New council pledges to protect the Moodna watershed

| 22 Feb 2012 | 02:16

    One of the first projects planned: Making the creek more accessible for recreation, By Edie Johnson Chester — A new government council, six years in the making, has pledged to protect the Moodna Creek watershed and the people, plants and animals that depend on it. The council was officially launched at a signing ceremony last week in at the Black Rock Fish and Game Club in Mountainville, on the banks of the Woodbury Creek. David Church, the Orange County Planning Commissioner, called it a “momentous occasion.” The study of water, etherial and constantly changing, demands diligence and a willingness to adapt, he said. Church said the council was made possible by the efforts of 14 municipalities, county legislators and planners, the county water authority, the Hudson River Estuary Program, and technical advisors from the local environmental groups who pushed to bring the council into reality. The Black Rock Fish and Game Club, which dates back to 1921, was one of the council’s early advocates. The council is, even at its inception, nearly at the end of its current funding. For the near future, the council will focus on projects that are either voluntary or self-sustaining. Two Hudson River Estuary Program grants totalling $7,000 were secured by Scott Cuppet, watershed coordinator of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Another $8,000 came from the water authority. This money made possible the initial legal steps required to establish the council, the hiring of several staff members, and the purchase of water gages that will collect data for computer analysis. Gages will be placed on the Woodbury Creek at the Black Rock Fish and Game Club footbridge; at the Satterly, Cromline, and Otterkill Creeks; and behind Blooming Grove Town Hall. A primary function of the council will be to obtain grants. The council expects it will be easier to obtain funding as a large intermunicipal group. Other important functions will include implementing the Moodna Creek Watershed Conservation and Management Plan, and providing flood control and bank stabilization programs. While this first meeting began the complicated process of establishing the council — determining voting rights, whether leaders should be permanent or elected, and a schedule of meetings — the council already has a list of projects to begin with. Near the top is finding access points that would make the Moodna Creek more accessible to the public for recreation. Blooming Grove Supervisor Frank Fornario proposed an access point on about eight acres across from Patricia Lane in Washingtonville. Chester Supervisor Steve Neuhaus proposed a site along the Blackmeadow Creek for a possible recreational access and also for a study, especially because it is under pressure to be used for a new sewer treatment plant. Other projects the council is considering include design of a logo, signs, outreach programs, watershed cleanup days, brochures, and advertising. The next watershed council meeting is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 12 at the Village of Woodbury meeting hall. As the first order of business, the council officially recognized the table of environmental organizations that helped to create the council as an official advisory technical committee. They will create a lengthy list of subcommittee. The Moodna watershed stretches all the way from the Delaware River, across New York’s southern tier to a bay in Cornwall, where it discharges into the Hudson River.

    Founding members of the MOODNA council
    Towns and villages:
    Blooming Grove
    Chester (Town)
    Chester (Village)
    Cornwall (Town)
    Goshen (Town)
    Monroe (Town)
    Montgomery (Town)
    New Windsor
    South Blooming Grove
    Warwick (Town)
    Washingtonville (Village)
    Woodbury (Town)
    Woodbury (Village)
    Nongovernmental organizations:
    Black Rock Fish and Game Club
    Black Rock Forest
    New York Natural History Council
    New York/New Jersey Trail Conference
    Orange County Land Trust
    Palisades Interstate Park Commission
    Preservation Collective
    Tectonic Engineering and Surveying Consultants P.C.