By John Elliott

SCOTCH PLAINS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — As high-level rain events become more frequent, flooding events are going to become more common, and as they become more destructive and expensive, it’s going to be crucial to identify the causes of that flooding.

“Missing and dying trees are one of the reasons that we’re seeing record flooding,” one expert told CBS2’s John Elliott.

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When a tree is healthy, it provides all kinds of benefits — it absorbs rain water, provides habitat, provides shade and it helps to clean the air.

With dying trees, however, you lose all of those benefits.

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“This old 300-year-old oak tree is dying because the roots were completely covered with heavy clay, a process which is done over and over in our area, increasing the flooding in our area,” an expert explained.

It’s a delicate balancing act between development and the environment.

One new development in Scotch Plains took out about 100 trees, which led to six feet of water in the basement and three inches on the first floor during Ida in a nearby home that’s been there for 46 years.

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Experts are also adamant about trimming trees and getting branches down.

John Elliott