FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE01-26
Contact: Geoff Ryan
and DEC Secure Funding For Esopus Creek Restoration
Commissioner Joel A. Miele Sr., P.E., of the New York City Department of
Environmental Protection (DEP) announced today that DEP has received a $250,000
grant to be applied to the restoration of a severely eroding stream bank on
the Esopus Creek, upstream of the Woodland Valley bridge in the Town of Shandaken.
The State has agreed to commit funds for this restoration project from the
Watershed Environmental Assistance Program, a grant program established by
the Army Corps of Engineers for the watershed area after the catastrophic
flood of January 1996.
In October 2000, the City committed $250,000 to match any grants that might
be awarded to help solve problems at the site, and that commitment will be
used to match the grant. Additionally, the landowners and others have also
raised funds towards the restoration project.
Landowners along this part of the Esopus Creek have reached out to the
City, the State and the Ulster County Soil and Water Conservation District
for help. Since then, a group of town, county, state and city officials have
met with landowners several times to discuss the causes of the erosion and
the options for restoration. This area of the Esopus Creek was badly damaged
by the 1996 flood, when the Creek abandoned one channel and cut deeply into
another channel that runs adjacent to several homes. The group has identified
several needs: solving the erosion that threatens properties and septic systems;
moving the river to the south side of the valley to its original channel away
from these homes; and improving the recreational value of this economically
important area. This particular reach of the Esopus is home to "Railroad
Rapids," a world-class whitewater canoe and kayak racing destination
and a popular fishing area.
"In October," said Commissioner Miele, "DEP accelerated its
commitment of $250,000, originally earmarked for the Esopus Creek but not
scheduled for a few years as we worked on other watershed streams. We did
this to help the group leverage matching grants. We are very pleased that
the State has been able to award a matching grant and make this project a
While the funding from the Watershed Environmental Assistance Program, coupled
with the City's matching funds, is an important step in restoring stability
and vitality to this area of the Esopus Creek, several major milestones remain.
The group must decide the final design, agencies need to establish the necessary
contracts, and permit approvals need to be secured from the DEC and the Army
Corps of Engineers. Actual construction of the $500,000 restoration is scheduled
for summer 2002. The project will be a demonstration of natural channel stability
principles, and part of a comprehensive management strategy for the Esopus