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DEC awards $50k for waterfront projects

Three grants given to Schenectady County-based initiatives

— For the first time, the state Department of Environmental Conservation has awarded grants to support Mohawk River Basin area projects, with three of the six grants anchored in Schenectady County.

DEC Commissioner Joe Martens announced Wednesday, Feb. 6, that $50,000 was awarded to projects helping achieve the goals of the Mohawk River Basin Action Agenda 2012-16.

The Action Agenda aims to conserve, protect and restore fish, wildlife and their habitats; protect and improve Mohawk River Basin water quality; promote flood hazard risk reduction and enhanced flood resiliency; use sustainable development to revitalize Mohawk River Basin communities; and preserve “working landscapes” by assisting well-managed farms and forests.

“These grants will help local partners fund projects designed to help preserve and protect the Mohawk River,” Martens said in a statement.

Three local projects are receiving a total of $20,000 to tackle a range of initiatives tied to the Mohawk River.

The Town of Niskayuna was awarded $10,000 to perform a feasibility study for waterfront development at the former Aqueduct House property. The Friends of Niskayuna Rowing had approached the town about building a new boathouse at the site.

The club is seeking to build a public use building with public restrooms in addition to a new boathouse, with an aim to further establish Aqueduct Park as a popular site for non-motorized boaters.

Since there are no sewer connections into the park the study would evaluate if the property would support a septic system. The town and club are each paying $5,000 to match the grant funding.

“This will give us a plan of what we have to do and a good idea of everything is going to cost,” Town Supervisor Joe Landry said.

ECOS: The Environmental Clearing House, Inc., was awarded $3,500 to help provide updates to its Mohawk River bike/hike trail guide book for Schenectady and Montgomery county, along with creating its first guide for Albany County. The guides are available at local bookstores and some local bike shops.

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