Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that $9 million in flood mitigation and flood control grants will be awarded through the NY Works program to 23 counties to help restore and rehabilitate New Yorks waterways that were severely impacted by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. In addition, New York State is providing $7 million in funding so counties can meet their 25 percent non-federal match requirements for eligible federally funded stream restoration projects through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. All together, $16 million from New York State is leveraging $44 million in federal and local funding to complete emergency watershed protection and flood reduction projects in 26 counties.
As part of the Buffalo to Albany Cycling the Erie bike tour, Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens, NYS Canal Corporation Director Brian Stratton, NYPA President & CEO Gil Quiniones, and Division of Homes & Community Renewal Commissioner Darryl Towns today held an event at the Town of Schuyler Town Hall to announce the flood mitigation grants.
The unprecedented flood water levels caused by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee resulted in extensive damage to public and private infrastructure and the states waterways. These grants will help repair waterways and further safeguard public and private infrastructure from future flood events.
"NY Works funding is critical to rebuilding our infrastructure and creating jobs across the state," Governor Cuomo said. "Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee were two of the most devastating flooding events in New Yorks history and this grant funding and the assisting match funds are important components of the overall, on-going flood recovery effort and should help communities across the state address the most immediate flood impacts and assist in mitigating future flood damage."
"Restoring streams will go a long way to minimize damage from future storm events," NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens said. "Working with DEC, local communities will now have the needed funds to prevent future damage to property, infrastructure and the environment."
"Governor Cuomo continues to make the rebuilding of our communities devastated by last years floods a top priority," said Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Kenneth Adams. "Providing funding to those counties that need it most will not only mean restored waterways but also restored confidence as homes and businesses will be better protected in the future."
The Hurricane Irene-Tropical Storm Lee Flood Mitigation Grant Program was created by Governor Cuomo as part of the Hurricane Irene Tropical Storm Lee Flood Recovery Program in December 2011. DEC and Empire State Development reviewed the grant applications and ESD, in consultation with DEC, is administering the program. Individual grants are statutorily capped at $500,000.
Applicants were encouraged to leverage other federal and local funding to supplement project costs. The $9 million in state funds was able to leverage nearly $13 million in federal funding by using a portion of these state funds as the 25 percent non-federal match to 65 USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) program approved projects. These funds were also able to leverage an additional $3.2 million in local funding, through localities commitment of staff resources and use of local equipment.
The $7 million in additional state funding for 25 percent non-federal match is being made available out of remaining 2011 special session funds. Assistance is being given for 68 eligible projects to 18 counties that were unable to secure all or part of their match. These state funds will leverage nearly $28 million in additional federal funding.
Examples of projects include stream bank stabilization and restoration, reconnecting streams to their natural flood plain through removal of berms, replacing undersized culvert pipes with larger box culverts or arched bridges, removing debris and gravel from culvert pipes and bridges, and restoring stream channels to their pre-flood dimensions and characteristics. In the months after the storms, there was an unprecedented cooperative effort between state, federal and local governments to assess stream damage and design projects and proposals that respected the natural functions of streams and related wetlands.
DEC conducted a thorough review and evaluation of all applications and the proposed projects to determine grant awards. New York State worked with NRCS to determine additional necessary projects in need of non-federal matching funds. Counties will receive:
|County||Grant Award||Matching Funds||Total|
A complete list of funded projects by county is available at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/79243.html
NRCS State Conservationist Donald Pettit said, "Combining New York State funding with funds made available from the Natural Resources Conservation Emergency Watershed Protection Program will enable communities to protect important roads, bridges and infrastructure as well as reduce the potential erosion from a number of sites damaged by Irene and Lee. This work will help local people heal New Yorks land and water."
Senator James L. Seward said, "In the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster, the priority is on restoring lives and making the repairs needed to ensure our communities are safe, next comes preparing for the future. I commend Governor Cuomo and state officials on the initial response following Irene and Lee and appreciate the continued attention to flood stricken areas. These grants will help make sure homes and businesses are protected for years to come without burdening local governments and taxpayers."
Assemblyman Peter Lopez said, "Immediately following the floods last year, I reached out to the governor to express urgent concern for the need to stabilize the streams before they inflicted even more damage. This task has proven to be monumental and out of reach for our already devastated communities. Working with the governor, I am pleased that he helped secure the resources needed to protect the people, farms, and businesses in the region. I cannot overemphasis how thankful we are to have the governor as an able partner in recovery from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee."
Broome County Executive Debbie Preston said, "Thanks to Governor Cuomo for his leadership in helping Broome and our neighboring counties recover from last years flood. 2006 and 2011 devastated us. This needed funding will help us clear and restore waterways to protect our community as much as possible from future flooding."
Randall T. Douglas, Chair of the Essex County Board of Supervisors, said, "I am most gracious to Governor Cuomo and DEC Commissioner Joe Martens for once again coming to the aid of Essex County residents affected by Tropical Storm Irene. The Town of Jay alone has endured $3 million in debt for reconstruction to roads, water, sewer and youth facilities. The Governors announcement of Essex County receiving $500,000 from the Flood Mitigation Grant Program couldnt have come at a better time. Asking our residents to finance the removal of washed up debris on private properties is the straw that broke the camels back."
Wayne Speenburgh, Chairman of the Greene County Legislature, said, "Were happy Governor Cuomo has made funding available under the Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee grant program to address this important need. Many parts of Greene County were devastated by this unprecedented flood event and we are fortunate to receive this funding to assist with our on-going recovery efforts."
Harold Vroman, Chairman of the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors, said, "Schoharie County is grateful for the continuing partnership with the State of New York as we recover from a flood of record. We have the largest amount of Emergency Watershed Protection projects, over $21 million, approved by NRCS in the State, and were facing significant fiscal challenges to be able to match the Federal dollars that are being offered. With the damages that have reduced our tax base, and the costs of recovery for homeowners, businesses, farmers and governments, the Towns could not sponsor these projects, and the County would be hard pressed to afford it financially. The scars that Irene and Lee have left with Schoharie County will take years to heal. Thanks to the Governors announcement today, we now are further along path to recovery."
Delaware County Board of Supervisors Chairman James Eisel said, "I would like to thank Governor Cuomo for these additional dollars to help us repair our streams. In Delaware County this has become an enormous project and were working daily to restore our streams to pre-August 2011 conditions. Every dollar will help us attain that goal."