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Study of creek possible

Debris a concern

November 22, 2012
By ARTHUR CLEVELAND , The Leader Herald

FONDA - A Latham-based company may conduct a study to determine how much debris from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee went into the Schoharie Creek last year.

Montgomery County Finance Committee members put forth a resolution the full Board of Supervisors could consider Tuesday to authorize an agreement with AECOM, an engineering firm, to perform a survey of the Schoharie Creek bed. The Debris Assessment Project, as it is called, would be funded by a state grant, according to Paul Clayburn, the commissioner of Public Works.

Clayburn said after the storms last year, a large volume of debris was deposited in the creek around the hamlet of Burtonville, which had to be cleared out. The storms severely flooded the creek, altering its historic water path and carrying the remains of destroyed homes, uprooted trees, tree limbs, and random garbage that were left behind when the water level lowered

"Based on that, there were some concerns about the other 50 miles of the Schoharie Creek," Clayburn said. "What debris is there, what impacts could it cause in the future?"

Clayburn said former Emergency Management Coordinator Dwight Schwabrow worked hard to get funding from FEMA and the State Emergency Management Office to pay for the study.

"Based on his work, he was able to get a grant from Empire State Development to pay for the project," Clayburn said.

The project assessment has a budget of $150,000, the resolution said. The project would begin as soon as possible, according to Clayburn. The survey would have two two-man field crews working for three-and-a-half weeks. The crews would move along the banks of the creek and look at the areas.

Robert Sullivan, supervisor of Charleston, said much of the damage has been cleaned up, but anything swept down the creek could end up blocking Lock 12.

"So, to my thinking, all of that has to be cleaned up," Sullivan said.

In Burtonsville last year, three houses were swept away, and Priddle Camp lost more than 19 houses to the flooding.

John Thayer, Board of Supervisors chairman and Root supervisor, said they are not certain what the survey would find.

"I expect them to come back and tell us what we need to repair," Thayer said.



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