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FACT SHEET - South River, Raritan Basin, NJ

Flood Damage Reduction and Ecosystem Restoration

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District
Published March 5, 2021

DESCRIPTION: he project area is located within the lower Raritan Basin in Middlesex County, New Jersey.  The South River is the first major tributary of the Raritan River, located approximately 8.3 miles upstream of the Raritan River’s mouth at Raritan Bay.  The South River is tidally controlled from its mouth upstream to Duhernal Lake Dam.  Fluvial conditions prevail upstream of the dam.  The area is prone to imminent and severe flooding from hurricanes and other storms, with significant flood events occurring in March 1962, May 1968, August and September 1971, April 1984, December 1992, March 1993.  For example, the March ‘93 northeaster event resulted in approximately $17 million in damages [2001 dollars] and closed the highway bridge connecting the Boroughs of South River and Sayreville.  Based on coordination with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection [NJDEP], county and local interests, it was determined that there are no widespread flooding problems in the South River watershed upstream of the Duhernal Lake Dam.  Consequently, the study area focused on river reaches downstream of the dam, specifically flood-prone areas within the Boroughs of South River and Sayreville, the Township of Old Bridge, and the Historic Village of Old Bridge [located within the Township of East Brunswick]. This portion of South River also includes the areas of greatest ecological degradation [and greatest potential for ecosystem restoration]. 

AUTHORIZATION: The project was authorized for construction in the Water Resources Development Act of 2007 [Public Law 110-114] on November 8, 2007.  The feasibility report, completed in September 2002, recommended hurricane and storm damage [HSD] protection from a 500-year event and ecosystem restoration of 379.3 acres of degraded wetlands.  The HSD protection component of the plan consists of a storm surge barrier spanning the South River for a length of 320 feet, with a clear opening of 80 feet, two combined levees [10,712 feet long]/floodwalls [1,655 feet long] constructed along the east and west bank of the South River in the boroughs of Sayreville and South River, and interior drainage facilities [i.e., pump station, outlets, etc.].  The ecosystem restoration consists of returning 379.3 acres of Common Reed [Phragmites sp.] wetlands to wetland forest, upland forest, low emergent marsh, mudflat, and open water.

STATUS: A Design Agreement [DA] was executed between the Corps of Engineers and the NJDEP in July 2004 initiating the current Preconstruction Engineering and Design [PED] phase.  The 2004 DA costs were estimated at $4,071,250 at a 75-25 cost share [75% Federal and 25% non-Federal].  The New York District is currently working on the Flood Damage Reduction portion of the project.  A site survey effort was undertaken in 2009 and completed in Fiscal Year 2010.  The effort included: aerial photography, topographic mapping, a bathymetric survey, and a utility survey.  A Hurricane Sandy Limited Reevaluation Report (HSLRR) is being completed that updated the project using the best and latest information as well as updating the cost and economics to reflect current conditions with the recent buyouts.  The large number of buyouts that occurred post-Sandy along with the increased estimated project cost resulted in a Benefit to Cost Ratio (BCR) less than 1.  Therefore on 28 October 2016 it was the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to terminate the project.



Mr. David Gentile
Project Manager
P: (917) 790-8627
E-mail: david.t.gentile@usace.army.mil
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District
Programs and Project Management Division, Civil Works Branch
26 Federal Plaza
New York, NY 10278