Stream management program funds awarded

Michael Ryan in the Windham Journal writes:

Thousands of dollars were handed out when the Schoharie Watershed Advisory Council awarded its second round of Stream Management Program funds, last week, during a meeting at the Windham Country Club. SWAC members awarded $77,627 to seven entities in Greene and Delaware counties for projects aimed at preserving water quality in the New York City reservoir system and increasing awareness of watershed related issues. All of the funds are provided by the Department of Environmental Protection, which has set aside $2 million to be distributed over a 5-year period, with two years having passed on the contract, administered by the Greene County Soil and Water Conservation District. [Greene County] Funds were allocated in round two as follows:

—EDUCATION AND OUTREACH: The Mountaintop Arboretum in Tannersville, $6,810, with a $750 In-kind contribution to create landscape design plans for a Wooded Walk outdoor classroom, accommodating approximately 45 people. The natural amphitheater will offer year-round outdoor programming on ecological and natural history topics relating to the watershed such as wetland plants, insect and wildlife along riparian areas, birding, stream health and leaf pack workshops to learn about geology.

—EDUCATION AND OUTREACH: Greene County Cornell Cooperative Extension, $1,884 with a $498 In-kind contribution to set up a rain barrel workshop that will be held at the Sugar Maples Arts Center in Maplecrest. The hands-on workshop will take place during Schoharie Watershed Week, May 17-23, 2010, providing materials and instruction for approximately ten families, teaching them to construct a rain barrel for home use. While the rain barrels will be fun to build, they will also be functional. The workshop will also introduce participants to methods of stormwater control, non-point pollution prevention and conservation of water resources in a residential setting.

—EDUCATION AND OUTREACH: the SWAC Education and Outreach Committee, $5,100 with an In-kind contribution of $4,125 to conduct a series of events, activities and workshops for people of all ages during Schoharie Watershed Week, taking place throughout the region. On tap will be a watershed-related film series (at the Hunter Theater in the town of Hunter), fly-fishing demonstrations, downspout disconnect programs, an Adopt-A-Stream clean up, a watershed scavenger hunt and kayak and canoe demonstrations.

—RECREATION/HABITAT IMPROVEMENTS: the Town of Windham, $15,000 with an In-kind contribution of $6,536 (and a potential to raise more in community contributions) to be used toward the creation of a multi-use, non-motorized trail on the Batavia Kill. The 1.1 mile loop trail will be built on a 68-acre parcel owned by the town at the former Police Anchor Camp, along Route 23, on the eastern outskirts of the hamlet district, allowing for improved access to the popular fishing stream. Bridge and boardwalk materials are needed to cross over a wetland and a tributary. A trail committee of local residents and business owners is planning the Windham Path with assistance from the Greene County Soil and Water Conservation District.

–PLANNING & ASSESSMENT: the Town of Hunter, $35,000 with an In-kind contribution of $5,000 to conduct a detailed review of current land use regulations with an intent to adopt revisions and write new regulations and/or guidelines promoting low impact design, climate smart and smart growth principles. In the absence of zoning, the town is seeking to investigate, and adopt as appropriate, innovative land use practices which will be an incentive to achieve desirable future growth related to private housing, development and commercial enterprises.

–PLANNING & ASSESSMENT: the towns of Ashland, Jewett, Lexington and Windham and the villages of Hunter and Tannersville, $12,000 with an In-kind contribution of $21,500 from the Catskill Watershed Corporation to hold “Mountaintop-wide Better Site Design Plan Workshops.” The workshops will guide each community through a comparison of the local codes against model development principles using a consensus building approach. Model principles will then be compiled into a General Guide for Mountaintop Communities, facilitating specific recommendations for each community.

SWAC has thus far awarded a total of $518,957.50 in the first two rounds of programming, leaving $1.481,042.50 for future projects. The application deadline for round three is August 2, 2010, with approvals formally taking place on October 27, 2010. Projects awarded funding in round one included improving stream access along the Schoharie Creek in the town of Prattsville by constructing a parking area and installing floodplain drains under Vista Ridge Road in the Town of Jewett, reducing backwater conditions causing channel aggradation. Stormwater retrofits were approved at the Mountaintop Library in the village of Tannersville and Town of Hunter, reducing the quantity of, and improving the conveyance of, stormwater runoff, vastly improving water quality.

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