TriCorner News published the below editorial about the grant HVA received to develop a watershed management plan for the Ten Mile River.
The Millerton News Editorial / Opinion/Viewpoint
The health of our waterways is vital to this region, which has the Ten Mile River watershed running through it. Thankfully, last month, the Housatonic Valley Association (HVA) announced that the Ten Mile River Collaborative received a $64,000 Long Island Sound Futures Fund Grant to develop a watershed management plan.
So, what does that mean exactly? Well, according to the proposal abstract, “the primary goal of this project is to build the local capacity necessary to get out in front of emergent threats to Ten Mile River health, and mitigate potential increases in nutrient loading from the Ten Mile River to the Housatonic River and Long Island Sound, and also to identify and address existing water quality impacts.”
Sounds complicated, but it’s really rather simple. The grant will help HVA face management challenges, go beyond municipal boundaries and organizational missions, most notably, according to HVA, nonpoint source pollution and flooding.
The Ten Mile River watershed covers 200 square miles in eastern Dutchess County and western Litchfield County, Conn., including 15 municipalities. Getting all of those towns and villages to cooperate, and more importantly, collaborate, is critical to protecting the watershed. Also shared by the watershed are two federal agency regions, two state environmental agencies, two Soil and Water Conservation Districts, two regional planning agencies, multiple nonprofits and other agencies, including the Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County and the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies.
The $64,000 grant will be met by $83,000 in matching funds to help HVA do things like restore stream banks and forge relationships between schools and conservationists. It will help make watershed management more manageable, all while promoting the health and longevity of our streams and rivers.
HVA has worked for years to foster the collaboration among all Ten Mile River watershed communities, state and regional agencies, nonprofits and residents to meet its goal. We, who live in the Ten Mile River watershed, should be grateful.
HVA is a valuable resource for the Harlem Valley, and for the protection and preservation of water quality, as noted by Amenia town Councilwoman Vicki Doyle. Doyle, who is the Town Board’s liaison to Amenia’s Conservation Advisory Council (CAC), knows that of which she speaks. She also works for the Cary Institute, and is an advocate for protecting rivers and streams in the Ten Mile River water basin.
“They’re a huge resource of information and expertise,” she said of HVA.
And she’s right. In Amenia alone, HVA has helped create a rain garden behind the Town Hall playground that collects water run off from the roof and the parking lot. HVA has helped plant trees and shrubs along waterways to ensure stream bank stability, reduced erosion and more hospitable trout stream conditions. HVA has even helped with Earth Day clean up days, during which volunteers collect trash and help beautify local roads and stream banks in an effort to help the environment. HVA has also been helping with the review of the Kent Hollow Mine application currently before the Amenia Zoning Board of Appeals, weighing in on mining activity close to the Webatuck Creek and its impact on water quality and ecology in the area.
And, thanks to this grant, HVA will be helping to create a management plan, which will ensure the health and longevity of the Ten Mile River watershed for years to come. With an office in Wassaic, as well as offices in Cornwall Bridge, Conn., and Stockbridge, Mass., HVA is a strong supporter of life in our region. We’re so very glad it is.