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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 15-09

February 17, 2015

Contact:

Delaware County Soil & Water Conservation, (607) 865-7161
deppressoffice@dep.nyc.gov, (845) 334-7868

Completed Stream Management Projects in Delaware County Protect Infrastructure, Property and Water Quality

Delaware Watershed Stream Corridor Management Program completes seven projects in 2014

Before and after photos are available on DEP’s Flickr page

The Delaware Watershed Stream Corridor Management Program today announced the completion of seven projects in 2014 that improved and restored over 2,700 feet of streams in the towns of Walton, Hamden, Middletown and Halcott. The projects, with a combined cost of $773,849, were designed to correct slope failures, reduce the chance of future flooding, and protect local infrastructure and water quality in the New York City drinking water supply. The Program is a partnership between the Delaware County Soil & Water Conservation District, Delaware County, and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

The projects were paid for through the Soil and Water Conservation District with funds it receives from DEP, as well as federal grants managed by the Delaware County Office of Watershed Affairs, and the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service Emergency Watershed Protection funds.

“Locally led water quality initiatives take many partners,” said Graydon Dutcher, Stream Program Coordinator at the Delaware County Soil & Water Conservation District. “These partnerships are challenged with not only creating sound water quality projects, but really working together to find additional funding opportunities to implement a larger number of projects that are extremely meaningful to the communities and the environment.”

“I fully support the voluntary, locally driven stream corridor management program and its outcomes,” said Dean Frazier, Commissioner of Watershed Affairs for Delaware County. “It has multiple benefits. By combining funds from New York City and other sources, local communities can pursue stream projects that reduce repetitive damage from floods, protect local infrastructure, and improve stream dynamics. These projects are also important because they reduce the risk to life, property and streamside communities, while also limiting the amount of sediment that reaches the water supply system of New York City.”

“These stream projects exemplify how New York City’s partnership with watershed communities can advance work that benefits water quality, public safety and environmental conservation,” DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd said. “I’d like to thank the local stakeholders who help identify and prioritize these projects, and the experts from the Delaware County Soil & Water Conservation District who work alongside DEP to ensure these streams are restored according to the best practices of modern environmental science and engineering.”

Projects completed in 2014 focused on efforts to halt the erosion of streambed channels in steep Catskills hollows, which will also help minimize the risk of slope failures that can cause debris jams against local bridges. Some highlights of the restoration work included:

  • A project along lower Third Brook in the Town of Walton that stabilized the base of four failing slopes along 1,000 feet of the brook, at a cost of $457,000. These slopes had destabilized during previous floods in the mid-2000s. Stabilizing them with a combination of low stone walls at the base of the slope and tree and shrub plantings will help minimize the potential for landslide induced debris jams and downstream flooding in the future.
  • Work along a 200-foot section of Chambers Hollow in the Town of Hamden. This project included stone protection at the base of a failing slope and grade control to prevent stream bed erosion. The $60,000 project will prevent further bank erosion and help keep woody debris from falling into the stream where it can form jams.
  • Improvements to 600 feet of Beers Brook in the Town of Walton. This included similar hill slope stabilization and stream bed protection at sites where the 2006 flood washed out roadways and drainage structures. The work along Beers Brook cost a total of $98,755.
  • DEP and District support for farm projects in 2014 also included two streambank stabilization projects at the Johnson farm in Halcott and the Gray farm in Middletown.

Several Delaware County communities in 2014 also began the process of creating local flood analyses that will identify future projects to improve stream and floodplain function with the goal of reducing the potential for flooding impacts. This process begins with community-appointed flood commissions that are trained to work with professional engineers to examine in fine detail conditions such as landscape form, roadway and bridge configurations, floodplain development, sediment deposition, stream channel construction, and other factors that might contribute to flooding. Using the latest technology in flood modeling and high-resolution geographic information, the communities will simulate options to reduce floodwater elevations. This modeling will give the communities the best information to decide which projects are feasible for them. Selected projects would then be eligible for funding through several existing and new programs. The Village of Walton, Town of Middletown and Village of Fleischmanns began working on their local flood analyses in 2014, and will likely finish the process of identifying projects for funding in 2015. Other communities in Delaware County, including Delhi, Hamden, Andes and Trout Creek have formed local commissions and are set to begin their analyses in 2015.

More information about these efforts can be found by contacting the Delaware County Soil & Water Conservation District’s Stream Corridor Management Program, or by visiting CatskillStreams.org.

DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of high quality water each day to more than 9 million New Yorkers. This includes more than 70 upstate communities and institutions in Ulster, Orange, Putnam and Westchester counties who consume an average of 110 million gallons of drinking water daily from New York City’s water supply system. This water comes from the Catskill, Delaware, and Croton watersheds that extend more than 125 miles from the City, and the system comprises 19 reservoirs, three controlled lakes, and numerous tunnels and aqueducts. DEP has nearly 6,000 employees, including almost 1,000 scientists, engineers, surveyors, watershed maintainers and other professionals in the upstate watershed. In addition to its $70 million payroll and $157 million in annual taxes paid in upstate counties, DEP has invested more than $1.7 billion in watershed protection programs—including partnership organizations such as the Catskill Watershed Corporation and the Watershed Agricultural Council—that support sustainable farming practices, environmentally sensitive economic development, and local economic opportunity. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program with nearly $14 billion in investments planned over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. For more information, visit nyc.gov/dep, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
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