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FACT SHEET-Peckman River Basin, NJ

Flood Risk Management Feasibility Study

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District
Published Jan. 4, 2024

DESCRIPTION:  The Peckman River Basin is located in Essex and Passaic Counties, New Jersey. A tributary to the Passaic River, the Peckman River originates in the Town of West Orange and flows northeast through the towns of Verona, Cedar Grove, and Little Falls, to its confluence with the Passaic River in Woodland Park.  Extensive development in the basin has led to flood damages and ecosystem degradation during or immediately following intense precipitation.

The Basin experiences frequent flooding from intense thunderstorms and heavy rainfall.  These storms can deposit large amounts of precipitation in the watershed, producing significant runoff, which quickly surpasses the capacity of the river channel, including bridge and culvert openings.  Significant degradation of the ecology of the Basin has occurred as a result of extensive erosion at specific locations along the river.  The current state of the river ecosystem reflects the type of long-term degradation often associated with heavily urbanized watersheds.  The development of the watershed has reduced the water-holding capacity of the landscape and altered the natural flow dynamics within the river system.

AUTHORIZATION:  The U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, authorized a study of the Peckman River and Tributaries, New Jersey, by Resolution dated June 21, 2000.  Initial Planning efforts were performed in accordance with Section 205 of the Continuing Authorities Program (CAP). The project was authorized for construction in Water Resources Development Act of 2020.

STATUS:  A favorable reconnaissance report was completed in July 2001.  The report recommended a feasibility study to develop alternatives for flood risk management in the Peckman River Basin.  A Feasibility Cost Sharing Agreement (FCSA) was executed on March 14, 2002 between the Corps and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP).  The New York District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) received a letter in December 2016 from the NJDEP Land Use Regulatory Program indicating their permitting support for the Tentatively Selected Plan (TSP).  The New York District received a memo on August 11, 2017 from North Atlantic Division (NAD) USACE authorizing the resumption of the feasibility study, which was temporarily suspended in November 2014 over concerns with study time and cost.  The study was resumed, and a Draft Integrated Feasibility Report / Environmental Assessment (DIFR/EA) was released for public review on May 7, 2018.  The TSP identified in the report consisted of a diversion culvert, levees, floodwalls, and channel modifications in combination with nonstructural measures and ringwalls to provide flood risk management to Little Falls and Woodland Park.  An Agency Decision Milestone (ADM) was successfully held on October 17, 2018, with permission granted by Headquarters (HQ) USACE to optimize the TSP and proceed toward preparation of a Final Integrated Feasibility Report/Environmental Assessment (FIFR/EA).

Following an August 2018 storm event that caused $41.8 million in locally reported flood damages and the October 2018 ADM, the team began optimizing the TSP.   Based upon flood information gathered after the storm event, as well as engineering modeling updates, plan refinements were made to the TSP that extended the east bank levee near Little Falls High School to the east where it would more effectively guide overland flow back into the Peckman River upstream of the culvert.  The Great Notch Brook floodwalls were removed from the plan because they were unnecessary to project function.  Channel modifications along the Peckman River were extended further upstream of the culvert.  Ringwalls were removed from the plan and the number of nonstructural measures were reduced.  These plan modifications led to a more efficiently functioning TSP.

In light of the refinements made to the plan and a need to meet NEPA requirements, a Revised Draft Integrated Feasibility Report / Environmental Assessment (Revised DIFR/EA) was released for public review on October 9, 2019.  A Final Integrated Feasibility Report/Environmental Assessment (FIFR/EA) was transmitted to HQUSACE on December 10, 2019 and a Chief’s Report was completed in April 2020.  The project was authorized for construction in Water Resources Development Act of 2020.  The project was funded for PED and Construction under DRSAA in 2022. Data collection has begin for the plans and specifications for the first constructible element (the diversion culvert and associated channel work).  The P&S are expected to be completed by June 2025.


Bethany McClanahan

Project Manager

P: (917) 790-8426

Email: Bethany.m.mcclanahan@usace.army.mil

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District

Programs and Project Management Division

26 Federal Plaza

New York, NY 10278