The DEC has announced that more than $850,000 has been awarded to counties here in the Hudson Valley to help those communities in the Hudson River Estuary watershed improve their water quality, and preserve natural resources.

The grants will go towards projects like removing dams and mitigating culverts to bring back the aquatic habitat connectivity for certain aquatic creatures. The grants will help communities with the impacts of localized flooding along tributaries of the Hudson River.

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said:

Through the state's Environmental Protection Fund, communities in the Hudson River Estuary will be able to support dam removals and other critical projects that promote sustainability and improve the health of the region's fish, wildlife, and other natural resources

Orange, Columbia, and Rensselaer Counties, Riverkeeper will receive $200,778 which goes towards examining a minimum of nine priority dams and six tributaries of the Hudson River to figure out if removal will actually improve water quality.

Down in Putnam County, the Open Space Institute will receive $113,800 which will be used to complete the planning and permitting of the demolition of the Sloan Dam and a spillway and culvert on Arden Brook. Removing this dam will create a natural wetland where a pond that was created by the dam currently sits. This project will restore close to 5,000 feet of the stream.

In Ulster County, the Town of Esopus will receive $430,200 to replace two culverts that are undersized located on Dashville and Hardenburg Roads. Replacing these tunnels will bring back aquatic connectivity, and create free-flowing conditions.