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AVALON - Avalon Borough Engineer Thomas Thornton Nov. 16 presented the 2020 Floodplain Management Plan Evaluation Report to Avalon Borough Council, which represents a status report on activities and the formal annual recertification of the 2015 Floodplain Management Plan (FMP).  

Avalon, one of 13 communities in the nation that has earned a level 3 rating in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Community Rating System (CRS), took a step, in 2015, to establish its own Floodplain Management Committee (FMC), gaining CRS points in the bargain.  

This year’s evaluation report highlighted the borough achieving its class 3 CRS status, in 2020, and its desire to pursue a higher classification in 2021.  

Business Administrator Scott Wahl told council members that the borough hopes to achieve class 2 status. Each move up in the rating system gains property owners a 5% additional discount on federal flood insurance premiums. Avalon’s class 3 status provides a 35% discount to its residents.  

Among the highlights in this year’s report are the recent improvements to the Eighth Street jetty, a plan to provide for emergency transfer of sand to vulnerable dunes in advance of threatening storms, the development of standard operation procedures for pre-storm activities, and the use of data from its flood sensor program in the development of flood mitigation efforts. 

The report also noted the borough’s participation in a Seven Mile Island program for using dredge material for marsh elevation and rejuvenation, along with planned enhancements to the Bay Park Marina. 

Throughout the presentation, borough officials commended the work of the volunteer FMC, which takes advantage of various areas of expertise among borough residents.  

Thornton commented on developing plans for a pump replacement at the 11th Street pump station, saying that the proposed upgrade to the pumps and use of a gravity drainage system along Avalon Avenue would likely improve drainage issues in the frequently flooded north end of the community. He indicated that the borough would also be considering a possible pump station in the business district. 

A project of the Avalon Public Works Department could result in the distribution of color-coded displays that would inform residents and visitors of the water depths associated with forecasts of various levels of flooding in specific areas of the borough. The intent is to bring clarity to forecasts of low, moderate, or high flood potential associated with weather predictions.  

Council also heard of efforts to potentially establish a local tide gauge in the community. Thornton spoke on the value of regular data on local tide movements. 

In 2021, Avalon will conduct a required five-year update of its FMP. 

To contact Vince Conti, email vconti@cmcherald.com. 

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