County, municipal emergency management workers are better equipped

FREEHOLD, NJ – The Monmouth County Office of Emergency Management has a new tool to monitor storms and how they will impact communities near the water.

Five automated flood gauge units have been installed at key locations along the Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers to provide the project’s partner communities of Fair Haven, Highlands, Long Branch, Little Silver, Middletown, Monmouth Beach, Oceanport, Rumson, Red Bank and Sea Bright with critical information during severe weather events.

“The information provided by these gauges will allow county and municipal emergency managers to have better knowledge of conditions prior to making decisions about potential flooding,” Freeholder John P. Curley said. “They will be able to make better decisions about when is the best time to divert traffic or evacuate neighborhoods if conditions warrant such action.”

The first gauge was installed in March on the Gooseneck Bridge, between the boroughs of Little Silver and Oceanport. Other locations include the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge, the Oceanic Bridge, the Highlands-Sea Bright Bridge and the Patten Avenue Bridge.

mc_shrewsbury_flood_warning_system

  • Taking a close look at the automated flood gauge installed on the Gooseneck Bridge are Little Silver Councilman David E. Gilmour,  Freeholder John P. Curley, county OEM Coordinator Glenn Mason and Little Silver Mayor Suzanne S. Castleman."

Each unit provides real-time tide levels and weather data to a central monitoring station via radio. Monmouth University, West Long Branch, and Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, also partners in the project, will work to receive, decode and make the data available to local municipal emergency managers for review.

“It is common to see monitoring projects started after a disaster occurs – as a ‘lesson learned’ when losses are catastrophic,” Monmouth County Emergency Management Coordinator Glenn Mason said. “It is important to recognize that Monmouth County and the participating communities are being proactive to help avoid catastrophic losses.”

The 10 communities along the two rivers have a residential population of 60,000 residents and an estimated $1.8 billion of insured private properties.

Since 1992, 12 storms have been declared federal disasters. All but one of those storms was flood-related.

mc_shrewsbry_storm_warning_system
Attending the recent unveiling of the first automated flood gauge on the Shrewsbury River were Monmouth Beach Deputy OEM Coordinator Cranston VanBloem, Oceanport OEM Coordinator Capt. Buzz Baldanza and Oceanport Councilman Gerald Bertekap, Monmouth County OEM Coordinator Glenn Mason, Monmouth University Asst. Dean of Science, Dr. John Tiedemann, Monmouth County Freeholder John P. Curley, Little Silver Mayor Suzanne S. Castleman, Little Silver Councilman David E. Gilmour and Little Silver Police Lt. Gary LaBruno.

The project is being funded by a $90,000 Emergency Management Performance Grant from FEMA to the New Jersey State Police. The grant requires an in-kind match that is being met by the county’s Office of Emergency Management and the community partners. After the first year of the monitoring effort, the municipal partners and the county will each be responsible for a $1,500 annual contribution toward the maintenance of the system.

“Data collected from the Shrewsbury River Flood Warning System will ultimately contribute to improved information to better understand the river’s hydrology and flood forecasting,” said Mariana Leckner, Ph.D., Certified Floodplain Manager, Leckner Consulting, LLC.