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Lopez Flood Mitigation Meeting Finds Consensus in Prevention

Written By Editor on 12/12/13 | 12/12/13

Flooding is on the top of the agenda for many communities-- flooding in 2011 and 2013 has hampered many parts of the County and appears to be a threat that could come back at any time. With this in mind, Assemblyman Peter Lopez called together representatives of nearly every municipality in Schoharie County to discuss the issues.

This was the fourth in a series of meetings arranged by the Assemblyman since June's flash flooding hit Middleburgh and Schoharie. The meetings came about after Schoharie Supervisor Gene Milone asked for other ways to mitigate future floods.

The meeting was filled with local officials in the Schoharie Town Hall. Assemblyman Lopez listed several efforts that his office was making to solve major logistical feats.

Peter Nichols of the County Soil and Water Department circulated a list of grants recently applied for. This included training for flood work, for a study of the Schoharie Creek across five counties, to add stream gages, and to study the watershed-- a total of four proposals totaling over $1.6 million.

Gilboa Supervisor Tony vanGlad conveyed concern about local beaver dams since flooding in the southern part of the County caused by a beaver dam break earlier this year.

Schoharie Supervisor Gene Milone asked what the local communities could engage in to assist in the process. He asked: "Is there something specific we can do to help you?"

Assemblyman Lopez said that the grant proposals were an important step in getting the process rolling. Senator Jim Seward added, "This is the key going forward."

Colleen Fullford of the County Emergency Management Office had several pertinent points for the group, including speaking about FEMA funding. She said that 25% of FEMA money allocated would go toward mitigation.

Peter Nichols also mentioned that much of the money applied for was "out of a multi-billion dollar pot" of federal money granted to the state to deal with Hurricane Sandy.

Still, there was concern about whether significant funding would roll out. The frustration voiced by multiple local officials was shared by the higher-ups. Congressman Chris Gibson's Chief of Staff Steve Bulger said that the state was still making the decision about further funding.

Peter Lopez asked for an "inventory of programs," noting that Middleburgh and Schoharie already had a list ready for review. Fulton Supervisor Phil Skowfoe said that these projects needed to be "shovel ready."
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