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The Best Gifts from Schoharie County

Showing posts with label Gilboa Dam. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gilboa Dam. Show all posts

DEP Investigating Oily Sheen in Schoharie Reservoir

Written By Cicero on 4/8/15 | 4/8/15

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection is investigating the cause of an oily sheen that was discovered in the Schoharie Reservoir on Monday afternoon. 

According to a press release issued this morning, the sheen was located several hundred feet down shore from the intake, but was successfully prevented from leaving the reservoir by water safety operators shutting down the intake chamber and installing an absorbent boom around the intake structure. 

A Watershed Post story on the oily spill quoted DEP spokesman Adam Bosch as saying the sheen was approximately fifty feet wide and about nine hundred feet long. 

As of Tuesday morning the sheen had dissipated and was no longer visible in the Schoharie Reservoir, which stores up to 19.6 billion gallons of water that is collected from a 314-mile watershed and diverted to New York City through a series of tunnels, creeks, and reservoirs. 

Although the official cause is still unknown, Hurricane Irene is at least partially responsible: "A preliminary investigation found that the sheen was likely coming from a previously undiscovered tank that was washed into Schoharie Reservoir in 2011 by Hurricane Irene."

Blaming shifting ice and low water levels for dislodging the tank, DEP officials will continue to monitor the Reservoir for additional sheens, as well as develop plans to remove the tank once the ice melts and and its location is pinpointed. 

NYC Announces Schoharie Reservoir Release to Offset Winter Snowpack

Written By Cicero on 3/23/15 | 3/23/15

New York City Department of Environmental Protection officials laid out a new path for handling and preventing excessive reservoir levels at the Gilboa Dam before the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors on Friday morning.

A path that was praised by local officials.

Announcing the city's intention to reduce reservoir levels annually down to 90% of available capacity from October 15 to March 15, DEP officials explained that the release would serve as a flood mitigation measure against accumulated snowpack in the winter.

Assemblyman Peter Lopez, thanking the city's representatives, commented that his office "found the City of New York listening to us," in what he described as intelligent and thoughtful exchanges between Upstate and New York City representatives.

The plan, not set to take place until construction of the permanent release chamber at the reservoir is complete in 2020, also calls for a daily minimum conservation release of 10-15 million gallons to improve habitat conditions in the Schoharie Creek.

"This is wonderful news," stated Howard Bartholomew of Dam Concerned Citizens, a not-for-profit advocacy group for the Gilboa Dam and Schoharie Reservoir. He would later say that the DEP was "killing two birds with one stone" in their initiative

The Schoharie Reservoir is the northernmost reservoir in the city's water supply system and has been a source of controversy and discontent between Schoharie County and the city with respects to the potential for flooding caused by the Gilboa Dam.

Blenheim Supervisor Shawn Smith praised the agreement by stating, "This is a great step toward a cooperative agreement which will protect the people of Blenheim from future flooding events, which is of the utmost importance to our town." 

County Board Hears Dam Update, Flood Recovery Report, Recognizes Bob Mann in Year-End Meeting

Written By Editor on 12/23/13 | 12/23/13

"Two years ahead of contract schedule," is what John Vickers of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection told the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors about New York City's efforts to build up the Gilboa Dam at Friday morning's December and year-end board meeting in Schoharie.
Vickers, who was assisted by regional engineer Mark Suttmeier in Friday's power-point presentation, stated that two of five phases were completed in dam reconstruction work thus far and that 165,000 tons of weight will be added to the dam at the project's conclusion, coming from the replacement of loose stone structure with concrete steps and 38 torsional anchors.
Town of Schoharie Supervisor Gene Milone questioned why "there was not a dredging project attached to this as well," pointing out that there was a build up of sedimentation behind the dam and that they were losing storage of water supply. Mr. Vickers conceded there has not been a study on sediment build up since the nineties, and that they were planning to do one in the near future, but that "as long as sediment builds up in the dead storage area it has no impact on water storage."
In other county business, the Board of Supervisors heard from an AECOM representative that while there are "four highly qualified contractors to work on the four creeks," included in local efforts to address stream restoration, that seventeen landowners have still not signed on. Board Chairman Phil Skowfoe commented that the landowners were potentially "jeopardizing the project."
Possible ways for the project to move forward if the landowners continue to hold out is for either AECOM to redraw their plans or for the county to consider using eminent domain. In a startling admission, the AECOM representative revealed that they have "overshot their numbers," and are $400,000 over design costs as of now, although the money is available through Natural Resources Conservation Service grants the project has been awarded.
Schoharie County Treasurer and Recovery Coordinator William Cherry followed up AECOM's report with news that FEMA has officially denied the county's request to relocate the jail and Public Safety Facility to higher ground. FEMA maintains that the construction costs of rebuilding and code-mandated mitigation efforts should not be added with a total rebuilding price tag of $13.2 million and that they would only use the construction cost when calculating their "50% rule."
However, as Mr. Cherry pointed out, FEMA has added construction and mitigation costs together to exceed the 50% threshold in other projects across the country, but have insisted that those cases do not set a precedent, which the county disagrees with. The Treasurer also stated that State DEC officials may write a letter to FEMA saying that they do not encourage rebuilding in the flood plain.
The Board of Supervisors voted 12-0 on Mr. Cherry's recommendation to further appeal FEMA's position that they repair the existing building by presenting their arguments directly to officials in Washington D.C., with full support of New York Senator Charles Schumer and Congressman Chris Gibson, as permitted in the appeal process.
On the lighter side of things, Town of Esperance Supervisor Earl Van Wormer praised five departing members of the county board: Anne Batz of Broome, Donald Brandow of Conesville, Robert Mann of Blenheim, Thomas Murray of Cobleskill and Dan Singletary of Jefferson for their service, saying that "It's a good thing to have people you disagree with."
He followed up his praise by offering a motion of special recognition to Blenheim Town Supervisor Robert Mann, who he was elected to the Board of Supervisors with twenty years ago, that was agreed upon unanimously and with applause from all members of the county board. Mr. Mann wasn't present at Friday's meeting.
Members of the county board then approved a series of resolutions, committee motions and entered into a brief period of executive discussion, concluding the 2013 legislative session.

Gilboa Dam to Reach Action Stage Tuesday

Written By Editor on 6/30/13 | 6/30/13

With scattered thunderstorms expected to bring strong rains over the next three days, the Gilboa Dam is expected to pass its action stage of 1,125.1 feet sometime late Tuesday morning into the afternoon.
The Gilboa Dam - September, 2009.
Although the dam's height is expected to reach 1,126.6 feet Wednesday morning, it is not expected that levels will reach flood stages, but it is a sign creek and stream levels will be high across the county and more flash flooding cannot be ruled out as thunderstorms roll in.
The dam hasn't reached its minor flood stage since the twin-punch of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in late August/early September 2011 and thankfully it doesn't appear likely to do so this time either.

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