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This entry was published on 2014-09-22
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County small watershed agency and processing of applications
§ 299-n. County small watershed agency and processing of applications.
1. Designation of an agency. The board of supervisors may appoint or
designate a county small watershed agency (hereinafter referred to as
the agency), in similar manner as provided in section two hundred
fifty-one of this chapter in the case of county water districts, as now
in effect or as hereafter amended. However, in any county where the
board of supervisors has established or shall establish a soil
conservation district pursuant to the soil conservation districts law,
the soil conservation district shall serve as such agency. The agency
shall undertake studies and assemble data relating to the need for a
small watershed project (hereinafter referred to as the "project"),
pursuant to said "Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act" and the
need for the establishment of a county small watershed protection
district (hereinafter referred to as the "watershed district").

2. Procedure for approval of project applications and establishing
priorities therefor. If the agency, after study and investigation, is of
the opinion that it would be in the public interest and for the
protection of public health and welfare to undertake a project, it
shall, with the approval of the board of supervisors, make application
to the secretary of agriculture of the United States for assistance
pursuant to section three of the said "Watershed Protection and Flood
Prevention Act". Before such application is forwarded to the secretary
of agriculture of the United States for approval, it shall be submitted
to and approved by the water resources commission (hereinafter referred
to as the "commission") prior to submission of the application to the
secretary of agriculture. At the same time that an application is
submitted to the commission, a copy thereof shall be forwarded by the
agency to the state soil conservation committee, which shall, within
thirty days after receipt of the copy of the application, submit any
advice or comments to the commission. The commission is authorized to
establish and amend a priority list for projects, and to establish rules
and regulations for the handling and processing of applications, plans
and projects.

Such applications to the commission shall be accompanied by an outline
of the project in general form indicating the purpose, size, scope and
location of the contemplated project, the proposed works and facilities,
and, when available, preliminary estimates of the total maximum cost of
the project and the amount and nature of requested federal aid and local
costs. The approval of the application by the commission shall not be
deemed to be final approval of the project, or approval of detailed
plans and specifications for the project, or to authorize the
construction of any project works or facilities. The commission shall
not be required to hold a hearing on such an application but, before
disapproving any application, it may cause a public hearing to be held
on the application to hear any and all interested parties.

3. Approval of watershed work plan. (a) Upon completion of a watershed
work plan which shall contain an outline of the proposed project,
including preliminary plans, estimates, cost allocations and other data
as provided in section three of the said "Watershed Protection and Flood
Prevention Act," the agency, if it, after a study of the data, still is
of the opinion that the project should be undertaken, shall have the
watershed work plan reviewed and approved by the county engineer or
another properly licensed professional engineer retained for such
purpose, and after such review and as approved, shall, subject to
authorization by the board of supervisors, submit the watershed work
plan to the commission for approval, disapproval or modification. At the
time of submitting the watershed work plan to the commission, the agency
shall forward copies thereof to the soil conservation committee.

(b) The water resources commission shall cause a public hearing to be
held on the watershed work plan in accordance with the provisions and
procedures provided by section four hundred fifty-one of the
conservation law in respect to public hearings on water supply
applications. The commission shall with all convenient speed and within
ninety days after the final hearing either approve, disapprove or modify
the watershed work plan. In reaching its decision, it shall be the duty
of the commission to review the watershed work plan and other data and
the evidence taken at the hearing, with due regard being given to the
allocation of the water resources of the state to the various interests
desiring to utilize such resources for the general benefit of the
public. In approving the watershed work plan as submitted, or as
modified by the commission, the commission shall determine that the
watershed work plan includes the necessary works of improvement and that
the proposed works of improvement, will have no adverse effect on the
general and equitable uses of the water resources of the state in areas
which might be affected thereby.

(c) After approval by the commission, the watershed work plan as
submitted or as modified, shall be the final complete watershed work
plan for the project. The watershed work plan shall set forth the
general scope and intent of the project but not necessarily include
maps, plans and specifications in sufficient detail for contracting for
and the construction of the works of improvement.

4. None of the works of improvement included in the final watershed
work plan shall be undertaken or constructed or put into operation until
detailed maps, plans and specifications therefor have been submitted to
the commission for approval. The commission need not hold a public
hearing on such an application but may call upon the watershed district
or its administrative head or body to furnish such further information
or proof as the commission may require. The commission shall determine
whether the detailed maps, plans and specifications provide for the
proper and safe construction of all work connected with the project.
The commission may approve or disapprove the detailed maps, plans and
specifications, or modify them and, as so modified, approve them. When
approved or modified and approved, the detailed maps, plans and
specifications shall be the final construction plan.

5. Modifications. Should it subsequently become necessary or desirable
at any time either before or after the formation of a watershed district
or the construction and completion of a project that the watershed work
plan be modified in a substantial manner in scope or intent as specified
in this subdivision five, or that the final construction plan be
modified in a substantial manner, such modifications must be submitted
to the board of supervisors and, if approved by the board, to the
commission for such further action or approval as it may deem necessary
or advisable before such modifications are put into effect. A change in
scope or intent requiring modification of the watershed work plan and
the action and approval prescribed by this subdivision five shall mean
(1) a change in the multi-purposes and features of the project, or (2) a
change affecting flood water storage which requires approval of
committees of the Congress of the United States under the provisions of
the "Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act".

6. Hearing expenses. The expenses of any hearing and determination
required to be held and made by the commission shall be a charge against
the county or counties and such county or counties shall, upon
certification by the commission, pay such expenses to the persons
entitled thereto.