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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE01-26

July 3, 2001

Contact: Geoff Ryan (718/595-6600)

DEP 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 reality."

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 Creek.

 

More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

59-17 Junction Boulevard
19th Floor
Flushing, NY 11373

(718) 595-6600