State grants will combat flooding and algal blooms

As rain continues to fall, the state’s departments of Agriculture and Markets and Environmental Conservation are funding the Community Resiliency Training program.

The funding will allow County Soil and Water Conservation Districts and Regional Watershed Coalitions to provide community and municipality-based training to help communities increase resiliency to future flooding and prevent outbreaks of harmful algal blooms in high-risk waterbodies.

Applications for the program will be accepted on a rolling basis through February 2022 or until funds are exhausted. New York State Soil and Water Conservation Districts, working in partnership with regional watershed groups and coalitions, are eligible.

Districts that receive grant funding will host about 40 training programs for municipalities across the state. Training will be offered for these programs:

— Post Flood Emergency Stream Intervention Program: Increased flooding challenges state agencies, and county and local municipal governments throughout New York State. Immediately following a flood, municipalities are often responsible for protecting public and private infrastructure that is threatened by a nearby flooded stream. This training helps municipal officials, contractors, and machine operators respond effectively to flood damage, saving time, money and resources;

— North Atlantic Aquatic Connectivity Collaborative: Road-stream crossings (bridges and culverts) often create increased flooding risk due to inadequate sizing and a disconnected design that harms ecological connectivity. With well over 100,000 crossings in New York State, addressing these problems can be challenging. The Community Resiliency Training program supports training through the North Atlantic Aquatic Connectivity Collaborative, a 13-state collaborative that has created a standardized field assessment methodology on how to address road-stream crossings; and

— Roadside Ditch Maintenance Training: While ditches drain roads, they also effectively intercept runoff from the surrounding landscape, including adjacent hillslopes, parking lots, buildings, and other impervious surfaces. Ditches can rapidly divert water to streams, exacerbating flooding. Road salt, fertilizer, and sediments are often transported in this flow, with the potential to pollute nearby waterways.  An improperly constructed and poorly maintained ditch can result in several problems, including disruption to the natural stream flow; increased erosion of streambanks; increased flooding; reduction in local groundwater tables; and the potential for increased pollution in water supplies. This program offers guidance and criteria to ensure that ditches are properly constructed and maintained.

Municipalities are encouraged to contact their local county Soil and Water Conservation District to learn more about these topics and the training programs. Albany County’s office is located at 24 Martin Road in Voorheesville and may be reached by phone at (518) 765-7923 or by email at acswcd@gmail.com.

The application and additional information may be found on Grants Gateway at https://grantsmanagement.ny.gov. Questions may be directed to Lauren Prezorski at <mailto:Lauren.Prezorski@agriculture.ny.gov>.

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