Flood mitigation tops CWC agenda

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By Jay Braman Jr.
Benjamin Franklin coined the phrase, “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” If Franklin had he lived in the present-day Catskill Mountains, he might have added, “flooding” to that very short list of certain things. Few would disagree with him.

As flooding gets worse and happens more often, some communities in the region have been working on plans for how best to deal with future floods, but now there’s a new effort to tackle the matter from a more regional perspective and on Friday, a group of experts is expected to speak with the Catskill Watershed Corporation (CWC) about just that.

On Friday in Margaretville, the CWC Board of Directors are holding a special meeting to review and comment on a draft Local Flood Hazard Mitigation Analysis and Action Planning Scope of Services, developed by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and County Soil & Water Conservation districts within the five-county Watershed region. The meeting, slated for 1 p.m. at CWC headquarters on Main Street is open to the public.

Not public yet
CWC spokesperson Diane Galusha said this week that CWC only recently received the 11- page document and it is not yet being made available to the public.

Galusha said the draft, which is subject to change, encourages communities to prepare for the inevitable floods to come and also discusses the need for identifying funding sources to carry out whatever action plans are developed.

She stressed that, at this time, the draft does not include any specifics about actions to be taken. It is not a plan to impose buyout measures or impose new land-use regulations. Instead it is more a description of the need for research and the development of action plans.

Making plans
As for CWC’s role, she said the non-profit agency is seen as one that could operate some form of implementation plan.

On Friday DEP spokesman Adam Bosch said that his agency had no comment on the matter, but noted that DEP has a representative on the CWC Board of Directors who will participate in the discussion on March 15.