Ann Gallelli: Eye on the Hudson

To the Editor,ann2016
As many of you are aware, the Hudson River is threatened by two separate actions being undertaken by federal agencies – the Coast Guard and the Army Corps of Engineers.
In 2017, the Coast Guard entertained a change in regulations that would permit up to 49 additional barge anchorages in the area between the GW Bridge and Kingston. In response to a huge outcry, and receiving 10,000+ comments, they formed a committee, Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment (PAWSA), to consider the responses.
The committee held 2 workshops in different geographic areas and was made of up of professionals in the maritime industry, local representatives of municipalities along the Hudson River, fishermen, recreational boaters, and environmental experts such a Riverkeeper. I was one of the invited attendees.
The result is the formation of another committee, the Hudson River Safety, Navigation & Operations Committee (HRSNOC). This committee will have its first meeting on October 2 to address the previously identified facets of recreational and commercial safety on the river. I expect to attend this meeting and hope to raise issues of scenic, environmental and economic relevance to communities like Croton who have large investments in their riverfront.
More recently, The Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) has completed a draft of alternative approaches to protecting the coastline from storm surges. It is called the NY-NJ Storm Surge Protection Program and is in response to Hurricane Sandy damage in 2012. The approaches range from actual barriers closing off NY harbor and flow to the Hudson River to storm-hardening vulnerable coastal areas.
While storm surges are definitely something to be addressed there are reasons to be very careful about the approach selected. Riverkeeper warns of barriers threatening the actual life of the river as far north as Troy in so far as changing currents and flows affect its ecology, habitats, breeding areas, etc. Other approaches suggested may have effects on one or more coastal communities. Each needs to be studied carefully. ACOE proposes only to further study the few it considers “most viable”. Further the ACOE proposals would not be required to be measured against the federal Coastal Zone Management standards.
This effectively cuts off inputs from Villages like Croton that specifically adopted a Local Waterfront Revitalization Program so we could have such input. In fact, it is our LWRP that gave us standing in the previously mentioned Anchorage discussion and was a decisive factor in defeating the Millennium Pipeline of prior years.
On the ACOE proposal, the Village has adopted a resolution supporting a complete and thorough study of all the options as well as including the Coastal Zone Management standards for review purposes. The comment period has been extended to Nov. 5. It is unclear what will come next but the Village has a clear interest in participating in this review and we will be staying abreast of the developments ahead.
Ann Gallelli

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