Preparing for Future Catskill Creek Flooding

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Photo by Jeff Anzevino

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Photo by Jeff Anzevino

By WILLIAM SHANNON

Tropical storms Irene and Lee and Superstorm Sandy caused $3 million in damage to structures within the Village of Catskill, and more preparation for flooding and expected sea level rise must be done, according to a flooding resiliency task force report released by the state Department of Environmental Conservation this week.

“In the absence of steps to adapt to changing conditions along the waterfront, cumulative damages from flood events could exceed $15 million, with many homes permanently impacted and several key public assets like the sewage treatment facility, Catskill Point public spaces, the Public School, and many roads increasingly at risk,” states the report. The task force was made up of 16 local residents, including Vincent Seeley, president of the Village of Catskill, Catskill business owners and representatives from the village planning board, public works, and Greene County Emergency Management.

The village is situated on both sides of the Catskill Creek near its mouth. During storms it can face both the effects of water draining from much of Greene County on the creek and coastal storm surges advancing up the Hudson River combining with high tide.

The report offers adaption strategies for landowners and for future development near the creek.

The report also features various projections of what effect differing degrees of sea level rise could have on the Hudson River and the Village of Catskill. One projection map shows almost all of Catskill Point Park underwater during high tides by the year 2100 and shows major increases in flood risks along the creek.

The recommendations from the report span from developing flood mitigation options to strengthening communication and emergency management and working with other towns in the Catskill Creek watershed to rethink storm water runoff systems.

The full 77-page report can be downloaded at http://on.ny.gov/1DeXxVz