DEC Awards $317,000 Grants to Reduce Flooding and Restore Aquatic Habitats in Hudson River Estuary - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation

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For Release: Friday, June 1, 2018

DEC Awards $317,000 Grants to Reduce Flooding and Restore Aquatic Habitats in Hudson River Estuary

Awards to Rensselaer, Columbia, and Ulster Counties will Reduce Flood Risk and Protect Natural Resources

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced $316,767 in grant funding for three projects to help reduce localized flooding and restore aquatic habitats in tributary streams of the Hudson River Estuary. Funding for these projects is provided by the State's Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) and is administered by DEC's Hudson River Estuary Program in partnership with the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC).

"Governor Cuomo has made record investments to protect and restore the Hudson River, create new and expanded recreation access, and improve community resiliency," said Commissioner Seggos. "Partnering with communities, environmental groups, and civic organizations, New York has significantly improved the ecological health and resiliency of the Hudson River Estuary, and these grants will sustain these efforts into the future."

The grants will help communities on the shores of the Hudson River and its tributaries plan for flood mitigation and culvert replacement projects to restore aquatic habitat for American eel and river herring-ocean species that migrate into the estuary and then into streams to spawn or complete their life cycle. Removing these stream barriers also will benefit resident fish such as trout and will help communities with existing and projected impacts of localized flooding by removing constrictions.

Susan Sullivan, NEIWPCC Executive Director, said, "NEIWPCC is pleased to be able to help Hudson River Estuary communities to reduce localized flooding and improve passage for aquatic organisms."

Funded projects are:

Rensselaer County: Poesten Kill Watershed Flood Mitigation, $110,000

The Rensselaer Plateau Alliance (RPA) will identify flood risks and evaluate natural flood management approaches (e.g., forests, wetlands, and floodplains) and more traditional engineering approaches. This work will assist communities in the Poesten Kill watershed, including the towns of Poestenkill, Grafton, and Brunswick and the city of Troy, to improve flood resilience and protect natural resources. Priority will be given to areas that have experienced flood damage and to natural mitigation measures such as stream channel restoration, modifications to floodplain infrastructure, and wetland and forest protection and restoration.

Columbia County: Roeliff Jansen Kill Headwaters Road Stream Crossing Management Plan, $104,967

Trout Unlimited, in partnership with the towns of Copake and Hillsdale, will identify and prioritize road-stream crossing replacement projects to reduce stream habitat fragmentation and improve community flood resiliency in the headwaters of the Roeliff Jansen Kill (Roe Jan). This project area includes headwater streams and rivers in the Roeliff Jansen Kill watershed and portions of headwaters of the Taghkanic Creek, Bash Bish, and Agawanuck Creek. The headwaters support native species such as Eastern Brook Trout and American Eel. Priority will be given to inadequately sized culverts that threaten both community road infrastructure and the ability for fish and wildlife to move freely in streams and their corridors.

Ulster County: Town of Esopus Road-Stream Crossing Municipal Management Plan, $101,800

The environmental engineering firm Tighe & Bond will develop a road-stream crossing municipal management plan for road-stream crossings within the town of Esopus encompassing streams that include the Swate Kill-Wallkill River tributaries, Black Creek, Twaalfskil Brook, and Rondout Creek tributaries including all culverts under town and county jurisdiction. The Black Creek in Esopus is an American Eel sampling site and is a known river herring spawning run. In addition to the municipal management plan, Tighe & Bond will produce three conceptual culvert mitigation designs and a 100 percent shovel- ready engineering design.

In the 2018-19 State Budget, Governor Cuomo sustained the record-high Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) at $300 million for the third year in a row, providing funding for open space conservation, parkland stewardship, and other environmental protection project, including grants to reduce flooding and restore the Hudson River Estuary.

The Hudson River Estuary Program helps people enjoy, protect, and revitalize the Hudson River and its valley. Created in 1987, the program focuses on the tidal Hudson and its adjacent watershed from the dam at Troy to the Verrazano Narrows in New York City.

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