US Army Corps of Engineers
New York District

Fact Sheet Article View

FACT SHEET - Rahway River Basin

Flood Risk Management Study

Published Jan. 31, 2013

DESCRIPTION:  The study area encompasses the Rahway River Basin located in northeastern New Jersey.  The Rahway River Basin is 81.9 square miles and lies within the metropolitan area of Greater New York.  Flooding within the Rahway River Basin is caused principally by the rapid development of the area, which has resulted in a large increase of storm water runoff.  Floods have caused damage to houses, businesses, municipal facilities and public infrastructure.  Portions of the Rahway River Basin have also suffered environmental degradation and opportunities exist for restoration.

The most damaging floods of record within the Rahway River Basin resulted from the storms of July 1938, May 1968, August 1971, August 1973, July 1975, June 1992, October 1996, July 1997, Tropical Storm Floyd in September 1999 , April 2007 Nor’easter, and Hurricane Irene in August 2011.  During the April 2007 storm, 70 to 100 homes suffered major damage to first floor and foundations.  Union County and the Township of Cranford were declared federal disaster areas as a result of the April 2007 storm.  As a result of Hurricane Irene, residents and business owners along Rahway River have suffered extensive financial losses and personal hardship than in most severe prior storms. 

AUTHORIZATION:  U.S. House of Representatives Resolution Docket 2548, dated March 24, 1998, authorizes a study of the Rahway River Basin, NJ. 

STATUS:   In response to locals concerns regarding flooding, Congress funded the Corps to conduct a reconnaissance study of the Rahway River Basin.  In July 1999, the Corps issued a favorable reconnaissance report recommending that a feasibility study be conducted to develop flood risk management alternatives in the Rahway River Basin.  The State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection concurred with the Corps reconnaissance study recommendations and signed a Feasibility Cost Sharing Agreement (FCSA) on March 14, 2002 to cost share the feasibility study.  While an entire basin study was authorized, an initial screening conducted in 2006 determined that Cranford, NJ and City of Rahway (Robinson’s Branch) apparently have the greatest potential for Federal Interest.  The study focus has been mostly in the Cranford area and completed work includes surveys, existing conditions hydrology and hydraulics (H&H), environmental and cultural.  The seven alternatives for the Cranford area include structural (levee, floodwalls, channel improvement, and detention basin) and non-structures (dry and wet flood proofing, elevation and buyouts) plans including a dry detention basin in the South Mountain Reservation suggested by the Mayors’ Council on Rahway River.  The benefit to cost analysis for the Cranford alternatives was completed early 2014.  The two public information sessions were held in Cranford and Millburn Townships in May 2014 to provide public with status of the study including description of plans, cost estimate, and benefit to cost analysis for Cranford study area alternatives.  The dry detention basin alternatives were eliminated due to strong public opposition.  The study received $500K Federal funds in the FY16 Work Plan.  The FY16 funds were utilized to complete alternative analyses for the Robinson’s Branch and two additional alternatives for the Cranford study area requested by the Mayors' council (modification to Orange Reservoir and Lenape Park Dam Embankment) and (Orange Reservoir + Lenape Park Embankment + Channel Improvement). 

The U.S. Corps of Engineers (USACE), New York District, has completed alternatives analyses for the study and has identified a Tentatively Selected Plan (TSP) that will provide flood risk management to the Townships of Cranford, Springfield, and Millburn as well as the City of Rahway.  The TSP consists of Cranford Alternative 4a, which includes channel improvements in Cranford and modification to the Orange Reservoir dam spillway in West Orange; and Alternative 2a, which is a nonstructural plan, in the 10-year floodplain for the Robinson's Branch in the City of Rahway. The stakeholders and the sponsor have supported the TSP.  A Draft Integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement was released for public and agency review in November 2016.   The 45 day public comment period for the DIFR and EIS was initiated on December 9, 2016 and extended to February 7, 2017, to provide residents additional opportunity for feedback. Three Public meetings were held in Cranford, City of Rahway, and City of Orange in January 2017.  USACE Headquarter had policy concerns regarding the Orange Reservoir Dam.  Therefore, the study has been transitioned to the New England District.  Any inquiries regarding the study should be directed to the New England District Project Manager, Ms. Wendy Gendron.  Her email address is:   




Ms. Rifat Salim,

Project Manager

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

Phone: (917) 790-8215, Fax: (212) 264-2924



Programs and Project Management Division, Civil Works Branch      

26 Federal Plaza, Room 2118

New York, NY 10278-0090


CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS:  NJ-07, NJ-10                    


Current as of February 2019