New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos has announced funding for seven projects throughout the Mohawk River watershed. The projects will contribute to flood risk reduction and resiliency, improve stewardship and stakeholder engagement, and protect fish and wildlife and associated aquatic and riparian habitats. The grants are supported via the State’s Environmental Protection Fund.
“The Mohawk River basin is an environmental, recreational, and economic asset that will benefit from the projects announced today and the ongoing partnerships we are helping to strengthen,” Commissioner Seggos said. “This funding will help reduce flooding due to climate change, increase habitat, and improve water quality, ensuring the preservation and protection of the Mohawk watershed and the communities that depend on it.”
The grants were awarded to keep in line with the goals and objectives of the Mohawk River Basin Action Agenda, developed in collaboration with numerous local, state, and federal agencies and organizations which all share a common interest in the protection of the Mohawk River and the communities within. The DEC will be awarding over $542,000 to support the following projects:
Village of Dolgeville: North Main Street Floodplain Creation and Preservation Project ($100,000)
The village of Dolgeville will develop design documents to establish a dedicated floodplain. The project will identify residential properties damaged during the October 2019 flood event to be removed and dedicated to floodplain establishment. Once completed, the design documents will be utilized to obtain funding for project implementation.
Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy: The Mohawk Watershed: A Pathway from the Catskills to the Adirondacks ($88,744)
In partnership with The Nature Conservancy, the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy will develop a connectivity plan to connect the Northern Appalachians to the Central Appalachians. This plan will focus on the area around the “Noses” in the town of Sprakers to Glenville Hill in the town of Glenville, two mountainous and forested features. The project will assess barriers and potential mitigation opportunities, identify key land protection opportunities and habitat protection, and/or support restoration to facilitate safe passage of wildlife.
Town of Niskayuna: Mohawk Watershed Educational Videos ($50,000)
In collaboration with the Schenectady County Water Quality Coordinating Committee, this project will create an educational video on topics relevant to protecting water quality. The video will help improve stakeholder stewardship through education, outreach, and collaboration. Targeted stakeholders include schools, libraries, environmental groups, and the public.
Onondaga Environmental Institute: Engaging Students in Flood Resiliency Projects in the Age of Climate Change ($64,185)
Onondaga Environmental Institute (OEI) will collaborate with educators in the Mohawk River watershed to create science-based lesson plans that include monitoring and restoration activities to foster long-term stewardship opportunities for students. OEI will host a Youth Climate Summit to empower students in the watershed to implement climate change solutions and community resiliency projects and expand opportunities for students to understand and explore environmental careers.
Trout Unlimited: Big Creek Stream Restoration and Flood Mitigation Project ($100,000)
In partnership with the town of Marshall, village of Waterville, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Oneida County Soil and Water Conservation District, Trout Unlimited will work to stabilize and restore approximately 1,000 feet of stream bank. Several stream restoration assessments are being developed to help alleviate flooding in selected areas and the grant will support the design, permitting, and implementation of this effort. The restoration project will utilize natural design principles, including aquatic habitat improvements, riparian restoration, bank stabilization, and floodplain reconnection.
Utica Zoological Society: Beavers, Wetlands and Watershed Protection ($54,868)
This project will design and implement a comprehensive water education program focusing on watershed protection and the role beaver ponds and wetlands play in flood control and creating healthy ecosystems. Programs will take place at the Utica Zoo’s Conservation Education Center, Beaversprite, in Oppenheim in Fulton County, and include family programs, arts integration camp, and resources and tools for local teachers.
Town of Whitestown: Phase 2 – Sauquoit Creek Channel & Floodplain Restoration Project ($85,000)
This grant will assist the town of Whitestown in Phase 2 of the greater Sauquoit Creek Channel and Floodplain Restoration Project, which consists of construction of 12 floodplain benches along the Sauquoit Creek to connect the creek to its natural floodplain.