Senator Marchione Announces Senate Passage of her Legislation to Include Wynantskill Creek in the Definition of “Inland Waterways”

 

For Immediate Release: April 23, 2013


Contact: Josh Fitzpatrick, (518) 455-2381; fitzpatr@nysenate.gov 


SENATOR MARCHIONE’S SENATE BILL INCLUDING WYNANTSKILL CREEK IN DEFINITION OF “INLAND WATERWAYS” TO SUPPORT LOCAL WATERFRONT REVITALIZATION EFFORTS PASSES STATE SENATE


Legislation would include Wynantskill Creek within definition of “Coastal and Inland Waterways program” 


Less than four months into her tenure, Senator Kathleen A. Marchione (R,C-Halfmoon) today announced the Senate’s passage of her legislation, Senate Bill S.4080, which amends the State’s Executive Law to include Wynantskill Creek in the definition of “inland waterways” for the purpose of waterfront revitalization and inclusion within the State’s Coastal and Inland Waterways program. Senator Marchione’s legislation passed the Senate unanimously during today’s Session and marked the first of Senator Marchione’s bills to pass the State Senate.


Designation as an “inland waterway” is critically important as it allows local communities along the waterway to be eligible to participate in New York’s Coastal and Inland Waterways Program. The State offers a grant program, funded through the Environmental Protection Fund, which assists communities in developing and implementing local waterfront revitalization programs that maximize the beneficial use of the waterfront. In recent years, several New York waterways have been added to the definition, reflecting the interest in, and benefits of, the program. 


The legislation was called for by the Town of Sand Lake, which unanimously passed a legislative resolution on December 12 of last year in support of Wynantskill Creek receiving the inland waterway designation. Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin (R,C,I-Melrose) is the prime sponsor of the “same as” (companion) legislation in the State Assembly, Assembly Bill A.4579. 


“I am thrilled that my legislation has passed the Senate as it will ensure that Wynantskill Creek is included within New York’s Coastal and Inland Waterway program to promote new opportunities for responsible waterfront revitalization. Wynantskill Creek has a rich history and the legislation will help promote this important waterway, strengthening its economic, regional and environmental importance to local communities,” Senator Marchione said.


“I applaud the State Senate for acting swiftly and passing this important piece of legislation that will preserve the history of the Wynantskill Creek, enhance its image for the many communities it serves, and develop several miles of the creek for increased public access and use,” said McLaughlin. “Senator Marchione, Town Supervisor Fasoldt and I realize that participating in this local waterfront revitalization program will be invaluable going forward in an effort to energize economic development in our local communities. I am working steadfast with the Assembly environmental conservation committee to ensure this highly beneficial legislation is voted on and passed in the Assembly.” 


Sand Lake Supervisor Flora Fasoldt credited the Town’s Planning and Economic Development Committee with seeking State Legislation to designate the Wynantskill Creek as an inland waterway. “This designation will provide significant quality of life and economic opportunities to our Town. Sand Lake will now be eligible for grant funding for a broad range of projects. This legislative initiative can be invaluable in enhancing and revitalizing areas along the creek and in fostering beneficial use of the waterway,” said Fasoldt. 


“I was proud to work with localities such as the Town of Sand Lake, along with my colleague Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin, who is championing this measure in the Assembly, in developing and advocating for this necessary legislation. I look forward to more opportunities to proactively collaborate with my partners in government to address local needs and work collaboratively to help turn good ideas into even better laws,” Senator Marchione stated.


Located in Rensselaer County, Wynantskill Creek feeds into the Hudson River, which is already defined as an inland waterway. Wynantskill Creek is of great historical importance, as it provided the water power that fueled the Industrial Revolution and served mills dating back to the Manor of Rensselaerwyck, as well as the ironworks that provided the plate for the Civil War ironclad ship, the Monitor.


In its picturesque 14-mile course from its headwaters at Crooked Lake, Wynantskill Creek drains Glass Lake, the three Burden Lakes, Crystal Lake, Reichard’s Lake, Snyder’s Lake and Burden Pond, passing through the towns of Sand Lake and North Greenbush, and descending over several waterfalls through the City of Troy to the Hudson River. One half mile is devoted to a footpath with public fishing rights, offering wild brook trout and brown trout stocked by the Department of Environmental Conservation, while many more miles remain undeveloped, presenting significant potential for increased public access and passive recreational use.  


In terms of any fiscal impact of Senator Marchione’s Senate legislation and its Assembly companion, there is none to the State. However, the towns and businesses located along Wynantskill Creek will benefit economically from the designation as an inland waterway.


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