News & Announcements Blog

This blog is about NJAFM News and Announcements. Posts can only be made by NJAFM Administrators, however comments to the posts can be made by all registered members. If you have an announcement that you would like posted to this blog, send the request to This blog is viewable by the public.

  • Friday, October 16, 2015 1:23 PM | Greg Westfall (Administrator)

    Hazards Planning & Resilience: The Elected Official's Perspective Free Webinar 10/19/2015

         Free Registration!


    In cooperation with the American Planning Association (APA), the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) presents the third Planning Information Exchange (PIE) webinar. PIE is a free eight-part quarterly webinar series focusing on tools, best practices, and strategies on the role of hazard mitigation planning and its connections with recovery planning and preparedness.


    Sallie Clark

    National Association of Counties

    Linda Langston

    Past President

    National Association of Counties


    The third part in the series involves discussions with District 3 Board Commissioner for El Paso County, CO, Sallie Clark, and District 2 Board Supervisor for Linn County, IA, Linda Langston. Sallie currently serves on the National Association of Counties (NACo) board as president. Linda is a past president of NACo, and is the current board chair of NACo's Resilient Counties Initiative. Both presenters have experience as elected officials before, during, and after a disaster in their communities. Chad Berginnis, Executive Director of the Association of State Floodplain Managers, will moderate as they discuss:

    • What elected officials are most concerned about when it comes to natural and man-made hazards;
    • Whether communities should try to become more resilient and why;
    • The role of planners and planning can be improved to help elected officials be more effective;
    • Perceived obstacles to effective hazards planning; and
    • Words of wisdom for practicing planners.



    1 CM and 1 CEC credit is available for AICPs & CFMs who participate in the entire webinar. 


    To register for this webinar go to:

    When directed to the landing page, please click on the register button under the titled section 'Upcoming Webinars'. You will then be taken to the registration page. Please fill in the required information and click the submit button.  

  • Tuesday, October 13, 2015 10:52 PM | Greg Westfall (Administrator)

    The NJ-AWRA in conjunction with its partners/presenters:

    Are presenting a two-part webinar series which will focus on Soils Health, and related Best Management Practices, Planning, Development and Redevelopment issues.  The last webinar will be held on October 30th at 11am

    , is free and open to the public. Continuing Education credits have been requested.  AICP CM credits have been approved, 1 CM per webinar; NJ Professional Engineers can self report, 1 credit per webinar,  NJ Public Works Managers, 1 technical credit/hour per webinar and Foresters CFE credits are pending.  The first webinar has been recorded and is on the NJ-AWRA website at:


  • Monday, October 05, 2015 4:27 PM | Greg Westfall (Administrator)

    Are we headed for a dam disaster?

    185 N.J. dams could fail in catastrophic flood, but state won't say which ones

    [Posted by Carla Astudillo | NJ Advance Media for October 02, 2015, 9:48 AM]

    It only takes one big rain storm for a dam disaster.

    Dams are just one part of our deteriorating infrastructure, one that receives little attention, especially since New Jersey has never experienced a catastrophic dam failure with huge loss of life.  However, with 500 year storms becoming more common, many New Jersey dams are still not up to standards and potentially endanger thousands of lives downstream.  There are more than 1,500 total dams in New Jersey, and they are classified into three general hazard potential groups:

    ·         Low Hazard and Small Dam Low Hazard – if these dams were to fail, it would not cause any damage of life or property. The majority of dams in New Jersey fall into this category.

    According to DEP, 556 dams — more than one-third — fall into the following two groups:

    ·         Significant Hazard– if these dams were to fail, it could lead to significant property damage

    ·         High Hazard– if these dams were to fail, it could lead to both significant property damage and potential loss of life.

    But due to "security concerns resulting from [9/11] attacks," DEP has not published a full list of high and significant hazard dams.

    However, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers keeps a National Inventory of Dams, which lists bothsignificant and high hazard potential dams, as well low hazard dams that are of certain height and storage size. It was last updated in 2013.

    When NJ Advance Media requested dam inspection data, DEP would only release numbers by county. They would not release which dam received which rating or any other detailed information because of security concerns.

    RELATEDCoastal flooding, high wind warnings issued for parts of N.J.

    The data shows that out of 556 high and significant hazard dams, 185 of them received a rating of "poor" in their last dam inspection.

    However, a "poor" rating does not mean the dam is necessarily falling apart, according to John Moyle, manager of the NJ Bureau of Dam Safety. It means if an event such as a catastrophic flood were to occur, the dam has the potential to fail and cause significant damage.

    In addition, Moyle said that there may be dams that have already been fixed and are awaiting inspections. Inspections on high and significant hazard dams are required every two years, according to DEP guidelines.

    Morris and Sussex counties are home to the greatest total number of "poor" rated dams, with 29 and 24, respectively. However, those are the two counties with the most high and significant hazard dams in New Jersey. Both counties have about 35 percent of these dams rated as "poor".

    Camden County has only 21 high and significant hazard dams, but 17 of them received a "poor" rating. Inspectors gave 14 out of the 23 high and significant hazard dams in Monmouth County a "poor" rating.

    Overall, five counties, Camden, Monmouth, Cumberland, Salem and Atlantic, had half or more than half of their high and significant hazard dams rated as "poor".

    In addition, two dams, one in Sussex and one in Warren, were given a rating of "unsatisfactory" which means that the dams are considered "unsafe" and require "immediate or emergency remedial action," according to DEP guidelines.


    There are a few ways that dams can fail, said Andrés Roda, senior research manager at the Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation at Rutgers.

    Seeping water can cause erosion inside the dam and can lead disastrous leaks.

    "It's like the classic cartoons where you put your finger in one spot, and it starts to leak in another," Roda said.   "Overtopping" of a dam is also pretty common when you have a storm that dumps rain for a long period of time. The resulting soil erosion can eat away at the dam until it collapses.  "You can also have cascading failures," Roda said. "If you have two or more dams in the same corridor, once that first dam fails, you have a volume of water that packs a punch to other one."   In fact, heavy rains and flooding have caused several dam failures in New Jersey over the years. Among them:

    ·         In July 2004, flooding in Burlington County led to the failure of six significant hazard dams and caused damage to two high hazard dams.

    ·         Rainbow Lake Dam, located in Pittsgrove Township in Salem County collapsed during an April 2007 Nor'easter draining the 91-acre lake and causing damage along Rte. 56.

    ·         An early August 2011 storm in Cumberland County caused four dams to fail, including the high hazard Sunset Lake Raceway Dam, which caused more than $20 million in damage, according to initial reports.

    ·         Two weeks later, Hurricane Irene struck and resulted in the failure of six dams, including one on Weldon Brook, a tributary to Lake Hopatcong and one in a tributary to Crosswicks Creek in Burlington County.

    Deteriorating dams are not just a New Jersey phenomenon. According to the Association of State Dam Safety Officials, the percentage of dams with "poor" or "unsatisfactory" ratings increased from 7 percent to 15 percent nationwide, as more states ramp up inspection of high and significant hazard dams.

    The American Society of Civil Engineers 2013 Report Card gave the nation's dams a D grade for the growing number of deteriorating high hazard dams in the last couple of years. In addition, a recent U.S. Government Accountability Office report found that the 707 dams built and maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers may be at risk from both extreme weather and the sea level rise.


    As the years go by, it is even more important for dams to be properly maintained by their owners, according to Roda, from the Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation at Rutgers.  This is because as the state's population increases, more people move to areas downstream of dams, causing the dam's hazard classification to go from low to high.   "Private dam owners may be surprised to discover that a potential failure of their small dam, built years past, could potentially cause costly damages or be life threatening," Roda said.

    In 2002, the number of high hazard dams nationwide stood at 10,118. Ten years later, it went up to 13,991, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers.

    Also, dams are aging. According to the National Inventory of Dams, 457 out of the 826 dams in their New Jersey database are older than 50 years old, which is the standard expected lifetime for dams. Not all dams in the NID's inventory include the year they were constructed so there could be even more.

    These dams were built using the engineering technology available at the time when they were first constructed, but may be outdated and in need of upgrade.

    Even though the NJ Bureau of Dam Safety  has vastly reduced the amount of high and significant hazard dams in poor conditions since 1980, maintaining New Jersey's dams in compliance is still easier said than done.

    "Every dam has its own story," Moyle, of the dam bureau. "Whether there's a funding issue or a design issue or in the middle of an enforcement action or in litigation."

    The NJ Bureau of Dam Safety's 14 dam inspectors are in charge of inspecting and keeping track of more than 1,500 total dams in New Jersey, and the process can hit a snag when questions of ownership and money come in:

    ·         In 2011, upkeep for a significant hazard dam in Wyckoff reached a deadlock when the township and the homeowners could not come to a decision as to who would pay for it.

    ·         In 2014, repair work at an Atlantic County high hazard dam near Lake Lenape was suspended because of a dispute between the contractors and the county.

    ·         After years of litigation, courts ruled that Gloucester County and several landowners must pitch in for the repair costs of several dams.

    But even when ownership issues are ironed out, one set of repairs is not enough.

    "They're living structures," Moyle adds. "And they need to go back and fix them again and again."

    Because money is a big issue, DEP has a grants and loans program that has given out a total of over $98 million to dam owners needing help in paying for dam repairs.

    DEP also requires dam owners of high and significant hazard dams to keep an emergency action plan, which is a formal document outlining emergency pre-planned procedures, in case the dam should break.

    According to a 2015 list of high and significant dams without emergency action plans given by DEP to NJ Advance Media, there are currently 17 high and significant risk potential dams without emergency plans.

    Mark Ogden, project manager at the Association of State Dam Safety Officials, particularly singled out New Jersey "as one of the best states" in prompting the creation of emergency action plans.

    However, many experts point out that one of the biggest obstacles for regulators is raising awareness on dam safety — both among dam owners and the surrounding community.

    "There are a lot of stakeholders when it comes to dams, and sometimes it's not as high profile with the public because they're not a bridge or a road where people travel on every day," Ogden said. "But if they were to fail, there would be a huge impact."

    Carla Astudillo may be reached at Follow her on Twitter@carla_astudiFind on Facebook.

  • Monday, October 05, 2015 3:36 PM | Greg Westfall (Administrator)

    Federal government not following N.J.'s lead in setting strict flood protection standards | Opinion

    Brian Donohue | NJ Advance Media for


    By Star-Ledger Guest Columnist 
    Follow on Twitter
    on October 02, 2015 at 8:00 AM, updated
     October 02, 2015 at 8:11 AM

    By David Kutner, John Miller and Joel Scata

    From the Passaic River south to the Delaware Bay, communities in New Jersey are expected to experience more frequent and more severe flooding due to climate change.

    But instead of sitting back and waiting for the next flood – which could come sooner than we'd like, with Hurricane Joaquin churning up the coast – New Jersey communities are already hard at work making sure new structures are built higher and stronger.

    In Monmouth County's Little Silver borough, for example, new homes and apartment buildings must be built four feet above the predicted 100-year flood level to lessen flood damage. That's the highest such standard in the state.

    And everywhere else, there's a minimum one-foot, statewide flooding standard to which almost all new or substantially improved buildings must adhere.

    Those kinds of standards make a lot of sense. They show that New Jersey is putting the latest science and the best available flood maps to good use. And they help protect our communities from the growing dangers and the rising costs of floods worsened by climate change.

    Unfortunately, smart local- and state-level standards don't currently apply to projects the federal government funds in New Jersey – or in any other state that has smart, tough flood standards. Right now, per the federal government's own outdated flood protection standard, federal projects only have to be built to the level of the 100-year flood, a flowrate used to estimate the probability and magnitude of floods nationwide.

    That's a big problem. Why? Because our ability to predict flood risk is questionable. Looking back over the past century of floods has not led to accurate predictions of flood risk. In addition, climate change is disrupting our weather patterns and raising our sea levels. In New Jersey, the National Climate Assessment predicts that within the next 85 years, we will likely face nearly four feet of sea level rise.

    This means the federal government's current standard needlessly – and repeatedly – exposes our schools, hospitals, treatment plants and other projects to more frequent and more severe floods. And again and again, it's the U.S. taxpayer left holding the soggy cleanup bill.

    But things are beginning to change. In January, President Barack Obama updated via executive order the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard. Once put into effect, federally funded projects built in New Jersey – and everywhere else in the United States – must be built to meet tougher standards.

    These smart standards will result in stronger, more resilient communities and a more conservative investment of taxpayer dollars.

    Unfortunately, just as we're making progress, some in Congress are trying to include language in must-pass appropriations bills to prevent the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard from being implemented.

    These maneuvers harm the American public, including the citizens of New Jersey. They undercut smart local and state policies that have the potential to save billions of dollars in disaster costs due to flooding – costs that are increasingly borne by the federal government.

    Because they've lived through the aftermath of monster storms like Sandy, New Jersey's congressional delegation is in a prime position to defend tougher new federal flood standards, just like the ones we know are already working in communities like Little Silver.

    That's why Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) – along with every other member of Congress from New Jersey who has seen, firsthand, the damage from more frequent and more severe flooding – should speak out against using appropriations procedures to block fiscally sound measures that protect New Jersey taxpayers, businesses and our families.

    David Kutner is the recovery planning manager at New Jersey Future. John Miller is the legislative committee chair for the New Jersey Association for Floodplain Management. Joel Scata is a water policy advocate at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental advocacy group headquartered in New York City.

    Follow The Star-Ledger on Twitter @starledger. Find The Star-Ledger on Facebook.

  • Friday, September 04, 2015 10:46 PM | Greg Westfall (Administrator)

    ASCE South Jersey - September 2015 Meeting

    Thursday, September 17, 2015, 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

    Hurricanes like Sandy, Irene, tropical storm Lee have revealed the gap in response time and have elevated the need of preparation required to face the challenges of climate change. These storms have caused a great amount of damages to homes, business, and transportation infrastructure. They have damaged wastewater and potable water treatment facilities, and left thousands of people without electricity and other utilities. Due to Super Storm Sandy in NYC, 43 New Yorkers lost their lives, many more lost homes and businesses, In addition, 10 out of 14 wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) either lost electric power or became damaged. In New Jersey Ninety-four wastewater treatment plants were impacted during the storm and $1.3 billion was allotted to the repair of the wastewater systems. 

    In order to increase the resiliency of WWTP infrastructure, and examine the component vulnerability against riverine (inland) and coastal flooding due to the impact of climate change (such as mean sea level rise) and extreme natural events, an in-depth analysis has been completed. The impact of flood water at high risk plants can be simulated to determine when and why the sewage systems overflow. The flood depth of various hurricane storms can be compared to the locations of wastewater treatment plants. Coastal flooding, inland flooding, and wind damage can be determined and the monetary and structural damage of the facilities can be identified.  Further analysis can produce flooding drainage methods at particular locations, to show the progression of a storm and its flooding effects. In addition, select locations of high risk can be isolated and resiliency techniques can be assessed.

    For more information see attachment:  ASCE-South Jersey Section September 2015 Meeting.pdf

  • Thursday, July 30, 2015 5:41 PM | Greg Westfall (Administrator)

    NJAWRA Stormwater Committee Intiatives






    July 2015




    Fall Stormwater Seminar and Two Soil Health Webinars



    Fall Stormwater Management Seminar - Infiltration BMPs and Groundwater Mounding

    The Stormwater Committee of the NJ-AWRA is sponsoring a new seminar series that will allow for education and discussion of different stormwater related topics.  The seminar is free to existing NJ-AWRA members and $15 for new members (includes NJ-AWRA membership for remainder of 2015).  The first seminar will be held on September 17, 2015 at Duke Farmsin Hillsborough, NJ.


    Event Schedule:

    8:30—9:00 am        Networking, Light Breakfast

    9:00—10:00 am     NJ Infiltration Basin Performance Study

    Jeromie Lange, P.E., Maser Consulting

    10:00—11:00 am   GWMound—a new software application for estimation of groundwater mounding

    Glen Carleton, U.S. Geological Survey

    Continuing Education Credits:

    NJ P.E., 2 Credits, Self-Report
    AICP CM, 2 Credits, Requested



     Soils, BMPs and Redevelopment: A two-part webinar series *

    Soils 101, Best Management Practices and the Landscape 

    September 25th at 11 am

    Registration :

    • What are the five functions of soils?  Do soils have limits?
    • How do you protect soils from erosion?
    • What is healthy soil?  How do you assess it?

    Soils Health, Planning, Development and Redevelopment Aspects 


    October 30th at 11 am


    Registration :


    • Do you know what type of site and soils you have?  How are they impacted?
    • How do you locate a BMP on site?  What criteria do you use?
    • What do you do about soil compaction?  How do you improve soil biodiversity?


    Continuing Education Credits:
    NJ P.E., - Self Report 1 credit per webinar
    AICP CM, - 1 credit requested per webinar

    NJ Public Works Managers - credits requested per webinar


    * Note:  You can attend either or both of these webinars.

  • Wednesday, May 27, 2015 1:36 PM | Richard Franks
    The New Jersey Building Officials Association recently recognized the efforts of Bob Burlew,  construction official for Union Beach and Keyport, by voting unanimously to name him state “Inspector of the Year.” 

    Many NJAFM members will know Bob from his appearances at our annual conference, click here for details of his work in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

  • Friday, April 17, 2015 4:23 PM | Richard Franks

    Resilient Communities: Strategies for Survival and Growth in the Face of Natural Hazards

    April 28, 2015:  8:00 am to 12:00 pm

    Please join the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders for a workshop exploring the resources and assistance programs available to strengthen your municipality's capacity for resilience.

    These sessions will be held at the Middlsex County Fire Academy, 1001 Fire Academy Drive, Sayreville, NJ 08872.

    For more details, click here.

  • Tuesday, April 14, 2015 5:18 PM | Richard Franks

    Webinar: Resolving "Water Wars" : Use of Mediation and Collaboration in Stormwater Conflicts

    Friday May 15, 2015, 12 noon to 1:30pm ET

    • Is water runoff from off-site, damaging your property?
    • Are increasing storm intensities creating complaints from other property owners?
    • Is it going to cost almost as much on legal and expert fees as cost to remediate?
    • Does court seem like the only place you can get help?

    For more details, click here.

    To register for the webinar, click here.

  • Tuesday, April 07, 2015 3:22 PM | Richard Franks
    The Bergen County Division of Open Space is hosting a workshop on the newly established Floodplain Protection Program, which is part of the Bergen County Open Space, Recreation, Floodplain Protection, Farmland & Historic Preservation Trust Fund.

    The workshop will be held on Thursday, April 23, 2015 (1:00 p.m. registration) from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., at the Bergen County Administration Building, Room 460 (Learning Center), 4th Floor, One Bergen County Plaza, Hackensack.

    The Land Conservancy of New Jersey will present how a municipality prepares a municipal Floodplain Acquisition Plan and representatives from Rutgers University Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program will discuss floodplain restoration and implementation strategies a municipality can take after structures are removed.

    Please register for the workshop by clicking here.

    If you have any questions, please contact Adam Strobel at either or 201-336-6458.

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