For Release: Friday, October 7, 2011
Emergency Authorization Period for Stream Repair Work Ends Oct. 8 for Most of the State
Emergency Authorization Continues for Three Southern Tier Counties Through Nov. 7
DEC Identifies Best Practices for Waterway Repair Work
The Emergency Authorization granted by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation that allowed local governments and landowners to conduct emergency construction and repairs in the wake of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee expires Oct. 8 with the exception of three counties in the Southern Tier, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens announced today.
"Restoring streams is important work and it must be done properly to ensure lives, property and the environment are protected," Commissioner Martens said. "Doing the work the right way minimizes the potential for future flood events while safeguarding the aquatic habitats. DEC will continue to collaborate with communities and move quickly to authorize work while ensuring protective standards are followed."
To complete and initiate repair work after Oct. 8 outside of Broome, Chenango and Tioga counties, local governments and landowners will need to obtain a General Permit from DEC. For those in the Adirondack Park, DEC will coordinate with the Adirondack Park Agency to obtain necessary approvals. Currently, DEC makes site visits within five days of receiving a request. DEC plans to continue to expedite review of requests to begin repair work.
"The Adirondack Park Agency will coordinate its authority with DEC in its issuance of the General Permit for wetland and designated river projects resulting from the storm event," APA Executive Director Terry Martino said.
The Emergency Authorization, which was issued under the direction of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, allowed communities and landowners in the Catskills, Mid-Hudson Valley, Capital District, Mohawk Valley, Adirondacks and Southern Tier to immediately undertake steps to repair damage caused by the storms without the need for a General Permit.
The Emergency Authorization is extended for Broome, Chenango and Tioga counties through Nov. 7 due to the cumulative effects of Tropical Storm Lee and subsequent rainfall. The rainfall events have prevented municipalities from starting projects immediately necessary to protect property.
(DEC has completed more than 1,300 site visits in the affected areas since Aug. 28, which resulted in documenting approximately 500 Emergency Authorizations and issuing approximately 600 General Permits.
DEC staff is working collaboratively with the NYS Department of Transportation, the Adirondack Park Agency and local governments to inspect work performed under Emergency Authorizations to help ensure no unnecessary harm was done, and the environment and property are protected during future storm events. In cases where work may have been improperly completed, DEC is working with local municipalities to help ensure waterways are adequately repaired to prevent future floods and preserve habitat.
Municipalities and landowners that performed work under the Emergency Authorization but have not yet contacted DEC are asked to do so by contacting their regional permit administrator. After Oct. 8, municipalities and private landowners should follow the General Permit guidelines to obtain the required authorization to complete or start repairs by contacting their regional permit administrator (PDF 631 kb).
DEC outlined best practices for performing repairs to streams and other waterways under both Emergency Authorizations and General Permits:
- Minimize the creation or potential release of turbid (muddy) water into a waterbody;
- Do not pile excavated materials on stream banks and do not construct berms next to streams;
- Consult DEC before any stream channel activity, including dredging, is performed;
- Restore stream channels to their pre-flood characteristics including such factors as cross sectional shape, gradient and bottom type (gravel, rocks, boulders etc.). Streams should not be widened or deepened;
- Design and build bridges to safely pass flood flows without causing restrictions that can cause damming and additional flooding. Proper design can have additional benefits such as not constraining aquatic life movement.
More information on proper techniques required under the General Permit can be found at: