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Reining In The Rain On Main

by Candice Robins

In our Hudson River Valley all development uphill ultimately affects everyone living below. That has become all too obvious in Nyack where stormwater has flooded our homes, businesses and causes sewage to overflow into the  Hudson River.

Stopping stormwater at its source and considering stormwater in all zoning and planning by the village is the most efficient and cost effective strategy for our village.    It is imperative that any new development surrounding and affecting Nyack Brook be planned with the stormwater and flooding impact addressed. If this isn’t taken into consideration, we will see even more flooding and destruction in the future.

In meetings with Nyack Mayoral Candidate Jen White it is clear that finding solutions is a priority. Demonstrating  an impressive knowledge of environmental issues and good working relationships with Riverkeeper and other environments groups, work has already begun.

In response  to ongoing stormwater flooding, Jen White has begun working on NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) grants to secure funding. The DEC has billions in funding available as well as many resources. Nyack’s grant writers have already begun.    Permeable pavement is being planned in upcoming municipal projects as well as in the repaving of Main Street between Franklin and Broadway this Fall. Catch basins over storm drains have already been modified in the Streetscape Project to prevent street garbage from migrating into the river when this was suggested by Riverkeeper.

Nyack Beach State Park. Sewage hugs the shoreline after stormwater from a heavy rain overflows into the Hudson.

Meetings are being set up with DEC stormwater specialists in the next few weeks to review the funding options that are available. Other plans are to host forums and meetings with the DEC and various environmental groups to educate the public, our village officials and the planning and building boards.  Forums would also encourage the extraordinary talent in our community to participate and contribute ideas and solutions for possible private/public projects.

The DEC can also help create a strategy to respond to Nyack Brook overflowing as well as helping to identify funding options. There are some very interesting and aesthetically pleasing possibilities available. Daylighting a stream such as Nyack Brook has just been done in Yonkers with the help of the DEC.

It will take political will and public awareness to make the Hudson River swimmable and fishable again. We are not far from that. We sometimes forget we all live at the beach. Imagine going for a swim on a hot summer day as they do in Croton and Cold Spring. There was a time not too long ago that this was life along the Hudson.

Controlling  stormwater will make an enormous difference to the Hudson as well as flooding in our village. Resources from state and federal expertise and environmental groups are there for the asking.  Imagine the businesses, revenues and pure enjoyment that a healthy river would provide.

Candice Robins is a Nyack resident and an environmental advocate.

Photo: Sewage hugs the shoreline after stormwater from a heavy rain overflows into the Hudson near Hook Mountain at Nyack Beach State Park. When I took this picture, kayakers were in the water and children were playing along the shore.  The sewage outflows usually have suds in them as well as human waste and everything found in sewage such as medication residue, detergents etc. Stormwater is the single biggest contamination to the Hudson according to the NYSDEC.

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