Myosotis dam vulnerable only to extreme conditions, says Huyck director

— Photo from DEC 

The Lake Myosotis dam spillway, pictured in a 2022 New York State Department of Environmental Conservation report, needs to be extended to meet DEC guidelines. 

RENSSELAERVILLE — The Lake Myosotis Dam should not experience any serious problems as it awaits repairs, assuming there are no extreme weather events that strain the system, Huyck Preserve Director Anne Rhodes told The Enterprise this week, following the revelation that a known leak in the dam’s low-level outlet is believed to have gotten worse

Referencing a 2022 New York State Department of Environmental Conservation report, Rhodes said that the “upstream embankment, dam crest, downstream, and service spillway were all in ‘good condition.’” The need for renovations, she said, comes from relatively new guidelines that the existing spillway and low-level outlet capacities fall short of.

A DEC spokesperson confirmed that the dam — which has a condition rating of “Unsound-Fair” — appeared to be “generally well maintained” during the 2022 inspection, and that it is “expected to perform adequately during normal loading conditions,” However, the report also said that “rare or extreme hydrologic loading events on the dam caused by high-intensity, high-frequency, or long-duration precipitation events and/or rapid snowmelt events may result in unacceptable performance.”

The DEC report, of which The Enterprise obtained a copy, says that the dam was first given the condition rating of “Unsound-Fair” in 2016.

“To bring the dam into compliance with NYS DEC guidelines, our plan calls for the expansion of the existing spillway 35 feet to the east and an increase in the low level outlet’s capacity,” Rhodes said in an email answering Enterprise questions. 

As The Enterprise reported last week, the Huyck Preserve was ineligible for funding through Albany County because the town of Rensselaerville had not participated in creation of the county’s high-hazard mitigation plans. Rensselaerville will, however, be participating in an ongoing update to the plan, which will make that funding available going forward.

Rhodes said there’s no formal estimate yet but that she expects the cost of repairs to fall between $750,000 and $1 million. 

Albany County Policy Analyst Patrick Curran, who’s in charge of the mitigation plan updates, told The Enterprise this week that he assumes the county’s work “will be wrapping up at some point in the late summer/early fall.” He noted that representatives from every municipality in the county are participating. 

The Huyck Preserve will also benefit from a recently announced partnership between the town and the DEC, which is providing free technical assistance for water-source projects for drinking water as the town works toward upgrading other aspects of its system. 

The aim of the free assistance program is to help municipalities develop a water-source protection plan that addresses contamination sources and provides a cost analysis for implementing the plan, as well as identifies funding and potential partners, while laying out a timetable for the project overall, according to the DEC’s website.

Jerrine Corallo, of consultancy group Sustainable Growth, told The Enterprise this week that Rhodes and the Huyck Preserve’s building and grounds supervisor, Adam Caprio, will be serving on the local stakeholder committee that is being put together for the program, in addition to working with the Rensselaerville Water and Sewer Advisory Committee “to explore opportunities and support for holistic water district improvement projects.”

More Hilltowns News

  • The Rensselaerville Post Office is expected to move to another location within the 12147 ZIP code, according to a United States Postal Service flier, and the public is invited to submit comments on the proposal by mail. 

  • The Enterprise reported in November that the building at 1628 Helderberg Trail was falling, with some material going into the Fox Creek. The creek is considered by the New York State Department of Conservation to be a “Class C waterbody with trout spawning standards.” 

  • Determining the median income of the Rensselaerville water district will potentially make the district eligible for more funding for district improvement projects, since it’s believed that the water district may have a lower median income than the town overall.

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