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Himes Announces Federal Flood Control Funding

Fairfield County leaders join forces to improve flood control

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Stamford, CT | Added on March 14, 2015 At 08:59 AM

Towns and cities within Fairfield county will join forces to implement flood prevention options. 

Congressman Jim Himes Announced Friday morning that he has secured $300,000 in federal funding for the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a feasibility study aimed at improving flood control in Fairfield County. 

"This is really the opening of a door in a very difficult budget environment where we are not opening a lot of those doors to addressing some really difficult problems here in Fairfield County," said Himes. 

Himes met with public works officials, leaders, and engineers from Stamford, Fairfield, Weston, Wilton, Norwalk, and other surrounding towns at the Stamford Government Center to discuss the study, which includes coastal areas that were devastated by Hurricanes Irene and Sandy, and communities most frequently plagued by flooding.  

"The officials in the room today, they now need to come together and say who is going to work with the Corps of Engineers and split the cost with the Corps of Engineers to come up with the projects that we can do to. It's a 50/50 split and in a state where we don't have county government, that's a more challenging problem than it is elsewhere because towns need to come together, they need to work with the state of Connecticut and with various councils to prevent one partner to the core of engineers to get this work done." 

"We would look at an entire range, structural options, beaches, walls, things of that nature, non-structural, it could be house raising evacuation from the flood plane,"  said John Kennelly, Chief of Planning of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The first installment of the federal government's share of financing for the feasibility study will cover both Fairfield and New Haven counties. The study will be conducted over a three-year period with a $3 million cost shared by the federal government and a non-federal partner. 

"We will then package that into a report that we will present our entire headquarters within the core and it goes through an evaluation process which leads to what we call a CHIEF's report, that report is evaluated through the administration and then it's submitted to congress for consideration of funding and the majority of the project that are included in that CHIEF's report will then be cost-shared 65 percent by the federal government and 35 percent by a non-federal partner," said Kennelly. 

Superstorm Sandy cost the state more than $360 million in damage. Himes says there are many areas within the city of Stamford alone that most vulnerable to flooding. 

"When Sandy came through we got a pretty good illustration of where there are flooding difficulties and of course in Stamford, Shippan Point, where you had low lying areas that were very severely threatened, but more broadly speaking, even the more downtown area in Stamford, because of the river there, it can also flood and in particular there are already flood mitigation devices in Stamford and you want to make sure those are working well otherwise you can have a real problem in the downtown [area]," said Himes. 


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