A countywide collaboration with Monmouth County’s government, FEMA, Monmouth University Urban Coast Institute, New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium, National Park Service, Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve at Rutgers University, Navy Weapons Station Earle, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Verizon designed to raise the public’s awareness of flood risks and to encourage the mitigation of those risks was launched this morning in Middletown with the installation of a High Water Mark (HWM) sign at the Belford Ferry Terminal.
FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Program’s High Water Mark awareness program gives participating municipalities Community Rating System (CRS) points which result in residents of the community getting a break on their flood insurance premiums.
Municipal participation is voluntary and there is no cost to the towns for participating.
“Fourteen Monmouth County towns have joined the High Water Mark Initiative. These towns have made a commitment to improving their resiliency to future storms and in the process reduced flood insurance premiums for their residents,” said Freeholder Deputy Director Serena DiMaso, who oversees the county’s Office of Emergency Management.
As many as 100 High Water Mark (HWM) signs will be installed in prominent locations within participating municipalities. The signs aim to focus attention on the effects of flood waters in our area. The goal of the program is to ensure the public remains diligent about taking long-term actions to protect themselves, their property and their communities, and brings an added bonus of lowering flood insurance premiums for homeowners.
“Keeping the public aware of the risks associated with storms is a priority of the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, Office of Emergency Management,” said Sheriff Shaun Golden. “These signs will be strategically placed in participating towns and provide residents, visitors and businesses with a constant reminder of the flood risks that can occur with living near the coast. It further reminds them that they need to take the appropriate actions to prepare their families and mitigate their properties in advance of the impact from storms which produce flooding.”
In addition to installing the HWM signs, participating towns must also take comprehensive measures aimed at strengthening community resilience against future flooding, such as stormwater management projects, and building elevation in order to earn the CRS points that reduce residents’ flood insurance premiums.
“The signs will be a constant reminder that major flooding can occur in our coastal communities and should move residents and businesses to action, obtain flood insurance and prepare,” said Freeholder Director Thomas A. Arnone. “Whether it is making a plan, making a kit, or putting valuable information in waterproof containers, there are low-cost and no-cost ways to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our property from floods.”
Aberdeen, Atlantic Highlands, Avon, Belmar, Hazlet, Keansburg, Manasquan, Middletown, Monmouth Beach, Neptune, Ocean Township, Oceanport, Rumson and Sea Bright are currently participating in the High Water Mark Initiative, along with Naval Weapons Station Earle and the National Park Service’s Gateway National Recreation Area at Sandy Hook.
“Middletown is proud to be one of the first towns to participate in this program which will enhance residents safety and help them protect their property, and reduce the cost of flood insurance” said Mayor Gerald Scharfenberger, PhD.