HomeDelran NewsUS Army Corps of Engineers agrees to study erosion along Rancocas Creek

US Army Corps of Engineers agrees to study erosion along Rancocas Creek

Mayor calls agreement 'major step in the right direction'

Courtesy of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Philadelphia District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Philadelphia District Commander Lt. Col. Jeffrey Beeman signed a feasibility cost sharing agreement with Delran Township Mayor Gary Catrambone during a ceremony on June 24 in council chambers.

What happened in council chambers on June 24 has been 12 years in the making.

Mayor Gary Catrambone alongside U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Philadelphia District Commander Lt. Col. Jeffrey Beeman signed a feasibility cost sharing agreement, which initiates a study – under Section 14 of the district’s Continuing Authorities Program – to investigate shoreline erosion problems and opportunities.

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Currently, critical infrastructure is vulnerable to erosion in the study area, which is located along the Rancocas Creek, approximately 0.25 miles from the confluence of the Delaware River along River Drive, directly parallel to Hawk Island. Erosion from Rancocas Creek threatens to undermine the Delran Sewer Plant and stormwater infrastructure along River Drive.

Additionally, the newly opened Rancocas Creek River Trail is also vulnerable. Burlington County has received and invested more than $19.3 million in grants towards trail projects, including the first 4-mile segment of the Rancocas Creek Greenway Trail between Amico Island Park in Delran and Pennington Park in Delanco. The first segment of the Rancocas Creek Greenway was completed in 2022.

The study area includes the Delran Sewer Plant and River Drive.

“I’m grateful for the partnership of Delran Township,” said Beeman. “Our team will use sound science and engineering to guide us through the process to compare alternatives and ultimately develop a recommendation based on our findings.”

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Continuing Authorities Program is a group of nine legislative authorities under which USACE can plan, design, and implement certain types of water resources projects without additional project specific congressional authorization. The purpose of the program is to plan and implement projects of limited size, cost, scope, and complexity.

Catrambone said “to have finally signed a contract with the Army Corps of Engineers is a major step in the right direction for Delran.”

“After 12 years of working to get on their radar, we have connected with them and reached an agreement to address the issues we have preserving the stream bank,” he said. “This contract will serve as the first step to protect the land that runs along the confluence of the Rancocas Creek and the Delaware River.”

The issues of continuous flooding during high tides and rainstorms for the Riverside Park neighborhood came to a head in January as Delaware River’s tide crested at 11.99 during a rainstorm – higher than Superstorm Sandy in 2012 and Hurricane Ida in 2021.

Several of the 100 one-to-two story homes were left uninhabitable. First responders had to conduct a number of water rescues – three in Delran.

The intense Jan. 9 storm dropped between 2 to 3 inches of rain across most of the county, adding to already high rivers, streams and water tables and causing the Delaware River to crest at a record-breaking 11.99 feet. That created severe flooding conditions along the Route 130 corridor.

Hundreds of concerned residents had packed council chambers a few weeks after the storm to discuss the continuous flooding issues that has plagued the area at a Town Hall meeting.

“I feel like I am standing alone on an island. I have lived here for 25 years,” Alden Avenue resident Jodi Klein had said at the town hall.

Klein lost two vehicles and had her house condemned during heavy rains on Jan. 9 and 10. She and her son had to be water rescued out of the home.

What’s next?

“Now that we have signed an agreement with the ACE, their timeline indicates that they will likely take about a year to study the problem, then six months or so to plan a solution,” Catrambone said.

“There are certainly many factors that will come into play as we are dealing with the federal government,” the mayor added. “I don’t expect the work to begin for at least 18 months. But, knowing that this federal organization is going to study this issue is tremendously important to the residents of the Riverside Park section of Delran.”


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