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For Release: Thursday, June 14, 2012

DEC and DOS Create Mighty Waters Working Group to Promote Economic Revitalization and Environmental Sustainability in the Mohawk River Valley Area

The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and NYS Department of State will create a multi-agency working group to promote community revitalization, environmental sustainability and flood-hazard risk reduction in the Mohawk River Valley, the agencies announced today. The working group will further the goals of Congressman Paul Tonko's Mighty Waters Initiative and support the work of the Mohawk Valley and Capital Region Economic Development Councils to promote economic development.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo directed DEC and DOS to establish the working group. DEC Commissioner Joe Martens and Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales will co-chair the working group, which will include representatives from the Economic Development Councils and a number of State agencies.

"Economic development and environmental stewardship go hand in hand," DEC Commissioner Martens said. "By establishing a Cabinet-level working group as part of the Mighty Waters partnership, Governor Cuomo is directing the state's technical expertise and know-how to make Congressman Tonko's remarkable vision a reality. The Mohawk River Valley and upper Hudson River deserve nothing less."

"Sustainable revitalization of the Mohawk Valley is the key to our State's future," said New York Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales. "We are excited about this collaboration with Congressman Tonko to create a more economically independent, community friendly and environmentally sustainable New York."

Congressman Paul Tonko said, "I commend Governor Cuomo's leadership on our shared vision of waterfront development and economic revitalization. These waterways were a source of great destruction and devastation during last year's floods. But as we continue the long, painful process of rebuilding and recovering from Irene and Lee, we must also recognize the potential for growth along these waterways. By working together, we can better manage the risk of floods, improve our environment, enhance our local quality of life, and most importantly - create jobs."

The working group will partner and collaborate with businesses, local governments, academic institutions, federal agencies, civic leaders and non-governmental organizations. The working group will also position the region to receive and strategically deploy federal resources that may become available.

Coordination of working group efforts toward economic development and community revitalization will be undertaken by DOS, which has worked extensively with localities in the Mohawk Valley to enhance community development through its Local Waterfront Revitalization program. This effort builds upon, and will work within, the Governor's Regional Economic Development Councils for the Capital Region and Mohawk Valley.

DEC will coordinate the working group's partnership efforts to improve environmental sustainability and flood hazard risk reduction - bringing elements of an award-winning watershed collaboration for the Hudson River Watershed to the Mohawk River Valley.

The working group will also coordinate with the Cleaner Greener Communities Program administered by NYSERDA. That program will fund the development of comprehensive sustainability plans in the Mohawk Valley and Capital Region. Additional state agencies participating in the working group include Department of Agriculture and Markets, Empire State Development Corporation, New York State Canal Corporation, State Office of Emergency Management and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

The working group builds upon prior State support for Congressman Tonko's Mighty Waters initiative. Congressman Tonko is hosting the annual Mighty Waters conference today at Union College in Schenectady.

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