Township .

“These projects are vital for flood planning and prevention and for repairing an important ecosystem in our area,” said Congressman Patrick Murphy. “I was proud to fight for these local priorities and am glad that they cleared this important hurdle in getting the resources they need.”

As part of the Energy and Water Appropriations bill, Rep. Murphy supports a 50 percent increase in energy efficiency and renewable energy, including solar, biofuels, hydropower and geothermal energy.

Earlier this summer Murphy brought home more bacon in the form of additional money for Yardley's flood damage.


Gort said...

Keep paving everything then wonder why it floods when it rains. I like that Murphy's bill addresses the watershed issues.

AboveAvgJane said...

Yep, earmarks aren't always bad. And you are right about the watershed issues -- and we still see over and over again that localities make exceptions to zoning laws for development.