ALBANY, NY (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) commissioner Basil Seggos announced on Thursday, August 31 that several waterways along the Mohawk River will receive money from grants throughout the state. The $600,000 in grants are aimed at conservation, preservation and restoration of the Mohawk River and its watershed.  

The watershed encompasses 14 counties and 172 municipalities, including the cities of Rome, Utica and Little Falls.  The grants are supported by the state’s Environmental Protection Fund and allow the grant-winners to implement the goals and objectives of the Mohawk River Basin Action Agenda, established in 2021. The agenda strategically identifies four goals to fulfill the mission of the Mohawk River Basin Program. It also focuses on projects that prioritize water quality, flooding, animal habitats, and recreation.

“The Mohawk River Watershed is one of upstate New York’s essential environmental and economic treasures,” Delgado said in a statement.  “These grants will go to protecting the Mohawk River habitats, improving water quality, building a more resilient region and ensuring a cleaner, more sustainable future for our state.”

Four local projects were funded by the grants announced on Thursday. The first was $50,000 given to a study to identify gaps in infrastructure and services along the Erie Canal. The study will also help identify existing and potential new launch sites and existing and needed amenities along the canal between the City of Rome and the town of Waterford in Saratoga County.

The second – a total of almost $33,000 will go to the Oneida County Soil and Water Conservation District, specifically in the village of Waterville. The money will go toward a project between the village and Oneida County to reduce bank erosion and enhance high-flow management in a section of Big Creek near the village’s wastewater treatment.

Another grant will go to the town of Whitestown, where $50,0000 will go to a project on the Sauquoit Creek that is designed to reconnect the creek to its natural floodplain. The project also includes an enlargement of an existing floodplain, plus the building of a new one on the lower part of Commercial Drive.

The fourth grant will go to a partnership between two SUNY colleges and the DEC – SUNY Poly and SUNY Cobleskill. This almost $ 30,000 grant will allow students and volunteers to participate in the first watershed-scale assessment of fecal indicator bacteria at 28 sites within the watershed to allow for better assessment of drinking water safety.

This is the sixth round of grants awarded through the program.

“DEC’s Mohawk River Watershed Grants program is investing in key projects that will protect and enhance the Mohawk River while helping manage the watershed’s resources for a sustainable future,” Seggos said in a statement. “This unique region is an environmental, recreational, and economic asset and these grants are promoting sustainability and improving the health of the region’s fish and wildlife habitat, as well as its drinking water.”