The NY State Dept of Environmental Conservation, in response to our story, below, about the suspension of a flood mitigation program, says the action is not a final decision, and delays are necessary for further studies and administrative action.
Assistant Public Information Officer John Salka writes: “DEC is committed to working with the village of Mamaroneck to address ongoing and recent flooding issues as part of statewide efforts to advance proven and innovative strategies and make investments to address flooding to protect public safety and the environment. The Jan. 24, 2023, correspondence from DEC was not a final decision of the village’s permit application, but rather technical comments on the village’s application and items required for a complete application.
“This is a priority project for DEC and staff anticipates meeting with village officials and other appropriate agencies in the coming weeks to identify a solution to address this issue.”
Village of Mamaroneck Officials had released a strongly worded statement saying they are are “baffled and outraged by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (NYS DEC) refusal to let the municipality help itself. In a letter dated January 24, 2025, NYS DEC informed the Village that it will NOT permit an approved $1.358 Million dredging project to proceed without costly and time-consuming flood assessment studies that the Mayor, Village Manager, and Village Trustees all say will only underline the obvious in this flood-prone community.”
“Mamaroneck was devastated by massive flooding,” said Village Manager Jerry Barberio, “and remains under a storm water state of emergency. We simply cannot continue living like this.”
“In her letter, Rebecca S. Crist, NYS DEC Deputy Regional Permit Administrator wrote that [the NYS DEC] is well aware of the flooding issues that the Village has experienced and the impact this has had on its residents,” writes Barberio, “However, the NYS DEC requires extensive, long-term, and expensive studies to prove that dredging will help the flood situation in the Mamaroneck and Sheldrake River areas.
“It is time for the NYS DEC to step-up and cut the red tape that is hampering the Village’s dredging project from proceeding,” said Barberio, “and they need to clear the path, not schedule more meetings that disrespect our most vulnerable populations who are still suffering from devastating losses.”
Following the Village’s recovery from the September 2021 storm, costing over $100 million in damages, the Village’s Board of Trustees approved $1.358 million towards a dredging project that was identical to a similar one completed in 2011. Working in tandem with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) $88 million project flood risk management project, the Village intended to augment the USACE project by re-dredging the areas that were dredged in 2011. In 2022, the Village received Mamaroneck and Sheldrake Rivers Stream Control Permit No. 176 from Westchester County and learned from the NYS DEC that an Article 15 Stream Disturbance permit would not be required.
“The Village proceeded to work with GEI Consultants, Inc. a highly recognized engineering and environmental firm to work with New York State’s Department of State and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,” said Barberio. “At this point, we need the help of our State elected officials. The Village seems to have come to an impasse with the NYS DEC. We call upon Governor Kathy Hochul, and our State Legislators — State Senator Shelley Mayer and State Assemblyman Steve Otis — to intercede on our behalf and to persuade the NYS DEC to see the danger and recklessness of waiting to provide relief to our low/moderate income residents who constantly live under the threat of catastrophic flooding.”
“When Mamaroneck gets hit with the next flood and people ask what their government has done to protect them, I believe saying that we filled out voluminous forms and did protracted and needless studies will be viewed as a very insufficient answer,” said Village of Mamaroneck Mayor Tom Murphy.
Individuals interested in voicing their concerns are also encouraged to send an email to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org with “Response to NYS DEC” in the subject line.