Niskayuna receives DEC grant for watershed video

The Mohawk River seen at Schenectady's Riverside Park in 2016.
The Mohawk River seen at Schenectady's Riverside Park in 2016.

NISKAYUNA — The state Department of Environmental Conservation has awarded a $50,000 grant to the Town of Niskayuna Public Works Department to produce a video that will help educate the public about flood risks and ways to mitigate them in the Mohawk River watershed.

The grant to the town was one of seven recently awarded from the state’s Environmental Protection Fund for projects in the watershed, with the intention of not only reducing flood risks and bolstering resiliency, but also educating the public about protecting fish, wildlife, and aquatic and riparian habitats.

The Mohawk, which courses through the heart of the Mohawk Valley, has been the source of major flooding in the last decade from tropical storm Irene in 2011 and other events — and state officials predict they will be more frequent due to climate change.

“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,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said in announcing the grants.

The grant to the town of Niskayuna is for developing an educational video about water quality in collaboration with the Schenectady County Water Quality Coordinating Committee. The intended audiences include schools, libraries, environmental groups, and the public.

“I am very proud of our of public works staff, under the direction of Town Engineer Matt Yetto, for their foresight, commitment to our environment, and hard work to earn this important funding for Niskayuna,” said Town Board member Denise Murphy McGraw, chairwoman of the town Public Works Committee.

Located within the geographic boundaries of New York state, the Mohawk River is the largest tributary to the Hudson River, encompassing 14 counties and 172 municipalities.

Yetto said town senior civil engineer Josh Hawley and junior civil engineer Jessica Gerber will work with the county water quality committee for the next year to produce the video.

Among the other projects funded, the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy received an $88,744 grant for its “A Pathway from the Catskills to the Adirondacks’ initiative.

In partnership with The Nature Conservancy, the Land Conservancy will develop a plan to connect the ranges, focusing on the area around the paired mountains bordering the river known as the “Noses” in the town of Sprakers in western Montgomery County to the Glenville Hills in the town of Glenville. The project will assess barriers and ways to address them, identify key land and habitat protection opportunities, and/or support restorations to aid safe passage of wildlife.

The Herkimer County village of Dolgeville, where some properties sustained heavy damage in an October 2019 flood caused by storms, received a $100,000 grant to develop design documents to establish a dedicated floodplain. The project will identify residential properties to be removed due to damage. Once completed, the design documents will be used to seek funding for the project.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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