Senators Win City Response On Flood Control

James L. Seward

March 16, 2006

State Senators John J. Bonacic and James L. Seward today announced that flood control measures have now started at a fourth DEP controlled reservoir. The DEP today opened a "waste channel" off the Ashokan.

Two days ago, the DEP announced that flood control measures will also be a part of the redesigned Gilboa dam. In addition, the DEP, in the past few months, has initiated rain pack releases in the Neversink and Pepacton Reservoirs.

Last year, Senators Bonacic and Seward successfully pushed to move legislation (Senate bill 1768-A) to the floor of the senate which would remove the city’s authority to manage reservoir levels of its water supply system. This year, with overwhelming bipartisan support, the senate passed that legislation.

"The senate has shown that we are prepared legislatively to force the DEP to be responsible if they don’t do it voluntarily. Since the bill has been before the senate which would have forced the DEP to act, the DEP has made some substantive changes relating to flood control. However, we cannot rest, because outflows from the Ashokan still appear not to match inflows, and that means flooding could still occur," Bonacic said.

Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I - Milford) said, "New York City's new responsiveness to our insistence that flood control be included in its management of city dams is welcome and refreshing. I applaud the local officials and citizens who have joined with Senator Bonacic and me to pressure the city on the issue, and let me be clear that we will continue our efforts in the Senate to keep New York City accountable and to get results for the people we represent who live in the shadow of the city's dams."

Assemblyman Clifford Crouch said, "We have had to live with some of the problems associated with the presence of the dams for too long. People's lives, property and the economics of the area have been affected. It is time that DEP be part of the solution. I thank CommissionerLloyd for her efforts to move DEP in the right direction."

Inflow into the Ashokan is strong because the DEP is working to lower the Schoharie Reservoir so that the Gilboa dam can be improved. Water flows from the Schoharie Reservoir under the ground through the Shandaken tunnel into the Esopus Creek. The Esopus drains into the Ashokan reservoir. Therefore, efforts to dramatically lower the Schoharie Creek - which were necessitated because of poor DEP dam maintenance, are directly effecting the people of Ulster County who live near the Esopus and below the Ashokan reservoir. Late last year, DEP officials in separate talks in the Towns of Ulster and Olive, told residents to expect overflow in April.

"It has always been my intent to have the DEP be more accountable to the people of our region. Commissioner Lloyd, to her credit, is the first commissioner who is keeping her promises to the people of this region and me, that her agency will do better. I applaud that and encourage her to keep up those efforts, because April is coming soon" Bonacic said.

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