Grants Will Increase Coastal Resiliency and Improve Aquatic Habitat
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today awarded four grants totaling $395,273 for projects in the Hudson River Estuary to help reduce localized flooding, create sustainable shorelines, improve water quality and restore aquatic habitat in tributary streams, Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today.
"Governor Cuomo has prioritized creating resilient communities in New York State, and these grants provided through the Hudson River Estuary Program are helping to make his vision a reality," DEC Acting Commissioner Seggos said. "This funding enables local partners to join with the state in advancing projects that improve the Hudson River, sustain economically important fisheries, and connect New Yorkers to this incredible resource." 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. They are also part of the Sustainable Shorelines Project, which provides science-based information to planners and local governments on the best management options to employ that protect coastal property while providing habitat for fish, birds and other wildlife that live along the shores of the Hudson River Estuary.
The grants are provided through the NYS Natural Resource Damages Fund (NRD), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's State Wildlife Grant Program, and the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), and will be administered by DEC's Hudson River Estuary Program.
Grants have been awarded to the following communities and organizations:
Village of New Paltz: Replacement of Culvert System, $246,365
This project will improve intermittent stream flow and movement of fish and wildlife by replacing a deteriorated culvert system with adequately-sized drainage structures at a road and rail trail crossing adjacent to the Wallkill River. The new system also will improve the flow of floodwater, and maintain habitat connections for eel and other Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) such as wood turtle.
Dutchess County Soil and Water: Shapp Pond Dam Removal, $96,408
Dutchess County Soil and Water will remove the twelve-foot Shapp Pond Dam on the East Branch Wappinger Creek, which will result in greater connectivity throughout the creek by removing a large impediment to fish passage, and will enable eels to migrate farther upstream.
BlueShore Engineering, LLC, $40,000
BlueShore will design a Sustainable Shorelines Demonstration Project for the Nutten Hook shoreline site on the western end of Ferry Road in the Town of Stuyvesant (Columbia County).
The purpose of the grant is to design improvements to the riverbank to enhance habitat for aquatic species, reduce erosion, and increase the property's resiliency to sea-level rise, storm surges and wave action resulting from coastal storms. The Nutten Hook site is part of Stockport Flats, which is the northernmost site of DEC's Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve, and will provide an example of how other communities and property owners along the shoreline can work with nature to restore habitat and protect coastal defenses along the shoreline.
Funding for the design work is provided through the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC) and is administered under DEC's Hudson River Estuary Program. The design phase (construction-ready drawings) will be completed by mid-summer, setting the stage for acquiring permit and securing additional funds for shoreline stabilization work.
"NEIWPCC is pleased to be able to support Hudson River Estuary communities that take steps to prepare for sea-level rise by improving shorelines while sustaining a healthy ecosystem," said Ron Poltak, NEIWPCC Executive Director.
City of Troy: Tide Gate Removal, $12,500
The City of Troy will disassemble and remove a tide gate located on the Wynants Kill in close proximity to the Hudson River. The gate's removal will improve upstream access on this tributary for herring and American eel, and will also help reduce flooding problems.
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.
For more information on the Hudson River Estuary and funding opportunities through the Hudson River Estuary Program, please visit the DEC website.