DEC Awards $380,000 in Hudson River Estuary Grants – News from the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation

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DEC Awards $380,000 in Hudson River Estuary Grants

Grants Will Increase Flood Resiliency and Improve Aquatic Habitat in Tributary Streams of the Hudson River Estuary

The state Department of Environmental Conservation awarded three grants totaling $382,500 for culvert-replacement projects to help restore aquatic habitat in tributary streams of the Hudson River estuary, reduce localized flooding and improve water quality, DEC Acting Commissioner Marc Gerstman announced today. The Town of Ancram, Scenic Hudson Land Trust, Inc. (Scenic Hudson) and Ulster County received the grants.

“Governor Cuomo has a clear vision for creating resilient communities in New York State, and the Hudson River Estuary Program is helping to make this vision a reality through these grants,” DEC Acting Commissioner Gerstman said. “The funding enables local partners to join with us in achieving regional goals for the Hudson River environment that improve the ecology of the estuary and its tributaries, help sustain our fisheries, and connect New Yorkers to local waterfronts.”

The grants support Governor Cuomo’s $17 billion strategy to reimagine New York for the new reality of extreme weather by transforming the State’s infrastructure and shoreline protection systems to better protect New Yorkers.

The grants are provided through the NYS Natural Resource Damages Fund (NRD) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s State Wildlife Grant Program. The grants will be administered by DEC’s Hudson River Estuary Program.

Grants have been awarded to the following communities and organizations:

  • Town of Ancram: Culvert Assessment and Resiliency Project, $220,000
    The Town of Ancram will replace two or more culverts on the Roeliff Jansen Kill within the Punch Brook and Shekomeko subwatersheds that are too small to pass floodwaters under current and predicted rainfall events. The culverts also are barriers to the movement of American eel and brown trout. Stream crossings will be redesigned and resized to improve stream flow and capacity, and to maintain stream-bottom habitat for aquatic organisms. Perched culverts-outlets elevated above the downstream water surface-may also be restored to grade to improve habitat connection for aquatic life. The streams and related wetlands of the Roeliff Jansen Kill are recreational and cultural resources for residents and tourists.
  • Scenic Hudson, Stream Restoration on the Klyne Esopus Kill, $97,500
    Scenic Hudson will replace the remnants of a perched culvert and berm structure on the Klyne Esopus Kill. Replacement of the culvert/berm structure with a right-sized, bottomless culvert, and reconstruction of the Klyne Esopus Kill streambed will allow herring and eels to access at least an additional half-mile of upstream tributary habitat. The new culvert will be designed to function under 500-year storm conditions, allowing the crossing to remain open during high water and high precipitation events. The project will also re-establish emergency and maintenance access to the Esopus Meadow Preserve and a Hudson River Greenway Water Trail site landing. Since 2011, when the culvert and stream crossing failed during Hurricane Irene, access to the site has been limited. Scenic Hudson will also design interpretive signage at the Preserve about best practices for the design of steam crossings to maintain access and habitat connectivity for aquatic life.
  • Ulster County, Sawkill Creek Tributary Culvert Replacement Project, $65,000
    Ulster County will replace an existing perched, steel-pipe culvert on a tributary to the Sawkill Creek in the town of Kingston. The culvert is a well-known constriction point under relatively low-flow storm events, and water back-up has caused property damage to adjacent local landowners. The new, three-sided box culvert will improve capacity and stream-flow to reduce localized flooding, remove a habitat barrier for trout and will aid in the restoration of eel habitat. Ulster County’s Stormwater Management Program will use the culvert-replacement project as a case study to illustrate how flow-capacity and aquatic habitat concerns can be addressed in concert. Education materials highlighting the replacement will be incorporated into the County’s Stormwater Management Plan.

DEC’s Hudson River Estuary Program, a project of the NYS Environmental Protection Fund, helps people enjoy, protect and revitalize the Hudson River Estuary. Now in its 13th year, the Estuary Grants Program implements priorities outlined in the Hudson River Estuary Action Agenda to achieve six key benefits: clean water; resilient communities; a vital estuarine ecosystem; conservation of fish, wildlife, and habitats; preservation of the river’s natural scenery; and enhanced opportunities for education, river access, recreation and inspiration.

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