Gov. Kathy Hochul’s budget proposal unveiled last week included some major investments in clean water and a preview of how she envisions the state spending a proposed $4 billion environmental bond act that will go up for voter approval in November.
The proposal included $500 million for clean water infrastructure spent on local projects across the state. The funds will support improvements to wastewater treatment plants and drinking water systems.
The governor’s proposal would increase state funding on invasive species prevention and eradication, from $13.3 million to $17 million. The proposal would also funnel $15 million to soil and water conservation districts across the state, money that could be used to combat harmful algal blooms and other environmental concerns.
The budget would enable DEC to fill over 90 positions, according to the Adirondack Council, including 31 positions in the state’s air and water divisions. The Adirondack Park Agency would also see a staff boost, under the governor’s proposal.
Hochul also earned plaudits from environmental advocates with a proposal to strengthen wetland regulations and make wetland maps more publicly accessible.
As the proposal makes its way through the legislature, we will continue to explore how the new wetlands rules would impact the Adirondacks and track some of the other ideas from Adirondack advocates not included in Hochul’s initial budget offer.
Photo: A marsh along the Oswegatchie River. Photo by Zachary Matson
Editor’s note: This first appeared in Zach’s weekly “Water Line” newsletter. Click here to sign up.