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For Release: Friday, November 14, 2014

DEC Announces $183,000 In Grants To Improve Hudson River Access And Environmental Protections

Funding will help Hudson River Estuary communities improve water quality and increase storm resiliency

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens today announced $183,000 in grants for 80 projects to help communities in the Hudson River Estuary watershed improve recreation access and estuary education, protect water quality, enhance tributary fish habitats and increase storm resiliency.

"Working with local communities, environmental groups and civic organizations, New York has significantly improved the environmental health of the Hudson River estuary," DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said. "Governor Cuomo has made important investments to protect the river, create new and expanded recreation access and upgrade community resiliency, which allows us to realize the potential of this historic waterway. These awards will provide another boost to the Hudson River and its shoreline communities."

The grants are being provided through New York's Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) and the Natural Resource Damages Fund (NRD), and will be administered by DEC's Hudson River Estuary Program (HREP). The awards align with Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) strategies and the goals of the 2010-2014 Hudson River Estuary Action Agenda to conserve or improve: clean water; waterway access; resiliency; fish, wildlife and their habitats; river scenery; and a vital ecosystem.

The grants include:

The Columbia County Soil & Water Conservation District -- $52,600
The district will replace an undersized culvert on Preusser Road at Hollowville Creek, which provides potential spawning habitat for brook trout. This project is part of a phased effort to remove constrictions on the stream to improve fish habitat and reduce flood risks in the Town of Claverack. Stream quality improvements will also support trout populations, which are sensitive to environmental conditions, which will benefit trout anglers.

Village of Wappingers Falls, Dutchess County -- $50,000
The village will remove fencing and invasive plant species, install signage, plant a riparian buffer and landscape a newly vacant waterfront lot to provide recreational access to the tidal portion of the Wappinger Creek. The new waterfront access will allow residents in the environmental justice neighborhood to establish a stronger connection to the estuary.

Hudson River Maritime Museum (HRMM), Ulster County -- $25,000
This project will replace three existing commercial docks on the Rondout Creek and low docks for rowing crews and kayakers. The new docks will be safer for community organizations and others who use these HRMM facilities to access the waterfront, and will also be more resilient to potential flooding.

Sarah Lawrence College, Westchester County -- $14,348
The college will purchase smart boards, data displays and web cams for its Center for the Urban River at Beczak (CURB) on the Hudson River Estuary in Yonkers. The web cams will enable CURB to connect with other regional and national educational sites and research centers. CURB also has a sandy beach, tidal marsh, two-acre park, and an interpretive center that hosts environmental education programs and community events for an underserved urban neighborhood.

Teatown Lake Reservation, Inc., Westchester County -- $11,109
The funding is for signage and promotional materials to improve access and attendance at the Kathryn W. Davis RiverWalk Center for River Ecology Education at Kingsland Point County Park in the Village of Sleepy Hollow. The project will expand Spanish language interpretation and outreach to potential users and provide information about the Hudson Estuary.

Outstanding Renewal Enterprises, Inc./Lower East Side Ecology Center, New York City -- $10,000
The funding will increase public recreation access to the East River in New York City. The waterfront access project at the Lower East Side Ecology Center includes the purchase of fishing poles and other equipment, as well as free fishing and kayaking clinics for the Lower East Side community. The programs are designed to help familiarize New York City residents of all ages and abilities with the ecology of the East River and estuary through hands-on exploration and family-friendly activities.

Town of Rochester, Ulster County -- $10,000
The town will complete an Open Space Inventory as part of Phase 1 of an Open Space Plan. The planning process is part of the Rondout Creek Restoration Plan, a collaboration with the towns of Wawarsing, Marbletown and Rosendale, and Ulster County, that will help to obtain public input on conservation priorities for the area. The Rondout Creek is a tributary of the Hudson River.

Riverkeeper, Inc., Multiple Counties -- $10,000
The organization will use the grant for water quality monitoring on the Hudson River estuary and tributaries to help recreational users of the river understand local water quality conditions.

For more information about these grants, contact HREP at 845-256-3016. The Hudson River Estuary Program is a project of the NYS Environmental Protection Fund. Please visit DEC's website for more information.

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