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Nine months after Sandy, Bergen County hires first flood management director
Aug 23, 2013

HACKENSACK — Less than 10 months after Hurricane Sandy sent a tidal surge through large portions of the area, Bergen County has hired its first-ever flood management and control coordinator.

Elizabeth "Betsy" Stagg, a member of Oakland's Borough Council, is both a certified flood plain manager and licensed civil engineer. She has also served on the county's Flood Advisory Council.

In a statement, County Executive Kathleen Donovan said she decided to create the $72,000-per-year post as part what she called an "aggressive and proactive approach to flooding issues."

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Elizabeth "Betsy" StaggCourtesy of Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan

The past several years have shown how vulnerable many of our communities are to major storms. With Betsy on board, I believe the county will be better able to ensure that our local, county, state and federal resources are directed to the best flood prevention projects possible," she said.

The announcement comes as low-lying portions of the county — particularly Moonachie and Little Ferry — continue recovery efforts after Sandy forced hundreds of families to flee floodwaters that engulfed their homes.

Stagg will be tasked with developing a strategy to deal with similar events by designing and making adjustments to infrastructure such as culverts, berms and flood gates, as well as desnagging rivers.

Projects further on the horizon will include addressing overdevelopment and addressing zoning issues with individual communities to ensure that materials that increase runoff will not be placed in flood-prone areas.

"We have to be cognizant of the fact that flooding downstream is often caused by actions upstream,” said County Adminstrator Ed Trawinski.

“Flooding is a shared concern. The actions of one community can have negative impact on other communities.”