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OMB approval – which has been suspended by the Trump administration – is required for disaster response assistance to get shovels in the ground on the Mamaroneck flood risk management project and the Sheldrake River to save lives and protect the community
With the frequency of severe storms increasing in New York City, protecting the safety of residents must be a top priority for federal authorities; The project would build flood defenses for the community of Westchester which has suffered severe flooding, lost lives and suffered hundreds of millions of damages over decades
Schumer at OMB: Too much time has passed and lives lost – Mamaroneck deserves peace of mind and flood protection
Citing the tragic loss of more than forty lives in recent severe flooding in New York City, including five in Westchester County, US Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer called Shalanda Young, director of par Interim Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Urge the agency to give the green light to the Mamaroneck and Sheldrake River Flood Risk Management Project (the Project). The project has been stalled for the past two years by the Trump administration on the basis of flawed analysis, according to Schumer, despite strong support from the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), which would provide the boots on the land needed for construction.
“The previous administration bottled this vital OMB prison flood mitigation project on the basis of flawed logic and I called Acting Warden Young to get out of this traffic jam,” said Senator Schumer. “I’m happy to report that OMB has agreed to go ahead with the project, which brings us one step closer to placing shovels in the ground. “
“Following the horrific flooding in Mamaroneck earlier this month, which caused millions of dollars in damage, terrorized the community and claimed the lives of one person, the current administration should be given the green light for the risk of flooding of the Mamaroneck and Sheldrake rivers. Management project “, Schumer added. “People are dying as a result of severe flooding in New York City and the federal government should and must do everything in its power to mitigate flood risk and save lives. This is why I personally called the acting director of OMB Young to make sure that the OMB is ready to approve the project and finally to protect and rebuild the community of Mamaroneck which has already suffered for decades to cause of severe flooding.
“Since the last drop of rain fell, I’ve been advocating for our community to finally get funding for the Army Corps of Engineers plan for Mamaroneck. We were very close in 2018 to the realization of the plan, then the previous administration pulled the rug out from under us. I thank Senator Schumer for making this personal appeal to the top OMB official so that we can remove the red tape of the past and finally move forward to get the project back on track with the current administration at Washington “, Mamaroneck Village Mayor Tom Murphy said.
Schumer traveled to Mamaroneck the day after Hurricane Ida passed through the area, where underprivileged residents living in the USACE project area reported that 14 feet of water flooded the area, forcing them to evacuate their homes. and seek shelter in the middle of the night. There have been more than 150 water rescues, 535 flooded houses, 1,000 displaced people and 310 abandoned cars. The Village has reported over $ 18M in damage and over $ 75M in residential and commercial damage. Five residents of Westchester have also tragically lost their lives in the flooding, including one in Mamaroneck, bringing the total number of people who have died in Mamaroneck to three as a result of persistent flooding over the past 25 years.
The project was first envisioned in response to a 2007 Nor’easter storm, which produced record flooding in the village of Mamaroneck, equivalent to one percent flooding. Senator Schumer visited the area the day after the storm to personally assess the extent of the significant damage. The 2007 event caused more than $ 50 million in damage and affected more than 50 percent of the total structures in the study area. The storm caused flood waters to peak on the Mamaroneck River in about four hours and in about six hours on the Sheldrake River. Thus, the evacuation time of approximately 19,000 residents of the village of Mamaroneck was severely limited and created a high risk situation. More than 40 percent of Mamaroneck residents needed evacuation assistance before the flood waters peak, including a large population of children attending a school in the epicenter of the severe flooding.
Following this, in March 2010, a design agreement was signed by the Army Corps, the NYS Department of Conservation (NYSDEC) and Westchester County for a pre-construction engineering and design study. Meanwhile, severe flooding again occurred during Hurricanes Irene and Lee in 2011. Flooding spread several blocks on both sides of Mamaroneck Avenue. Repeated disasters, including shoreline flooding caused by Super Storm Sandy in 2012, caused extensive damage and severely affected the local economy. As a result of a $ 4.7 million study guaranteed by Schumer by the Army Corps, the project was recommended by the Chief Engineers and Schumer fought successfully to clear the construction of this project in the part of the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018. However, in February 2020, it was discovered that the Trump administration would not go ahead with construction of the project due to the benefit-cost ratio used by the OMB, arousing concern and indignation in the community.
If lit, the project would reduce the risk of flooding to the Mamaroneck and Sheldrake river basins and protect residents and business owners by constructing retaining walls and a bypass culvert. The project would also make it possible to deepen and widen the river canals, to raise structures and to remove / replace 2 vehicular bridges which restrict the flow of floods. The plan is expected to potentially reduce average annual damage by around 87% and help reduce the risk of death.