Sunday, January 1, 2012

Lead the way on flood mitigation

Greg Clary in (New York's Lower Hudson Valley): Keeping the region’s residents from being flooded out of their homes and businesses got plenty of attention from elected officials at every level of government in 2011. Unfortunately, it brought to mind Bill Murray’s “Groundhog Day” because once last year’s biblical-proportioned storms subsided and the record power outages were repaired, the issue basically disappeared with the floodwaters.

There were myriad promises from politicians, demands for the studying to stop and the bulldozing to begin, but only a few municipalities put workers and backhoes into the streams and rivers to clean debris that had contributed to the record flooding.

The issue is hardly new: Following the floods of 2007, for example, government officials swore they would make flood mitigation a top priority — an ounce of prevention being smarter than a pound of cure.

Some areas, like neighborhoods along Route 9A in Elmsford, the Sound Shore’s Indian Village and Squires Gate in Suffern, have been plagued with flooding issues for decades — a result of haphazard development based on devotion to home-rule planning even where water repeatedly washed out political borders....

An athletic field in Suffern, New York, flooded by the Ramapo River after Hurricane Irene, in August 2011, shot by Daniel Case, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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