FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Mohawk River Watershed Coalition Hosts Community Forums to Introduce Management Plan, Gain Community Input
Plan Will Guide Actions for Flood Management, Pollution Control, Erosion
August 2014 (Schenectady, NY) – The Mohawk River Watershed Coalition (MRWC) will hold three community forums to share the details of and solicit feedback for a newly developed Mohawk River Watershed management plan prepared through a Title 11 Environmental Protection Fund grant from the Department of State. Forums will also provide information on available funding opportunities for projects consistent with the goals of the plan. Community members who reside or have businesses in the watershed, as well as government leaders and those concerned with environmental issues, are encouraged to attend to learn and ask questions.
Sessions will be held:
- Wednesday, September 10, 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm
SUNY Cobleskill, Bouck Auditorium, State Route 7, Cobleskill, NY
- Tuesday, September 16, 6:30 pm – 8:45 pm
Schenectady County Community College, Stockade 102, 78 Washington Avenue, Schenectady
- Thursday, September 18, 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Oneida County Farm and Home Center, 2nd Street, Oriskany, NY
The Mohawk River watershed is an essential resource in New York State. The watershed encompasses a diverse area within 14 counties and is divided in three main sections: Upper Mohawk, Main River, and the Schoharie Watershed. Originating north of Rome in the Tug Hill Plateau, the Mohawk River flows eastward for 140 miles to its confluence with the Hudson River in Cohoes. At 3,640 square miles, it is the largest tributary watershed to the Hudson River. It contains 6,656 miles of freshwater rivers, streams and canals and includes portions of 14 counties and 172 municipalities.
Until the development of the Coalition in 2009, there was no comprehensive plan in place to protect the resources of the watershed. MRWC comprises members of the 14 County Soil and Water Conservation Districts operating in the Mohawk River watershed. Among the Coalition’s specific goals are to improve the quality and ecology of water resources, to reduce the risk of flood damage, to restore and improve the habitat for fish and wildlife, and to increase awareness of human impacts on the watershed and promote sustainable land use practices.
According to David Mosher, Chairman of the Mohawk River Coalition of Conservation District, “The primary objective of the Comprehensive Management Plan is to balance the needs of the communities with the goals of the plan, which are to protect and improve the natural resources of the Mohawk River Watershed and to support the community’s efforts towards achieving those goals. Vital to the success of the plan will be the understanding of the needs and concerns of residents, business owners and municipal officials. The upcoming community forums will provide the opportunity for those voices to be heard.”
Development of the watershed’s master plan required characterization of all of the Mohawk’s tributaries, as well as their historic problems. Flooding, pollution and erosion have had widespread impact on the river and its surrounding communities.
Streambank Erosion in Oneida County
In the Upper Mohawk region, where the Mohawk River watershed encompasses nearly half of Oneida County, efforts are being made in the Sauquoit and Oriskany Creek watersheds to mitigate storm water runoff through streambank erosion stabilization as well as stream restoration and reconnection to natural floodplains. In the northern portion of the county, the main channel of the Mohawk flows through the Town of Western, where efforts are proposed to stabilize the channel and reduce sediment from agricultural practices. In the Deans Creek Watershed, where agriculture has been identified as a major source of pollutants, the Coalition is working with farmers to introduce agriculture environmental management (AEM) and reduce pollution.
Flooding in Schoharie County
In 2011 Hurricane Irene brought devastating flooding to the Schoharie Watershed, leaving many residents homeless. Schoharie County alone suffered over $62 million in damages and cleanup expenses. The Mohawk Coalition of Conservation Districts was recently awarded a sizable grant through Dept. of State Environmental Protection Funds to not only study the Schoharie, but to develop flood mitigation projects to better prepare the area to handle future flood events. MRWC and its management plan will be instrumental in procuring funding to implement the projects outlined in this flood study once it is completed.
Flooding in Schenectady County
In 2011, Schenectady County also experienced catastrophic flooding caused by Tropical Storm Lee. Some experts say that these types of events may become more common in the Northeast and have a long-term impact on the water quality and quantity of the Mohawk River. Monitoring the effects of these events is critical to determining how to best address them. Tracking areas of sediment loading, as well as establishing upland watershed controls and streambank stabilization, will be important aspects of flood management and mitigation in the Main River region.
Register to attend one or more of the forums at: http://mohawkriver.org/news-and-events/ or by calling 518.882.9880.
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About the Mohawk River Watershed Coalition
The Mohawk River Watershed Coalition is comprised of 14 County Soil and Water Conservation Districts operating in the Mohawk River watershed. The Coalition supports conservation initiatives that protect, promote and enhance the natural resources of the Mohawk River Watershed in partnership with local, state and federal stakeholders. For more information, visit www.MohawkRiver.org.