Standing in a section of Lambertville on Tuesday where Tropical Storm Ida’s floodwaters swept two homes into a creek last fall, Gov. Phil Murphy announced a series of new flood protection investments, including $50 million for the Blue Acres homeowner buyout program.

Murphy said officials know which parts of the state are most prone to have flooding issues during severe storms, “so we will use the Blue Acres program as a preemptive tool to work with those homeowners and communities to buy out those properties and turn them into open space before they suffer another catastrophic loss.”

Gov. Phil Murphy. David Matthau, Townsquare Media NJ
Gov. Phil Murphy. David Matthau, Townsquare Media NJ
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The governor said plans are also in the works to embark on a comprehensive program of improving and shoring up our resilience infrastructure “facilitating more than $1 billion in new federal investments statewide, to study and design but most importantly build new hard flood prevention infrastructure projects in some of our most flood-prone watersheds.”

Stormwater Management

“We’re also making possible $10 million in new grant funds for communities to put to use to plan better stormwater management, and undertake green infrastructure projects,” he said.

He said work will continue to modernize flood hazard standards in New Jersey “so all buildings and critical infrastructure in our state are built to withstand the test of time and the test of stronger and more potentially damaging storms.”

Help people get prepared

Environmental Commissioner Shawn LaTourette said the state is "seeing more and more extreme weather events."

“We must help communities get ahead of the next storm," he said. "Our communities are tired of recovering from storms, it’s time we help them become more resilient instead.”

FEMA Morris County NJ disaster areas
Ida flooding (Morris County)
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On Sept. 1, Tropical Storm Ida unleashed severe weather throughout the State, including strong winds, tornadoes, and heavy and sustained rainfall reaching up to 10 inches in some areas.

The result was extreme flooding, significant damage to many homes, public facilities and other buildings, structures, and the loss of 29 lives.

The $50 million in new funding for the Blue Acres Buyout Program consists of $40 million FEMA COVID-19 Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funds and $10 million in FEMA “Swift Current” funds.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at david.matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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