Stream restoration work prompted by Tropical Storm Irene will affect dozens of property owners in Schoharie County, and engineers want to talk to them.
These roughly 80 landowners are the focus of meetings planned for tonight and Wednesday, after which engineers will be able to finalize their plans.
The $21 million effort represents the largest amount of funding the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Emergency Watershed Protection program has ever spent on a single restoration effort in New York state.
Work expected to begin in September will focus on four long-neglected streams: the Platter Kill, Line Creek, Little Schoharie Creek and a tributary on Dave Brown Mountain.
Tropical Storms Irene and Lee caused several slope failures along Brown Mountain Road, putting at risk the pressurized propane pipeline that runs beneath it.
Work to restore the creeks could include rerouting portions of them altogether, and major impact is possible on some properties.
The number of affected property owners alone reflects the scope of the project, said Nan Stolzenburg, the project’s community outreach manager. “It’s a huge undertaking,” she said Monday.
The work will also include improvements to habitat in and around the streams with the goal of creating a stable, healthy environment for wildlife.
Stolzenburg said engineers have put together design recommendations but they need input from residents whose properties will be affected by the work.
In some cases, the impact will be so great that meetings are being held individually with single property owners.
County Planning and Development Director Alicia Terry said it’s not yet clear to what extent private lands will be affected. Residents have received packets detailing design plans but none have been made public. “It varies by location and situation. That’s why we want to have face-to-face meetings with folks,” she said.
She said documents she’s reviewed don’t indicate anybody will be losing land — the surface area of the water will remain much the same as it is now.
“The bottom line is again we’re trying to create a more stable stream system that is, in the long run, going to provide people with a greater peace of mind than what they’re living with right now,” Terry said.
Landowners affected by work planned for the Platter Kill, Line Creek and Dave Brown Mountain Road are meeting with representatives at 6 p.m. today at the Middleburgh firehouse on Railroad Avenue.
Property owners affected by the Little Schoharie Creek work are being called to meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Middleburgh firehouse.
People can learn more about the projects through a website developed specifically for the work, www.schohariestreams.com.