2015-03-11 / News

More funds for Phoenicia, Mt Tremper flood work

By Jay Braman Jr.

The answer to how best to protect the hamlets of Phoenicia and Mount Tremper from future flooding has not been found yet, but another grant has been awarded to help those charged with figuring it out.

Last week Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County announced $339,116 in grants to support 12 stream management implementation projects in Ulster County’s New York City watershed towns.

The Town of Shandaken is awarded $20,850 to supplement a previous award of $72,000 to complete a local flood analysis for the hamlets of Phoenicia and Mt. Tremper. The engineering analysis will identify actions that reduce flood hazards, and assist the town with seeking implementation funds from state, federal, and regional programs.

This was news to Mark Carabetta, an engineer with Milone and MacBroom, the firm hired to devise a plan to protect the hamlets from future flooding. “I have no idea what that would be for,” he said. “Our agreement with Shandaken has not changed.”

Carabetta said Monday that there is no date set yet for the return to these hamlets with the results of five months worth of study and analysis, but that it would be in the springtime. But he did meet recently to talk over his progress with town officials. According to Shandaken Supervisor Rob Stanley, things look promising for Phoenicia but not so much for Mount Tremper.

“Some ideas are showing promising results, especially in Phoenicia where there are several identified approaches to flood mitigation,” he said. “Mount Tremper, on the other hand, is proving to be more difficult as the volume of water flowing through the confluence and the meander are quite substantial.”

Right now, he added, the engineers are focusing around the developed areas of Mount Tremper that, when built, cut the Esopus off from its natural flood plain.

Stanley did not offer any specific detail of any projects, nor for the use of the latest grant award, but confirmed that Carabetta will be appearing in both hamlets soon to outline the options and more.

In October, Carabetta pre- sided over two public input sessions in the respective hamlets. In both meetings he and his colleagues were bombarded with demands to make dredging a big part of any flood prevention plan, but he disagreed, saying that it was not cost effective.

The Town of Olive was awarded $70,996 to hire an engineering firm to do local flood analysis for the hamlets of Boiceville and West Shokan, as well as $24,285 to complete a flood mitigation plan that is expected to improve the town’s “Community Rating System” score and potentially reduce flood insurance rates.

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