January 7, 2015 |
Every eight months or so, Rose Valley Creek breaches its banks, sending two to three inches of water around the old trees, across the fields, and up to the Quinn family's front door in Ambler. Flooding is a perennial problem in Ambler, a small Montgomery County borough criss-crossed by creeks and downstream from miles of suburban runoff. If the Wissahickon Valley were a bathtub, Ambler would be the drain. So when a developer in the fall introduced plans to build houses on the only untouched creek-side lots, neighbors were up in arms.
January 31, 2013 |
Shore houses that have been in working-class families for generations will be abandoned. Property values will spiral downward, leaving Shore towns' budgets in tatters. That is the dire scenario painted by a growing coalition of federal, state, and local officials along the Jersey Shore after Gov. Christie's announcement last week that New Jersey would adopt the federal government's preliminary floodplain maps - which would effectively require houses along large swaths of the Shore to be elevated to protect against future storm surges.
February 6, 2011 |
In a former life, David Bollinger was a paramedic who was involved in more than his share of swift-water rescues. As a point man in the Federal Emergency Management Agency's mammoth project to remap America's floodplains, he is dealing with torrents of a different kind. For the last eight years, FEMA has been remaking its aging flood-map stock, playing catch-up with changes along waterways wrought by development, storm patterns, and natural processes. Around here, Montgomery and Bucks Counties now are going through a laborious process already played out in thousands of towns all over the country, including those in Chester, Delaware, and Gloucester Counties.
January 4, 2009 |
During his long career as a civil engineer for Pennsylvania's Department of Transportation, Steve Lester often did not feel the love. There were stalled projects, killed projects, funding shortages and accusations from the public that his agency wasn't doing enough to make dangerous roads safe or traffic-choked routes less so. "It wasn't dull," said Lester, whose 30-year odyssey at PennDot took him from intern to district engineer. When he retired in December 1994, he was responsible for 1,000 employees, more than 3,900 miles of state highways and 2,600 state-owned bridges.
January 17, 2008 |
The Delaware River is often recognized as the last major free-flowing river east of the Mississippi. But this does not mean the Delaware is totally unscathed by dams. Three dams that sit on the Delaware's major headwater tributaries allow New York City to draw up to 800 million gallons per day of Delaware River water to support their communities in the Hudson watershed. Flows from the reservoirs also ensure drinking-water supplies for downstream communities, including Philadelphia. The massive size of these obstructions and their storage capacity have a dominating effect on the health and flows of the entire river, affecting all communities in this watershed.
January 7, 2007 |
After staunchly defending the adequacy of its floodplain mapping, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has changed course - endorsing the far more rigorous science used by a team of Philadelphia researchers to chart one of the region's most perilous flood zones. FEMA officials said Friday that Temple University's work in the Pennypack Creek watershed was unsurpassed in detail, and could become the model for assessing flood risk in high-growth areas nationwide. Just a few months ago, FEMA cited that precision as its reason for refusing to add Temple's maps to the national archive, saying they exceeded the agency's standards.
October 1, 2006 |
Between closed roads and floating cars, swamped houses and hysterical homeowners, life hasn't been easy for community officials in the flood-plagued Pennypack Creek watershed. On Friday, it got considerably harder. And there was barely a rain cloud in sight. This tempest was indoors, swirling around a set of floodplain maps newly produced by a team of Temple University scientists. When the winds died down in the meeting room at the school's Fort Washington campus, municipal leaders went home to fret over a choice they'd rather not have to make: To adopt Temple's unprecedentedly detailed floodplain maps as a guide to development and land use in their communities?
January 21, 2005
State can't afford to reject offer of Petty's Island Kathleen Fallstick (letter to the editor, "A state commissioner needs some instruction," Jan. 11) and Pennsauken officials are mistaken if they believe Cherokee's development plan would make Petty's Island "cleaner. " First, Cherokee plans to dump millions of cubic feet of dredge spoil on Petty's Island to raise it above the 100-year floodplain. Two-thirds of the island is now below that floodplain. Second, Cherokee plans to cover the island with an 18-hole golf course, hundreds of high-income homes, and a 250-room hotel.
August 3, 2004 |
All along Cobbs Creek, Naylors Run and Darby Creek in Delaware County and Philadelphia, residents want their persistent flooding problems solved. Unfortunately, short of moving them out, there may not be much anyone can do, a storm water expert from Villanova University said yesterday. "Sometimes, you just get too much rain," said Robert Traver, a professor and director of the Villanova Urban Stormwater Partnership. "The bottom line is, if they're in the floodplain, there may not be an easy way. " Right now, however, there are no plans to move Bill Sams from his home on 13th Street in Darby Borough, about 50 yards from Darby Creek.