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New York Environmental Protection Commissioner Carter Strickland announced that the New York Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will provide $1 million in funding to help businesses recover from flood damage as a result of Hurricane Irene and the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee.
Statewide estimates of the damage as a result of these storms exceed $1 billion with some of the most severely affected communities in New York City's watershed. During and directly after the storms, DEP provided significant assistance from its upstate and in-city crews to help watershed communities clear debris, open and rebuild roads, and clean and rehabilitate sewer lines, with in-kind contributions of manpower, equipment and materials valued at roughly $1 million.
The additional $1 million in funding for businesses will supplement a $5 million Flood Recovery Fund established by the Catskill Watershed Corporation and approved by DEP and other CWC board members. The Catskill Watershed Corporation is a regional not-for-profit established in 1997 to administer water quality protection and economic development programs in the Catskill and Delaware watersheds as part of New York City's program to retain and unfiltered drinking water supply.
"The recent storms have been devastating to our partners upstate," said Strickland. "The impact of Hurricane Irene in the watershed in particular was much stronger than anticipated and the cumulative effects of Tropical Storm Lee made it even worse. To do our part to help the region recover, DEP personnel have been providing equipment, and emergency response and technical assistance during and since the storm. This contribution will help reestablish vibrant communities and is in the long-term interest of the New York City drinking water supply."
The DEP funding will add to the Catskill Fund for the Future (CFF), which was established in 1997 as part of the watershed Memorandum of Agreement and is administered by the CWC to support flood recovery efforts. The CFF supports responsible, environmentally sensitive economic development projects in the West of Hudson watershed by making loans or grants to Qualified Economic Development Projects. CFF-funded projects encourage environmentally sound development as well as watershed protection and job growth in the watershed communities.