New Hudson River Estuary Action Agenda Will Guide Continued River Restoration, Promote Environmental Stewardship
ALBANY – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Monday, May 2, 2016, $3 million in grant awards for new projects to help communities improve recreation access, protect water quality, conserve open space, and increase storm resiliency in the Hudson River Estuary watershed.
A total of $1.76 million in Hudson River Estuary grants were awarded to 36 projects. An additional $1.25 million is now available for organizations and municipalities to apply for through Requests for Applications. The deadline for these RFAs is June 30, 2016.
“The Hudson River plays a key role in New York’s storied history and helped build the state’s economy and its very identity,” Governor Cuomo said. “This funding will help protect this treasured waterway and its surrounding communities, as well as create more recreational opportunities to be enjoyed by New Yorkers and visitors alike for years to come.”
Department of Environmental Conservation Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “Working with local communities, environmental groups and civic organizations, New York has significantly improved the environmental health of the Hudson River Estuary. Governor Cuomo has made important investments to protect the river, create new and expanded recreation access and upgrade community resiliency, which allows us to realize the potential of this historic waterway.”
Through Governor Cuomo’s leadership, the 2016-17 State Budget includes an historic $300 million commitment to the Environmental Protection Fund. This unprecedented funding will augment the Hudson River Estuary Program and help communities conduct planning and research or implement projects to achieve the goals of the Hudson River Estuary Action Agenda 2015-2020.
The newly released Hudson River Estuary Action Agenda includes a number of projects and programs to conserve or improve: clean water; community resiliency; the vital estuary ecosystem; fish, wildlife and their habitats; natural scenery; and river access and education.
To view the Action Agenda and for complete details about the new grant funding, please visit: www.dec.ny.gov/lands/4920.html.
The awarded Hudson River Estuary grants are detailed below:
Local Stewardship Planning Grant Awards
Town of Orangetown (Rockland County) – $50,000
Engineering and design plans will be prepared to replace an inadequately sized culvert at 400 NYS Route 303, Orangeburg, which carries the Sparkill Creek and drainage from Route 303 and surrounding areas. The engineering plans will include the removal of an abandoned and deteriorated pump station in the creek which blocks stream flow, in order to mitigate flooding that occurs during heavy rain.
Pace University (Westchester Country) – $48,520
Pace University will develop an adaptive-management plan to prioritize culvert maintenance needs in the Pocantico watershed to improve drainage and decrease flooding during rain storms. A “how-to” guide for culvert assessment and prioritization will also be developed for use by other subwatersheds. This project may also help reconnect the American eel habitat in the Pocantico watershed, as well as provide benefit to trout and amphibian habitat.
Schoharie County Planning Department (Schoharie County) – $40,000
The County Planning Department will study approximately 6.75 miles of an unnamed tributary that flows to the Franklinton Vlaie, and identify solutions to stream-flow and habitat impairment that occurs primarily in a 1,200-foot section of the stream where it crosses Woods Road and outflows to the Franklinton Vlaie. The County will develop plans that include cost estimates and steps for improving overall stream health and mitigating barriers. The project will benefit Species of Greatest Conservation Need, including American Eel and heritage Brook Trout, while also reducing local flooding.
Village of Voorheesville (Albany County) – $17,000
The Village of Voorheesville will complete a hydrologic analysis of the Vly Creek Watershed to provide data that will help mitigate flooding and erosion of the stream bank. The project will benefit trout spawning and American Eel migration, while also reducing local flooding.
Village of Rhinebeck (Dutchess County) – $12,750
A Vulnerability Assessment and Local Adaptation Plan will be developed for Rhinebeck’s water system to identify adaptation actions the village could implement in the future to increase the resiliency of its water-intake system and treatment plant from storm surge and sea-level rise (SLR). The intake system, access road, lift station and plant will be components of the study.
Town of Red Hook (Dutchess County) – $12,750
The town of Red Hook will analyze the Saw Kill watershed culvert data collected by Cornell University, NYS Water Resources Institute and DEC to develop a list of ten priority culverts for replacement that will be included in the town’s capital planning efforts. Conceptual design and cost estimates for upgrading and/or replacing the culverts will also be developed. The plans to improve hydraulics and remove aquatic barriers in the watershed will benefit American Eel and other aquatic organism connectivity, while also reducing local flooding.
Vassar College (Dutchess County) – $50,000
Vassar College will develop a shovel-ready pilot project at the Vassar dairy barns to demonstrate green infrastructure practices to the college community and visitors. The plan will focus on the renovated dairy barn of the Environmental Cooperative, the road leading into the site, the parking lot adjacent to the barns and the site of the Poughkeepsie Farm Project.
Riverkeeper, Inc. (Westchester County & New York County) – $50,000
Riverkeeper will map the drainage area of Combined Sewer Overflows along the length of the Harlem River in Manhattan and the Bronx to improve stormwater management and water quality in the Harlem River watershed. Riverkeeper will also identify locations where green infrastructure can be used to capture stormwater.
Village of New Paltz (Ulster County) – $45,000
The village of New Paltz will evaluate the suitability of green infrastructure at public spaces where there are water-related problems and where infrastructure improvements are planned. The project also includes education and outreach to municipal and community stakeholders.
Riverkeeper (Ulster and Orange Counties) – $50,000
Riverkeeper will coordinate the activities of the Wallkill River Watershed Alliance in Orange and Ulster counties, and will partner with the Alliance to develop protocols and best practices for measurements of fecal indicator bacteria, nutrients and algae in the Hudson River watershed. The project will improve water-quality monitoring and ensure consistency of data.
Bard College (Dutchess County) – $49,950
Bard College will conduct a study to assess the impacts of maintenance and repair, partial removal, or entire removal of the Lower Saw Kill dam. The dam on the Saw Kill Creek is a known barrier to aquatic connectivity for American Eel, a Species of Greatest Conservation Need.
Hudson River Watershed Alliance (Orange County) – $38,952
The Hudson River Watershed Alliance will produce a demonstration water budget and flow-mapping of the Quassaick Creek Watershed that can be replicated by other watershed groups and municipalities throughout the Hudson River Watershed to help manage and protect streams and other water resources, monitor water availability, in-stream flow and water usage in the long term.
Hudson Valley Arts and Science (Westchester County) – $25,752
Hudson Valley Arts and Science will characterize and map the water quality, fish ecology and flow characteristics along the entire length of the Sing Sing Kill, to locate sources of sewage and identify barriers to fish migration. The organization also will install a stream gauge to collect stage and flow data, and will create public signage about its findings.
Pace University (Westchester County) – $10,047
Pace University will work with Teatown Lake Reservation to create a baseline habitat assessment of the Pocantico watershed to inform future management decisions and evaluate project proposals by the Pocantico River Watershed Alliance, Pocantico River Watershed Conservancy, and local municipalities in the watershed.
Natural Resource Inventories (NRI)
Town of Pound Ridge (Westchester County) – $24,501
The town of Pound Ridge will update its natural resources inventory (NRI) to include an inventory of underground spill sites, a potential source of pollution, and a habitat study of the area of the town within the Hudson River estuary. The project will include training, education and outreach activities.
City of Hudson (Columbia County) – $20,000
The city of Hudson will produce a natural resources inventory and conservation plan (NRI) to guide land-use decisions. The NRI will be used to revise the existing zoning ordinance to help conserve green space, reduce stormwater, promote green (nature-based) infrastructure strategies, protect open space and historic resources, and to develop vacant lots and brownfield areas.
Town of Hyde Park (Dutchess County) – $17,000
The town of Hyde Park will update its zoning code by refining the areas included within the Scenic and Historic Overlay Districts that were established during a comprehensive planning process conducted in the 1990s. The town will create a precise map of the regulated areas which will clarify the restrictions that apply in important viewsheds.
River Access and River Education Grant Awards
Hudson Valley Arts and Science (Westchester County) – $100,000
Hudson Valley Arts and Science will complete the design and permitting of an extension to a public pier in Ossining, NY that was modified during the rebuilding of the Metro North ferry terminal. The pier extension will provide adequate draft for visiting historic and tourist ships such as the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, the Half Moon, the Amistad replica and the old Hudson River Day Line.
Beacon Sloop Club (Ulster and Dutchess Counties) – $100,000
The Beacon Sloop Club will complete the restoration of the ferry sloop Woody Guthrie including planking and fairing of the hull, reinstallation of the cabin and cockpit, caulking, and replacement of decking. The Woody Guthrie provides free educational sails on the Hudson River to the general public, school groups and other local organizations. Beacon Sloop Club programs also include a sail training program with classroom and on-board training, and a winter environmental education program for crews, which are free and open to the public.
Waterfront Alliance, Inc. (New York, Brooklyn Counties) – $99,643
The Waterfront Alliance will develop designs for publicly accessible boating infrastructure at six sites in northern Manhattan and Brooklyn along the Hudson River estuary, within or immediately adjacent to environmental justice communities. The sites include West Harlem Piers, East River Esplanade (Bobby Wagner Walk), Randall’s Island, Transmitter Park, Bush Terminal Piers Park and Bushwick Inlet. The access sites will serve the general public and environmental education groups, local schools and youth organizations.
Downtown Boathouse – (New York County) – $90,375
This project will improve public recreational access to the Hudson River in Manhattan with the purchase of kayaks and other equipment to increase the capacity of the free kayaking programs at popular launch sites operated by the Downtown Boathouse and the Manhattan Community Boathouse. These volunteer-staffed programs offer recreation and kayaking instruction for people of all ages, fitness levels and physical abilities.
Seaport Museum New York (New York County) – $53,153
The Seaport Museum will modify curriculum to provide access to materials for visually impaired or blind students who participate in a marine ecology program. The Museum teaches principles of marine ecology to urban students in interactive classroom workshops as well as during sails aboard its educational vessel, the Pioneer. The Museum will also detail adaptations of approach and course content.
Bard College (Dutchess County) – $44,744
Bard College will conduct a feasibility study to develop a sustainable access plan for trail improvements to the Tivoli South Bay shoreline trail that may connect the Tivoli Bay Wildlife Management Area to Bard College trails, creating a direct connection to the south. The study includes assessment of cost and steps to repair canoe and boat docks.
Town of Saugerties (Ulster County) – $42,500
The town of Saugerties will conduct a shoreline improvement study to evaluate specific needs for creating safe and climate-resilient access to the Hudson River shoreline at Bristol Beach State Park. The study will also identify educational opportunities and establish a plan for linking trails.
Town of Marlborough (Ulster County) – $40,000
The town of Marlborough will complete an engineering study and plan to restore the southern pier at Milton Landing to operational use. A restored pier will provide deep-water mooring capabilities for larger craft, and enhance opportunities for recreation, tourism and education.
Yonkers Paddling & Rowing Club – (Westchester County) – $25,078
The Yonkers Paddling & Rowing Club will upgrade outdated equipment and purchase additional kayaks and paddles to increase the capacity of its free public kayaking and environmental awareness program located at the JFK Marina and Park in northern Yonkers. The rowing and paddling club will also enhance its environmental education curriculum. The volunteer-run membership program serves youth and adults from the surrounding Environmental Justice areas.
Harlem River Boat Club Inc. (New York County) – $20,000
The Harlem River Community Rowing program will increase access to boating on the Harlem River for people with a range of physical abilities by purchasing a lighter, eight-seat rowing shell and a modular extension that increases seat capacity for the Learn-to-Row barge. The lighter shell will make introductory classes more appealing and accessible, and the expanded barge will increase capacity for the free, Learn-to-Row program that serves low-income residents in the surrounding neighborhood.
Hudson River Park Trust (New York County) – $100,000
Hudson River Park Trust will design and produce wheelchair-accessible educational signs that will be installed along the waterfront throughout the Park to explain estuary ecology and history to the public.
New York City Department of Parks & Recreation (New York County) – $100,000
The New York City Department of Parks & Recreation will develop an educational, stewardship and recreational outreach program for youth who live on the north shore of Staten Island that will include ecosystem education presentations, field activities and recreational opportunities on New York City parklands on Hudson River south.
City of Hudson (Columbia Country) – $91,780
The city of Hudson will build and equip a riverfront information center, the Everett Nack Estuary Education Center on the city’s waterfront. The Center will be constructed from a recycled shipping container and will be developed and operated by The Hudson Sloop Club. Designed to be accessible to people of all abilities, the education center will offer hands-on and experiential displays and activities, and will host visiting environmental educators, scientists, community members and visitors to the city of Hudson.
Media Alliance, Inc. (Albany County) – $73,660
Media Alliance will design a citizen-scientist biology education laboratory, the Troy Citizen Science Center, in the lower floor of the North Troy Art Technology and Urban Research in Ecology (NATURE) building that will include classroom and meeting space, a wet lab with an aquarium and a dry lab with microscopes. The center will host workshops and labs to educate residents about the importance, value and role of the Hudson River estuary in the urban ecosystem. The Media Alliance will also develop a website, and design, build and install multi-media signage for a linked art trail.
Sarah Lawrence College (Westchester County) – $64,990
The Center for the Urban River at Beczak (CURB) will plan and design nature-based, green infrastructure demonstration projects to improve stormwater management on its two-acre outdoor site. CURB will also create signage, fact sheets, and web content to inform the public about stormwater, urban runoff, and combined sewer overflow (CSO) issues and will design a monitoring plan to provide opportunities for youth engagement and citizen science.
Orange County Water Authority (Orange County) – $47,486
The Orange County Water Authority will lead the development of the Estuary Stewardship through Education project to educate residents of various ages about the estuary and its natural resources. The County will design and install informational kiosks, develop a website and social media applications, and offer kayak tours. The project is a collaboration with Orange County Parks, the City of Newburgh, Village of Cornwall, Orange County Community College, Clearwater, Black Rock Forest Consortium and Storm King Adventure Tours.
The River Project, Inc. (New York County) – $46,792
The River Project will design, build and install signage throughout the River Project’s wet lab to educate visitors about the ecosystem and involve them in stewardship and conservation of Harbor wildlife and the natural world. The new signage will be understandable to children and adults of all ages, simply explaining complicated scientific theories through images and graphs.
Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Inc. (Dutchess County) – $32,557
Clearwater will create an interactive, website for its Key to Common Hudson River Fishes program that will augment the Key’s content on the history, ecology and management of Hudson River fish. The website will include videos, maps, current research, natural history, status of fish species and health advisories.
Outstanding Renewal Enterprises, Inc. (New York County) – $26,000
The East River Park Environmental Learning Center will purchase new educational equipment and displays that will include a saltwater aquaponics system stocked with species from the estuary. The East River Park will also offer new educational workshops for the public and school groups, as well as expanded public fishing clinics.