This update, which was mailed 10/30/08 to residents of Lumberton, Medford, and Southampton, provided an update on the project undertaken by the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Burlington County Bridge Commission.
On behalf of the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Burlington County Bridge Commission, we would like to take this opportunity to advise you of an important milestone in the Rancocas Creek clean-up project—namely, that as of today, all debris has been removed from the 1.4 mile stretch of the creek in Southampton (known as “Reach 1”).
The contractor hired to undertake this project discovered and removed tons of debris in 41 different debris fields. The immediate impact: water in the creek is now flowing quickly and efficiently in this area, mitigating the possibility of future flooding there.
Our work is not done, however. Many residents have asked about the future of this project. Our plan is to remove debris from three more “reaches” in the Lumberton-Medford-Southampton watershed. Efforts are already underway to secure the necessary state permits and bid the remaining work. We anticipate that—by September of 2009—a total of nine miles of creek will have been “desnagged” and 166 debris fields cleared.
All emergency management personnel and engineers agree that a free-flowing creek will go a long way to avoiding the flooding that caused more than $25 million in damage to homes and businesses in the storms of 2004 and 2007. And please be assured that while the amount of work involved is extensive, the Freeholders and Bridge Commission remain committed to completing this project at no cost to local municipalities.
In summary, the Freeholders and Bridge Commission are pleased to be working with your municipality in this “shared service” project. Going forward, however, requires continued maintenance on the creek. With this in mind, local environmental and civic groups and other volunteers will be contacted in the future to participate in annual clean-ups in and along the creek to maintain a free-flowing waterway. We invite you, your family and friends to participate in these activities when they are announced.
Joseph B. Donnelly
Deputy Freeholder Director
John B. Comegno II
Chairman - BCBC