The first in a series of online, interactive flood-preparation maps has been released by the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
The maps are designed to assist emergency management personnel and keep residents living in the Passaic River Basin better informed about flood events as they happen.
The first map covers a nearly 3-mile stretch of the Passaic River from Lodi to Saddle River. Several tabs on the map show the current and historical water levels and links to other information about the river at that a specific location.
Users can also sign up for flood alerts from the site.
The information used to collect the information for a specific gauge has been updated to provide a more accurate reading than the ones gathered from the National Weather Service’s River Forecast Center.
Bob Considine, a press officer with the DEP, said there are no immediate plans to add a map for a location on part of a river that floods in Wayne.
The project is a collaborative effort between the DEP, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“These online maps, intuitive and easy for anyone to use, provide real-time information to residents about conditions during significant rainfalls and will assist local, state, and federal officials in making critical decisions to protect the public in the event of flooding,” said DEP Commissioner in a statement.
The 1,000-square mile basin covers portions of Passaic, Morris, and Bergen Counties.
Improving flood mapping in the basin is one of the recommendations in the Passaic River Basin Advisory Commission’s 15-point plan for short- and long-term measures to help mitigate the impact of flooding in the basin. The DEP updated the plan earlier this year.
The commission recommended officials release better information to the public to help residents and officials better prepare for flood emergencies.
Gov. Chris Christie formed the commission in 2011 in response to a series of damaging floods in the basin.
Seventeen other maps highlighting critical areas of the basin will be created “in the coming months,” the DEP said in a statement. Other locations include Pompton Plains along the Pompton River, Little Falls along the Passaic River, and in Mahwah and Oakland, which are located upstream from Wayne, along the Wanaque River.