“In order to protect our communities from flooding, preserve our shorelines, and restore New York’s precious water ecosystems, it is imperative that we properly rehabilitate our invaluable resources through the Water Resources Development Act every year,” said Senator Schumer.
By Forum Staff
Essential provisions to protect and harness New York’s water resources are included in the final 2020 Water Resources Development Act, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (both D-N.Y.) announced Thursday.
In the legislation, called “America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2020,” the senators secured language that would authorize new studies and projects to protect communities across New York and restore critical ecosystems in the Hudson River Estuary. This includes authorization for a new feasibility study for Lake Ontario coastal resiliency, as well as authorization to construct the Hudson-Raritan Estuary Ecosystem Restoration Project, the Army Corps East Rockaway Inlet to Rockaway Inlet and Jamaica Bay Hurricane Sandy Reformulation Project, the Hashamomuck Cove coastal storm risk management project, and several projects critical to New York’s water resources, navigation and watershed restoration.
The bill also includes language to expedite completion of many new projects, including the Lake Montauk Harbor Navigation Project, key to New York’s water restoration, risk management, and navigation. Schumer and Gillibrand secured a report on emergency flood protection for lakes in the new legislation, a critical piece to improving the use of existing Army Corps authorities for Lake Ontario flood protection.
“In order to protect our communities from flooding, preserve our shorelines, and restore New York’s precious water ecosystems, it is imperative that we properly rehabilitate our invaluable resources through the Water Resources Development Act every year,” said Senator Schumer. “I am proud to have secured so many vital projects this year that will help preserve and improve water resources in New York, including addressing harmful algal blooms, mitigating Lake Ontario flooding, protecting the Hudson River, and restoring Jamaica Bay. These projects are vital to ensuring New York’s long-term water resource viability, and I will work tirelessly to get the WRDA across the finish line.”
“Throughout the year I have fought to secure important projects to protect New York’s water resources in this year’s Water Resources Development Act. I’m pleased that so many new projects have been authorized, including a key study to improve shoreline resiliency and flood protection along Lake Ontario, which has experienced repetitive flooding in recent years,” said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Army Corps of Engineers. “These projects will make our state more resilient to the impacts of climate change and restore important ecosystems like the Hudson River Estuary and Jamaica Bay. I’m proud to have secured these critical provisions for our state in this bill and I will continue working until it is signed into law.”
The WRDA authorizes water resources studies and projects and sets policies for navigation, flood control, hydropower, recreation, water supply, and emergency management for the Army Corps. The final legislative text passed in the House and is set to appear on the Senate floor for votes in coming days.
“These changes ensure that as we confront the challenges of climate change together, we will not sacrifice the health of the Hudson River or leave disadvantaged communities behind,” said Jeremy Cherson, Legislative Advocacy Manager for Riverkeeper.