In a step that will improve water quality and water resources protection, New York Secretary of State Randy A. Daniels and Ithaca Mayor Alan Cohen ’81 announced last night in a press conference that three areas in Tompkins County have been awarded grants from the New York State Local Waterfront Revitalization Program.
In June, Pataki announced that grants totaling $5.6 million as part of the 2001 Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) Local Waterfront Program would be awarded for 50 projects throughout the state, including three projects in the Tompkins County.
Daniels, who was appointed by Governor Pataki last year, said that the grants were a sign to the people of Ithaca of, “help in realizing your goals of reclaiming your waterfront and ensuring public access to it but most of all protecting it.”
Daniels also said that the grants were a further indication of Pataki’s commitment to the environment.
“Governor Pataki has made a commitment to New Yorkers, that he would return the waterfront to the people and the people to the waterfront.”
In Tompkins County, the three grants include two for the City of Ithaca and one to the Town of Dryden.
One $153,000 grant will be awarded for a corridor restoration of Six-mile Creek in Ithaca. According to a statement released by the New York Department of State, the grant will help the city of Ithaca to, “restore native forest vegetation at three priority river corridor habitat sites.”
A second site in Ithaca receiving $48,500 in funds will be the Ithaca Sciencenter. The city will be constructing a stormwater infiltration system at the center, as well as an educational, facility that will allow people to see the ways the system reduces the flow of pollutants and sediments into Cascadilla Creek.
“The project will have an important public demonstration value,” Daniels said.
Cohen agreed with Daniels.
“We’re very grateful for this demonstration project. Not only will it have actual application … but its going to be an important demonstration project for the youth in our community. The best way for us to preserve our environment is by teaching our young people,” he said.
Finally, the last and largest grant in Tompkins County has been awarded to the Town of Dryden, for the amount of $230,845. The funds will allow the Inter-Municipal Organization for Cayuga Lake’s watershed protection plan, which will begin erosion control measures in four sub-watersheds of Cayuga Lake. Deborah Grantham, chairwoman of the organization called the grant announcement, “years in the making,” and discussed the time the committee spent researching the watershed plan.
“We spent about the last four years developing what we call a watershed characterization, which is kind of a big picture of the water resources and quality of water in the whole watershed and developing what we call a restoration and protection plan for the watershed which is our watershed management plan. Once we got that done last August of 2001, we began searching for funding to do some implementation,” Grantham said.
The EPF grants are administered by the Department of State’s Division of Coastal Resources. Grants are available to communities for Local Water Revitalization Programs, city water body management plans, coastal education programming and “Waterfront ReDiscovery,” a program that helps local governments to improve the cultural, recreational and economic value of water resources.
“In New York, our waterfront used to be our backyard. Our governor is committed to making it our front door, and inviting the world to our communities through that front door,” Daniels said. “Our waterfronts and natural resources are assets that we must protect but most importantly they are assets we must reposition so that we can help restore and renew the economy of upstate New York,” he added.
Daniels’ announcement in Ithaca is part of a two day tour where he will be announcing $1.17 million in matching grants for water quality and preservation projects in Greece, Geneva, Auburn, Ithaca, Cortland, Syracuse and Oswego.
Archived article by Kate Cooper