Watershed Groups Address Water Quality

Jun 27, 2013

Assemblyman Pete Lopez at WAMC's Albany studios.
Credit WAMC

Water quality in the Schoharie Valley and the Catskill Watershed has captured the attention of environmentalists and government officials who have joined forces to develop procedures and policies for dealing with "the new normal" climate change seems to have cast across upstate New York.

Republican New York state Assemblyman Pete Lopez called a special meeting this week in Schoharie to discuss long-term flood prevention.  Lopez invited a myriad of agencies and officials to the meeting, including the City of New York, various county flood committees, the Army Corps of Engineers, and others.

Fellow Republican Congressman Chris Gibson agrees that current watershed policies need to be kept up to date to prepare for any significant events.  Initial plans involve conducting a study that will encompass waterways throughout Greene County up through the Mohawk River in Montgomery County.

Lopez credits Vermont's River Corridor and Floodplain Management program as inspiration for his resiliency plan. Not too far away, in Greene County, concerns are mounting about the water quality in the Catskill Creek. In 44 percent of samples taken during the past two years, the water was found to be unacceptably contaminated, according to officials. Village President Vincent Seeley is hopeful the new water quality data will fast-track plans to connect Leeds into the village’s wastewater treatment system.

Riverkeeper Water Quality Advocate Tracy Brown is encouraged that communities are using the group's citizen water quality data.  Back in Schoharie, the resiliency group plans to assemble at the end of July to hammer out budget issues pertaining to the study.