Welcome and Happy Memorial Day!
This is our third newsletter. If you’ve read the first two, this could become habit forming. First-timers, the habit’s harmless.
Hang with us!
Leaf Packs with Walt
P rofessor Walter Jahn comes to us from the faculty of SUNY Middletown and adds the science of the leaf pack network to our observational toolbag. Bundled leaves are submerged in water where they attract a population of invertebrates. Dr. Jahn’s analysis of the size and nature of that population offers clues as to the health of water based on the quality and amount of nutrients it provides. We are honored to have Walt working with us.

And, speaking of volunteers, our video introducing the program and the team, “Watching the Waters,” has been completed and is up on YouTube right now.

We’ve hit our funding for this year, and will be bringing 3 new stations online this summer. We owe profound thanks to two new institutional donors for making this happen.

Recent grants from The Bank of Greene County and The Foundation for Sustainability and Innovation have allowed us to fully fund WaterInsight for 2021.
New maps that can be explored via ArcGIS technology are coming soon to the website. The maps now reveal our latest aerial observations, data from our water monitors, waterbody and wetland info, and more. Check them out shortly in the mapping directory.
Has been a quiet couple months at the planning boards, except for some recent movement on Rivendale. At its May 12 meeting, the Deerpark Planning Board heard Fusco Engineering’s report regarding the proposed Rivendale project. The recommendation being a positive declaration for Rivendale, requiring a full Environmental Impact Statement.

In response, Rivendale’s engineer John Fuller asked for Fusco Engineering to first respond with Environmental Assessment Form, Part II.

Fuller, also representing New Century Film, Fuller discussed a proposed commercial kitchen in a residential property, though no formal plans have been presented.

Coming soon • With our next edition of this newsletter, we will be releasing our Summer report cards for 2021, summarizing the players and circumstances of various projects of concern.
We were back at the Port Jervis City-Wide Yard Sale this past May 1st. The wind was brisk, and so were sales of our smoked trout dip from Forage Pizza. See it all on video here. Despite the wind, a good time was had by all.
Deerpark Rural Alliance Update
From the desks of Grace Woodard and Susan O’Neill

Meeting with Friends of the Upper Delaware River (FUDR). Last week, Alex, Zach, and Grace met with the staff of FUDR in Hancock, NY. FUDR is a regional preservation and restoration organization, as are DRA and NYenvironcom. Beneficial exchange.

DRA and NYenvironcom will have a tent at the Port Jervis Farmers Market on lower Pike Street twice a month through the season: video, photos, smiles, and information and goodies are for sale. Stay tuned for the announcement of the date for a public ceremony of our first monitoring station on the Neversink, located off of Myers Neversink Grove, on land held by The Nature Conservancy.

DRA continues to coordinate water monitoring information with Frank Coviello of the BKAA water monitoring project.

DRA is Watching:
  • The Rivendale Subdivision • See update above
  • New Century Film • Update • Still no master plan; lots of food plans--catering, indoor restaurant and shops above motel (converted horse barn), the original restaurant in the VIP Lounge is scrapped. Town frustrated. Some filming continues.
  • Proposed 11 Home Subdivision • Neversink Drive • Near the radio station, two houses close to the Neversink.

New - Sign our petition on Change.org calling for expanded oversight and action on Dragon Springs.

The CCC—Consultant Content Corner
And finally, here we have the first of our guest columns from friends and colleagues in the environmental field. This time around our go-to engineer Kevin shares some knowledge on planning issues.

Stormwater Infiltration in the Planning Process—Perilous Pitfalls
by Kevin Draganchuk, P.E., BCEE, President, CEA Engineers, P.C.

For any land development project, proper collection, conveyance, and treatment of stormwater runoff is essential to minimize the impacts of increased stormwater flows and pollutant loads that result from conversion of natural, vegetated land to hard surfaces, such as roads, parking lots, and building rooftops.

With the advent several years ago of NYSDEC’s requirement for development projects to reduce the volume of runoff generated by a 90% occurrence rainfall, green practices that utilize infiltration as a treatment method have experienced increased utility. (More on this in full article online)

As an environmental engineer routinely involved in reviewing stormwater pollution prevention plans (“SWPPPs”) for proposed development projects, when I see infiltration stormwater management practices (SMPs) proposed, alarm bells ring in my head! It’s not that infiltration SMPs do not effectively remove pollutants from stormwater and recharge groundwater. When properly implemented design, construction methods, and maintenance are utilized, they are fantastic for stormwater treatment, however, there are numerous potential pitfalls in such proper implementation.

NYSDEC has rigorous design requirements for infiltration SMPs to promote effective stormwater treatment, including soil infiltration rate testing, soil characterization, pre-treatment requirements, and separation distance from seasonally high groundwater or bedrock. Construction methods need to ensure that the soils underlying an infiltration SMP are protected and not compacted by construction equipment or clogged through use as sediment basins during construction. Long-term maintenance practices, including maintaining vegetative growth in bioretention areas, removing decaying plant matter and trash, and sediment removal from pre-treatment areas are essential for infiltration SMPs to remain perpetually effective.

Due to the myriad of potential pitfalls, whenever I review a SWPPP for a proposed development as part of the SEQR process here in New York State and see infiltration SMPs proposed to achieve RRv and treat stormwater, I analyze the soil testing, design, proposed construction methods, and proposed long-term maintenance with a fine-tooth comb. All too often, I find improper soil testing techniques used, failures to meet NYSDEC’s design standards, and absolutely no plan for long-term maintenance, all of which are pitfalls that can lead to infiltration SMPs failing and our precious waterways degrading through increased stormwater pollution loads.
In The Meantime . . .
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Tip: try an order of the DRAxForage Pizza smoked trout dip. It’s wonderful.
Until next time . . .
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Alex (Al) Scilla

Founder & Director

Thanks to our 2020/2021 sponsors and supporters

Aspen Community Foundation

The Bank of Greene County

Basha Kill Area Association

The Foundation for Sustainability and Innovation

Orange & Rockland Community Investment Program

Stroud Water Research Center

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