FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 25, 2007
Schumer, Clinton: Authorization Of $30 Million For Improvements To Mamaroneck And Sheldrake River Watershed And Dam Safety Funds For Rockland County Dams Sent To President For Signature
Final Conference Report for Water Resources Development Act Approved by Senate Last Night—Now Sent to President for Signing
Washington, DC — Senators Charles E. Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton today announced that the Senate has approved the final conference report for the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) which authorizes $30 million to study and implement improvements to the Mamaroneck and Sheldrake River Watershed in Westchester County. The bill also authorizes $12 million for the Army Corps to work with local authorities on dam safety measures for 15 dams across the nation, including Congers Lake Dam, Lake Lucille Dam, and Pine Grove Lakes Dam in Rockland County. It will now be sent to the President for signature.
The Water Resources Development Act authorizes Corps of Engineers civil works projects, including navigation, ecosystem restoration and shoreline protection projects. Under the authorizations, the Corps partners with local sponsors to conduct the project. A project authorization in WRDA is a necessary first step towards securing funding in an appropriations bill at a later date.
"This project will be invaluable in reducing the severity of, and even preventing, future flooding," Schumer said. "This project has been on the back burner for far too long. This season’s devastating floods were a shocking wake up call to shore up our flood protection systems. Now the Army Corps will have the funding they need to ensure that these communities will be protected against future flooding."
“This area has had more that its fair share of flooding, and is all too familiar with the substantial damages it can cause. However, we have also learned how valuable watershed management and dam safety are in protecting property and minimizing the damage that can be caused during disasters like severe storms and flooding,” said Senator Clinton. “Senate approval will ensure that the Federal Government is a partner in the process, and will also take some of the financial burden off the local authorities. We want to do what we can to help local our communities prepare for the future and this is the next step in enabling the Corps to better work with local partners to restore the watershed and prevent these kinds of problems in the future."
The Mamaroneck and Sheldrake provision in WRDA will authorize the Corps to work with New York State and local governments to develop a watershed management plan for the Mamaroneck and Sheldrake River watershed and to carry out flood mitigation and ecosystem restoration projects that are consistent with the plan. The types of projects that can be carried out under the provision include bank stabilization, wetland restoration, soil and water conservation, and flood damage reduction. The provision authorizes $30 million for these purposes, with a 65/35 cost share between the Corps and non-federal sponsors.
The provision streamlines the process by which the Corps studies and conducts flood mitigation projects. After developing a watershed management plan, the Corps will be able to move forward on projects without a new authorization from Congress—a step that is usually required, and which often adds years to the time it takes to complete projects.