FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE03-60
$4.48 Million Stream Management Plan To Improve Batavia Kill
New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner
Christopher O. Ward and Greene County Soil and Water Conservation District
(GCSWCD) Executive Director Rene Van Schaack today announced the release
of the new Batavia Kill Stream Management Plan. New York City and the
District have agreed to implement the Plan over the next four years at
a cost of $4.48 million, all of which is being provided by the DEP.
The announcement was made today at the Big Hollow Restoration Site on
County Route 56 in Windham.
“The Plan presents a detailed set of step-by-step recommendations
that will enhance recreational opportunities, reduce flood hazard risks
and erosion and enhance economic development – all in a manner that
simultaneously provides water quality protection” said Commissioner
Ward. “City funding will be used to design and build three additional
demonstration stream restoration projects, and to implement the varied
The Plan includes revegetating the stream corridor with vigorous, erosion-resistant
native plants; reducing the colonization of streambanks by Japanese knotweed;
improving stormwater management; and building a landowner constituency
responsible for assisting and ensuring the plan’s implementation.
“The Management Plan for the Batavia Kill is essential to ensuring
close collaboration among the many individuals, businesses and agencies
that deal with the Batavia Kill on a daily basis,” said Executive
Director Van Schaack.
Jim Hitchcock, Greene County Legislator representing the Batavia Kill
watershed and a member of the GCSWCD Board of Directors said, “I
have been very pleased by the success of the partnership between New York
City and the local communities via the Stream Management Program. This
program works to solve real problems, and results in long-lasting benefits
to both the City and the local landowners.”
Hitchcock, who grew up on the banks of the Batavia Kill, also noted,
“I am pleased not only as a legislator, but also as a member of
the GCSWCD Board of Directors that we have developed a County-based stream
program that is second to none in the nation and which has gained the
respect of local landowners and municipal leaders.”
Ward and Van Schaack also announced that the City and the GCSWCD are
strongly committed to expanding on the success of the Batavia Kill project
by developing stream management plans for the West Kill, the Schoharie
Creek and the East Kill.
Stream assessment and a demonstration stream restoration project began
this summer on the West Kill, where the District has contracted with the
City for some $1.48 million in funding, matched by an additional $1.1
million in outside funds raised by the GCSWCD. The City has earmarked
an additional $2.3 million for future planning and restoration activities
on the Schoharie Creek and East Kill. Since 1996, the partnership has
resulted in a commitment of City funds – as well as state and federal
funds – in excess of $12.7 million for stream assessment, planning
and restoration in Greene County.
“The City is committed to ensuring that our partners have the tools
they need to steward stream corridors over the long term,” said
Commissioner Ward. “The County has carefully assessed the condition
of the Batavia Kill and worked to identify the underlying causes of excessive
erosion – they’ve piloted new techniques, and reduced rates
of erosion using natural channel restoration principles over some two
miles of the stream. These projects have enhanced fish habitat and the
overall beauty of the Batavia Kill. The City is proud to extend its Batavia
Kill partnership and to expand this work with GCSWCD to the West Kill
and Schoharie watersheds, especially because the GCSWCD has done its part
to use City funds to leverage substantial state and federal funds.”
The partnership was first established in 1996 when the City contracted
with GCSWCD for $2.1 million to pilot the use of natural stream channel
restoration techniques in reducing rates of stream erosion that contribute
to high levels of turbidity (suspended sediment) in the Schoharie Reservoir.
High levels of turbidity can interfere with the effective disinfection
of drinking water.