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April 4, 2014

Dr. Margaret McMenamin, President
Union County College
1033 Springfield Avenue
Cranford, New Jersey 07016

Dear Dr. McMenamin,

I am writing to express the opposition of the Rahway River Watershed
Association (RRWA) to the proposal by Union County College (UCC) to
build a combination athletic field and track in the existing woodlands on the
UCC campus in Cranford. The RRWA has been advocating for the health
and promotion of the Rahway River watershed for over 20 years.

As you are aware, Cranford and other communities in the Rahway River
watershed have been subjected to the devastating effects of flooding
associated with recent hurricanes, nor’easters, and other inclement weather
events. Existing open space, wetlands, and other forested areas in the
floodplain play a critical role in the watershed’s ability to absorb and retain
heavy rainfall during these types of events. The proposed removal of 700
mature trees and addition of new impervious surfaces will diminish this
ability. The proposed tree replacements will take many years to mature and
replace the ecosystem services (e.g., clean air, wildlife habitat, stormwater
absorption, etc.) provided by the existing trees.

The proposed diversion of stormwater generated by this proposed project
to Nomahegan Park is also a concern. Nomahegan Park plays an important
role in the hydrology of the Rahway River watershed and belongs to the
residents of Union County. During heavy rain events, the lake at
Nomahegan is often at capacity and is not able to act as detention basin for
new projects in the watershed. Using the lake as a detention pond, as
currently proposed, has the potential to increase flooding and associated
public and private property losses around the park and along the Rahway

The proposed project is also inconsistent with several of the regional
stormwater management initiatives occurring in the Rahway River
watershed. The Mayors Council on Stormwater Management, the Rahway
River Stormwater Advisory Board, RRWA, the Army Corps of Engineers,
and several associated workgroups are working on projects to mitigate
flooding in the Rahway River watershed in Essex and Union counties.
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Instead of complementing these efforts, UCC’s proposed project would further exacerbate
flooding concerns in Cranford and other downriver communities in the Rahway River

While the RRWA appreciates UCC's desire to have an on campus athletic facility, this desire
must be balanced with the very real environmental impacts of this proposal. As a responsible
member of the Cranford and extended Rahway River watershed community, we hope that
UCC will reconsider the proposed project in light of the anticipated environmental effects.
The RRWA is willing to work with UCC on the identification of alternatives and stormwater
mitigation measures for the proposed project.


Jeff Jotz