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For Release: Tuesday, September 3, 2013

DEC Awards $564,000 in Grants to Mitigate Flooding, Improve Water Quality and Identify Effective Shoreline Protections

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Hudson River Estuary Program, in partnership with the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC), had awarded 11 grants totaling more than $484,000 to fund projects that contribute to watershed resiliency in the face of climate change, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. In addition, the Stevens Institute of Technology and ARCADIS were awarded $80,000 to research effective shoreline protection strategies in New York City.

"These grants further Governor Cuomo's vision of building back smarter and better after recent devastating storms, while aggressively adapting to on-coming climate change," DEC Commissioner Martens said. "These projects will enhance the environmental health of the Hudson estuary and help mitigate the impacts of flooding."

"NEIWPCC is pleased to be able to support Hudson River Estuary communities take steps to mitigate flooding in the watershed by enhancing the ability of the natural environment to slow and absorb water," said Ron Poltak, NEIWPCC executive director. "Recent severe storms have shown us that the threat of an ever-changing climate is real and it is essential that communities prepare themselves for future events."

The grant to ARCADIS will help explore how natural buffers (green infrastructure) can be used to reduce erosion and property damage from storm surges, wave action and flooding caused by coastal storms along New York City, while also sustaining a healthy ecosystem. The shoreline protection strategies, such as natural or engineered reefs, islands, or marshes, will be analyzed for protective function, ecological values, restoration or construction cost, maintenance requirements, and resiliency to coastal hazards.

The funding will help achieve goals of the 2010-2014 Hudson River Estuary Action Agenda, a forward-looking plan for conserving, protecting and revitalizing the Hudson River estuary. Grants totaling more than $484,000 will be awarded to the following organizations:

The Lower Hudson Coalition of Conservation Districts (LHCCD) will receive $144,400 for region-wide demonstrations of green infrastructure techniques that will take place through four separate projects. These include rain gardens, porous pavement systems, roofwater collection and reuse and a green roof, all of which are intended to capture and treat stormwater. In addition, LHCCD will develop a document planning boards can use to evaluate the green infrastructure planning process in site plan proposals.

City of Kingston, $50,400 to design and implement a Rondout Creek Combined Overflow Sewer Monitoring System. A series of in-pipe wireless sensors will be installed to notify city staff and residents via an online portal to overflow conditions.

Town of Hamptonburgh, $50, 000 to evaluate options for removal or modification of Brown's Pond Dam to reduce flooding upstream of the dam and allow for upstream migration of fish.

SUNY Research Foundation, $47,765 to develop information supporting the assessment of stream resilience throughout the lower Hudson River watershed. Researchers will evaluate biodiversity data and develop predictive models for water quality metrics, macroinvertebrate biodiversity, freshwater mussels, and rare species for all stream reaches in the Hudson River Valley.

eDesign Dynamics for City of Newburgh, $47, 298. eDesign will determine the feasibility of green methods to improve combined sewer overflows (CSOs) within the City of Newburgh that discharge into the Hudson River.

Riverkeeper, $46,462 for water quality monitoring on the Hudson River Estuary and six tributaries, along with associated outreach and communications. The funds will support the ongoing measurement of the presence of Eneterococcus, a sewage-indicating baceterium, which are analyzed at 74 set locations from the New York Harbor to above the federal dam at Troy.

Orange County Water Authority, $29, 733 (OCWA). OCWA, in partnership with the Orange County Department of Planning and Regional Plan Association, will create a watershed management supplement to the Orange County Design Guide. The Hudson Watershed Management Guide will include illustrations of best management practices and design concepts at the landscape, neighborhood and site scale.

Siena College, $20,000 to conduct water quality and quantity monitoring in the Kromma Kill watershed to identify potential pollution sources, water quality areas of concern, and restoration opportunities in the watershed.

Town of Hyde Park Flood, $20,000 to design two projects to increase flood resilience in neighborhoods that are repeatedly damaged by major flooding. In the Hamlet of Staatsburg, the grant will fund an engineering study for stormwater retention and/or redirection on the adjacent Dinsmore Golf Course. In the Roosevelt Road neighborhood, the town will use funds to produce conceptual plans and cost estimates to determine the best flood mitigation measures.

SUNY New Paltz, $20,000 for continued water quality monitoring in the Saw Mill Creek watershed, the installation of a rain water harvesting system at LeFevre Hall and a stormwater mitigation master plan for north campus.

River Haggie Outdoors, $8,000 to increase public involvement and improve understanding of watershed protection methods and complex flooding issues through education and outreach in the upper reaches of the Greater Stockport Creek watershed located in southern Rensselaer and northern Columbia counties. Funding will support the Stream Spotter volunteer monitoring program, water quality monitoring equipment, and printing costs for outreach materials.

The Hudson River Estuary Program is a project of the NYS Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). In recent years, the Estuary Program has directed increasing staff effort and program resources into helping communities adapt to climate change while also improving the long-term health of the ecosystem. For more information on the grants awarded for the Hudson River Estuary Program, contact Fran Dunwell, NYSDEC Hudson River Estuary Program, at 845-256-3016 and visit the DEC website.

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