Mamaroneck Mayor Blames Trump for Stalled Flood Control Project

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The Sheldrake River on Tuesday. It doesn’t take much to flood.

 

The Federal Government has postponed an already approved plan to fix and prevent dangerous flooding in Mamaroneck.

The planned Mamaroneck flood control project was delayed without fanfare Tuesday, as the Army Corps of Engineers posted its capital projects for 2021 and the already approved $80 million endeavor was conspicuously missing from the list.

Village of Mamaroneck Mayor Tom Murphy is livid about the unexpected postponement.  “The headline today should read ‘Trump to Mamaroneck: Drop Dead,'” he fumed.

“This administration is refusing to fund a project which Congress has already approved. They are putting life and property of all Mamaroneck residents at risk.”

The project, officially designated “The Mamaroneck and Sheldrake Rivers Basin Flood Risk Reduction,” is a combination of channel widening, retaining walls, and diversion culverts plus the elevation of 8 homes and one business property in the densely populated flood plain where the two rivers meet.

The area covers much of the village and has been inundated three times since 2007.  Janeen Minguillo is the Army Corp’s assigned project manager, and said it’s officially “still under assessment” and could be funded in subsequent budget years, but not in 2021.

Fenimore Road, Mamaroneck April, 2011

 

The most flood- prone areas of Mamaroneck are The Flats and Washingtonville with heavy concentrations of black and immigrant residents.

She noted that the Corps was recently made aware of a decision by the White House Office of Management and Budget to put the Congressionally approved plan on the back burner.  She quoted from a letter OMB sent to the Corps dated November 29, 2018, just weeks after the midterm elections, but oddly only received at the Corps operational offices this past December, 2019.

“OMB concludes the report review is not consistent with the policy and programs of the president,” the letter reads,  “and the project will need to compete for funding in future budgets.”   Mayor Murphy translated: “That’s government-ese for ‘you’re screwed.'”

Westchester County Legislator Catherine Parker, who represents the affected area, was shocked when she learned of the delay. “This is outrageous,” she said Tuesday night.

“This wasn’t the outcome we were expecting and is not one we can accept without further explanation.  The project is vital to this flood-prone area which has been the scene of one death, and hundreds of millions in economic damage in recent years.  This is the kind of climate change mitigation the federal government should be doing more of, not less.”

Both Westchester County and the Village of Mamaroneck have pledged a combined $32 million for their part of the project.  Parker is currently running for Congress to succeed Rep. Nita Lowey of Harrison largely on an environmental platform.

The Army Corps of Engineers designs and builds hundreds of civil projects around the country.  One of the closest is on Dune Road along the South Shore of Long Island. Insiders say that funding is safe due to the imminent threat of an ocean breach of the barrier island and the unexpected impact on Long Island’s Great South Bay.  It was also noted that if Mamaroneck were currently experiencing flooding it might change the project’s priority.  “Sadly,” the source noted “priorities are often crisis driven.”

The Corps Budget was posted on Tuesday

 

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5 thoughts on “Mamaroneck Mayor Blames Trump for Stalled Flood Control Project

  1. Mr Mayor, you should not be angry at the President for being careful how government spends taxpayers’ money. I am sure he reviewed the key elements of AC proposal and I can imagine his reaction: “What!? What kind of outdated, unsightly and cumbersome project is this? Wiping the nature clean, annexing private property and disturbing lives of thousands residents for years? Everybody and his brother knows that the only effective method to prevent flooding is building of an upstream reservoir. Their neighbors did it successfully. Tell them to revise accordingly, Eighty million dollars and counting? I am not paying for this crap! Next!”
    I happen to agree with President. Although the rivers were flooding for centuries, the crazy, uncontrollable race to build more and more in the flood zone has been going on for decades. Even your Regata straddles the river outlet to the Sound. You have to admit that we pretty much choked ourselves to death. Realistically, you cannot enlarge outflow channels sufficiently to accommodate all the excess of water. Everybody is a gun-ho about AC proposal, which is nothing more than creating bigger puddle in center, where everybody lives. Few important facts about it should also be known. It calls for removal of all trees and vegetation from the rivers’ banks; excavating and carting away thousands of tons of water absorbing soil and dumping hundreds of thousands tons of cement for walls and barriers. Despite of that, it will not prevent floods, rather, it will lower the flood water level by about 2′ 4″ or so. Thus if any of you unfortunate residents reading this gets flooded, measure 2′ 4″ below the last time flood water mark on the wall – this is going to be your new (regulated) flood water level in your house. But, no surprise – AC told us from the beginning that this is what we get. The project is a lemon – as the highest tax paying citizens of the state, we deserve better than a gutter flowing through the center of our communities. The only sensible way to control flooding is to prevent the water to flood the rivers by catching and storing it in upstream reservoir.
    There are also things we, waterfront residents can do to conserve and recirculate rain water, that nobody considered or talked about. I would like to invite you to my house in couple of months to see one in action (close to zero rain water run-off).
    Perhaps, Mr Mayor, instead of blaming Mr Trump for Mamaroneck flood (strange – there has not been any since he became a president) , you could ask him for advice what would be the best way to control our pesky river? After all, he has a lot of experience and proven record in construction and management of big projects.

  2. Trump has nothing to do with the holdup and this river has been flooding for decades now, why does Murphy try to pin the blame on Trump when he could fix the problem tomorrow if he wanted? He just wants someone else to spend the money which I get but then he needs to wait in line and if its so important he could have the Village of Mamaroneck fix it.

  3. So Mamaroneck has only been flooding since 2016 when Trump took over as President. I can swear this has been a ongoing issue for at least twenty to thirty years and probably even longer why wasn’t this addressed by a previous president or congressional members and this all falls on the feet of Trump. It’s easier to blame Trump and get some quick headlines instead of looking inward and wonder why this wasn’t done decades ago.

    • Although this project has been knocking around for many years, I don’t believe it’s has ever been fully funded by local government before. Both the county and the village of Mamaroneck committed their portion ($32M) and it was approved by Congress. The construction start was expected. Thousands of additional residents have moved into the flood plain and the Army Corps has an assigned a project manager. This wasn’t a matter of doing something, it was a matter of stopping something others were trying to do. Although hundred year floods have happened before here, there have been three since 2007. Mayor Murphy says he blames Trump because of the OMB’s reference to “The president’s policies.” Whatever the issues, it seems the local governments have finally done their part. They are missing one partner.

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