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For Release: Thursday, August 31, 2023

Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado and DEC Announced $600,000 in Mohawk River Watershed Grant Awards

Funds Will Help 14 Projects Conserve, Preserve, and Restore Mohawk River Watershed

Lt. Governor Antonio Delgado and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced $600,000 in grants awarded to implement the goals and objectives of the Mohawk River Basin Action Agenda 2021-2026. (PDF) The Action Agenda is a five-year plan advancing efforts to conserve, preserve, and restore the Mohawk River and its watershed and the grants will support local partnerships and initiatives throughout the region.  

"The Mohawk River Watershed is one of upstate New York's essential environmental and economic treasures," Lt. Governor Delgado said.  "These grants will go to protecting the Mohawk River habitats, improving water quality, building a more resilient region and ensuring a cleaner, more sustainable future for our state."

"DEC's Mohawk River Watershed Grants program is investing in key projects that will protect and enhance the Mohawk River while helping manage the watershed's resources for a sustainable future," Commissioner Seggos said. "This unique region is an environmental, recreational, and economic asset and these grants are promoting sustainability and improving the health of the region's fish and wildlife habitat, as well as its drinking water."

Located wholly within the boundaries of New York State, the Mohawk River is the largest tributary to the Hudson River and its watershed, encompassing 14 counties and 172 municipalities. DEC developed the Mohawk River Basin Action Agenda (PDF) to bring together local, State, and federal agencies and other stakeholders committed to the conservation and preservation of the Mohawk River, its watershed, and communities.

Designed to mirror and complement DEC's Hudson River Estuary Program, DEC's Mohawk River Basin Program fosters partnerships regionwide to manage and protect the natural resources of the river and its watershed for a sustainable future. The Mohawk River Basin Program acts as the coordinator of watershed-wide activities, assisting in the development of partnerships throughout the area to provide a framework for collaboration. The success of this program requires the involvement of stakeholders and the creation of partnerships with established programs and organizations throughout the watershed.

Through the Mohawk River Basin Action Agenda, DEC, along with collaborating stakeholders and partners, promotes decision-making based on an understanding of the entire ecosystem, recognizing that complex issues within the region cannot be fully resolved by managing certain sectors, species, or pollutants on an individual basis. The Mohawk River Basin Action Agenda strategically identifies four key goals to fulfill the mission of the Mohawk River Basin Program and focuses on projects that prioritize water quality, flooding and resilience, fisheries and habitats, and recreation and stewardship.

The grants awarded today will help municipalities, soil and water conservation districts, school districts, colleges and universities, and not-for-profit organizations fund projects designed to preserve and protect the Mohawk River watershed. This is the sixth round of grants awarded through the program. Funded projects are:

Flooding and Resilience:

  • City of Gloversville, Gloversville Flood Hazard Risk Reduction, $50,000: A flood hazard risk reduction and resiliency study to determine flood risks, flooding area, and impacts to mitigate risks at previously identified priority brownfield sites along the Cayadutta and Mill creeks.
  • Research Foundation for the State University at New York (SUNY) Cobleskill, Cobleskill Creek Flood Hazard Risk Reduction at SUNY Cobleskill, $50,000: Provide streambank stabilization to mitigate erosion and prevent flooding along the banks of key areas of the Cobleskill Creek on the SUNY Cobleskill campus.
  • Town of Whitestown, Project 3 - Sauquoit Creek Channel and Floodplain Restoration Project, $50,000: Project 3 is part of the greater Sauquoit Creek Channel and Floodplain Restoration Program designed to reconnect the creek to its natural floodplain and will include enlargement of an existing floodplain bench and construction of a new floodplain bench on lower Commercial Drive.

Recreation and Stewardship:

  • Erie Canalway Heritage Fund Inc., Needs Assessment for Hand Launch Access Paddler Amenities and Stewardship on the Mohawk River/Erie Canal Section of the New York State Canalway Water Trail, $50,000: A study to identify gaps in infrastructure and services including identifying existing and potential new launch sites, existing and needed amenities, and other services along the 450 miles of canals and interconnected lakes and rivers on the Mohawk River section of the Erie Canal between Rome and Waterford.
  • Montgomery County, The Walter Elwood Museum Nature Trail, $50,000: Construction of a new 500-foot segment of the Chuctanunda Creek Trail in the City of Amsterdam to provide trail users and museum goers with an interactive learning experience that highlights the natural heritage of the Chuctanunda Creek.
  • Schoharie River Center, Mohawk Watershed Riparian Education Program, $50,000: Continuation of the Schoharie River Center's Environmental Study Team, a comprehensive watershed education program, engaging local youths in the Mohawk River Basin, building partnerships and community capacity to improve the quality of Mohawk River and its tributaries through citizen science.
  • Onondaga Environmental Institute, Inc., Empowering the Next Generation of Climate Leaders in the Mohawk River Watershed, $49,928: Work with educators, scientists, and community leaders to empower students to engage in local environmental issues, particularly those that impact their lives within the broader context of climate change adaptations and solutions in the Mohawk River watershed.
  • New York Folklore Society, Along the River - A Blue Way Marking Program, $32,165: A project to connect residents and visitors to the Mohawk/Schoharie watersheds through place names and indigenous cultural heritage that is replicable across New York State. This project will focus specifically on place-making within the Mohawk and Schoharie watersheds through creation and installation of signage, development of an interpretive audio and video guide, and teacher training materials to make curricular connections to signage.
  • Town of Rotterdam, Great Flats Nature Trail Improvements for Accessible Public Education of a Wetland, $23,374.34: Increase education on the important wetland habitat of the Great Flats Trail by making information on topics such as plant identification, bird species, and history of the trail area more available to the public through user-friendly signage that utilize QR codes accessed easily through mobile devices.

Fisheries and Habitats:

  • Town of Colonie, Colonie Mohawk River Park Waterfront Access Revitalization Project, $47,674.03: A project to mitigate water chestnuts within four to six acres of the park and river shoreline using a professional contractor and community volunteers. This will include maintenance dredging to install a new boat launch at the park, restoring public access to the Mohawk River.
  • Town of Caroga, Pilot Program to Use Herbicide to Eradicate Eurasian Milfoil in East and West Caroga Lake, $46,650: Project to demonstrate whether the use of an herbicide to eradicate the invasive milfoil plant can be accomplished with no harmful effects on water quality, fish, or native plants.
  • Town of Niskayuna, Niskayuna Natural Resources Inventory, $15,000: Implement a natural resources inventory for 10 parcels within Niskayuna. Once completed, the town and its partners will engage in public outreach efforts to share this information.

Water Quality:

  • Oneida County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), Waterville Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) Stream Stabilization, $32,887.50: A collaborative project between the village of Waterville and the Oneida County SWCD to reduce bank erosion and enhance high flow management in the reach of Big Creek that is in proximity to the Waterville WWTP.
  • Riverkeeper Inc., A Novel Collaborative Sampling Strategy for Fecal Indicator Bacteria Monitoring in the Mohawk River, $29,615: In partnership with DEC, SUNY Cobleskill, and SUNY Polytechnic, this project will engage students and volunteers in the first watershed-scale assessment of fecal indicator bacteria at 28 sites within the Mohawk River watershed.  

"As a partner in the execution of the Mohawk River Action Agenda, we are proud of all the work and attention the DEC has brought to the Mohawk watershed," said Brian Rahm, Director of the New York State Water Resources Institute (NYSWRI). "These projects represent the spectrum of research, education, and implementation efforts that help NYSWRI further our mission to identify and address the critical water resources issues of New York State."

"Making our rivers consistently safe for swimming is a core goal of the Clean Water Act," said Dan Shapley, Riverkeeper's Senior Director for Advocacy, Policy and Planning. "Riverkeeper is happy to collaborate with the DEC, SUNY Cobleskill, SUNY Poly and volunteers to measure water quality in the Mohawk River, and to continue to work toward its improvement."

"The Coalition is grateful for the opportunity to partner with DEC's Mohawk River Basin Program and to work to further the goals of the Mohawk River Basin Action Agenda," said Caitlin Stewart, Chair of the Mohawk River Watershed Coalition of Soil and Water Conservation Districts. "Through funding received from DEC's Mohawk River Basin Program, the Coalition has implemented a Stream Sediment and Debris Management Project, which resulted in four Emergency Stream Intervention training and one Roadside Ditch Management training that bolstered flood resiliency toolboxes for highway departments, prepared communities for climate change and instructed Soil and Water Conservation District staff how to best protect watershed health through erosion prevention. Additionally, three Stream Sediment and Debris Management Plans were developed and funded through this funding."

For more information on the Mohawk River Basin Action Agenda 2021-2026, past grant awards, and funding opportunities through the Mohawk River Basin Program visit DEC's website.

These grants are supported by the State's Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) and administered under DEC's Mohawk River Watershed Grants program. The EPF is a critical resource for environmental programs such as land acquisition, farmland protection, invasive species prevention and eradication, recreation access, water quality improvement, and environmental justice projects. Among the many environmental victories in the 2023-24 State Budget, Governor Hochul maintained EPF funding at $400 million, the highest level of funding in the program's history.

Additionally, DEC recently announced that $3 million is available in the third round of the State's Invasive Species Grant Program (ISGP). This grant program, also supported by the EPF, is designed to advance projects that target both aquatic and terrestrial invasive species across the state, with six funding categories that address invasive species spread prevention; early detection and rapid response; research; management planning; and education and outreach. DEC is accepting applications for these grants through Nov. 1, 2023.

For full details about the grant opportunity including eligible projects and scoring criteria, visit the Invasive Species Grant Program Page on DEC's website.

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