New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced $255,240 for two projects to improve water quality, increase flood resiliency, and conserve natural resources in Ulster and Rensselaer counties. Funding for these projects is provided by the State’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) and is administered by DEC’s Hudson River Estuary Program in partnership with NEIWPCC.
“DEC is glad to once again work with NEIWPCC to help Hudson River Estuary watershed communities develop plans that will improve road infrastructure to reduce flooding, restore stream habitat, and improve water quality,” Commissioner Seggos said. “Governor Kathy Hochul continues to make record investments to protecting New York’s water quality and natural resources and by collaborating with partners on projects throughout the Estuary, we are making significant progress in protecting our environment and communities.”
Susan Sullivan, NEIWPCC Executive Director said, “NEIWPCC is pleased to assist communities using collaborative, regional approaches to assess and prioritize improvements to road-stream crossings. For 75 years, NEIWPCC has worked across geographical and political boundaries to improve water quality and the plans resulting from this funding helps continue this effort.”
The funded projects include:
Ulster County Culvert Mapper: Improving Resilience and Connectivity through Decision-Making Resources for Municipalities
Ulster County is awarded $125,464 to develop an interactive map and prioritization web tool to support county and municipal decisionmakers in addressing current and future inadequate road-stream crossings. The web-based map can be filtered to display each of the county’s 24 municipalities, allowing decisionmakers to prioritize replacements that support transportation infrastructure, natural resource protection, highway department operations, and hazard mitigation.
The project also will assess road-stream crossings in five municipalities in the Lower Esopus Watershed and will complete conceptual designs for eight priority crossings within the city of Kingston and the towns of Hurley, Marbletown, Olive, and Ulster.
Road Stream Crossing Management Planning – Towns of Berlin, Grafton, and Brunswick
Trout Unlimited (TU) was awarded $129,776 to identify priority road-stream crossing replacement projects that reconnect high-quality aquatic habitat and improve community flood resiliency and road infrastructure conditions within the towns of Berlin, Grafton, and Brunswick. The project will include the evaluation of road stream crossing survey data; an evaluation and prioritization of the results of the survey; and the development of conceptual and final designs for the highest priority aquatic barriers in each town. The survey results will be compiled into an inventory document and a web-based map resource for each town to further support future budgeting and planning efforts.
Among the many environmental victories in the enacted 2022-23 State Budget, Governor Kathy Hochul and legislative leaders increased the EPF to $400 million, the highest-ever level of funding in the program’s history. The EPF supports climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts, improves agricultural resources to promote sustainable agriculture, protects water sources, advances conservation efforts, and provides recreational opportunities for New Yorkers. For more information about additional funding opportunities through the Hudson River Estuary Program, visit here.