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Schumer, Clinton: Senate Overides Presidential Veto Of WRDA, Authorizes $30 Million For Improvements To Mamaroneck And Sheldrake River Watershed And Dam Safety Funds For Rockland County

Senate Today Votes 79-14 to Override Presidential Veto of Water Resources Development Act, Authorizing Funding for Water Projects Across New York

Washington, DC - U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton today announced that the Senate has voted to override the President's veto of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), joining the House to authorize $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.

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.

"The vote today sends the president a clear message from Congress that critical projects like these cannot and will not be sacrificed," said Senator Schumer, who toured the Mamaroneck and Sheldrake Rivers after this year's April Nor'easter and committed to delivering the resources necessary to solve the Village of Mamaroneck's flooding problems. "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."

"Overwhelming bipartisan support for this bill has authorized crucial funding for Rockland County's watershed management project. The federal government's partnership with this local community will allow improvements that will help prevent a repeat of last year's disastrous flooding. I applaud my colleagues in the Congress for voting to override the President's veto, and I will be pleased to see this effort move forward," said Senator Clinton.

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 nonfederal 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.