Harckham’s Bill to Add Furnace Brook Lake to Inland Waterways Passes in Senate

State Sen. Pete Harckham
Designation makes nearby communities eligible for funding of watershed management plans, revitalization efforts

Albany, NY – New York State Senator Pete Harckham and his colleagues in the Senate passed legislation (S.2992) today that will now include Furnace Brook Lake, located in the Town of Cortlandt, in the list of major inland waterways eligible for the state’s local waterfront revitalization program.

“The designation of Furnace Brook Lake as an inland waterway makes nearby communities eligible for funding of watershed management plans and revitalization efforts,” said Harckham, a member of the Senate Committee on Environmental Conservation and sponsor of the newly passed bill. “It will also help protect the lake’s water quality and the natural beauty of its surroundings.”

Once approved in the Assembly and signed by the governor, Harckham’s bill will allow communities along Furnace Brook Lake to apply for waterfront revitalization funds through the Department of State and the Environmental Protection Fund. Only communities located along a designated major inland waterway are eligible for grants from the Environmental Protection Fund’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) for its preparation and implementation.

There are currently 11 designated coastal waterbodies and 182 designated inland waterways in New York. Furnace Brook Lake, 23 acres in size and situated about two miles east of the Village of Buchanan, feeds into the Hudson River by a small stream.

The Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) serves as the state’s Office of Planning and Development’s primary program for working in partnership with waterfront communities to improve water quality and natural areas, guide development to areas with adequate infrastructure and services away from sensitive resources and promote public waterfront access. These provisions often help spur redevelopment of underutilized waterfronts.

Nearly every lake and river in the Hudson-Peekskill Hollow Creek Watershed of the Lower Hudson Sub-Basin is now part of the state’s inland waterway program. However, a number of major lakes in Westchester, such as Furnace Brook, still await official classification as an inland waterway.

The State’s 2021-2022 Budget includes $14 million in the Environmental Protection Fund for local waterfront revitalization programs. Adding Furnace Brook Lake to the list of eligible inland waterways will widen the pool of potential grantees and make the program more competitive.