April 01, 2013
With endangered species’ conservation in mind, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a partnership with environmental groups to help protect the Hudson River during the construction of the new Tappan Zee Bridge.
Riverkeeper and Scenic Hudson worked with the Governor’s Office to minimize the environmental impacts of the bridge’s construction. The Department of Environmental Conservation issued permits last week authorizing the New York State Thruway Authority to move forward with construction plans, according to information from Cuomo’s Office.
“We are making record progress on building a new bridge for the Hudson Valley while ensuring the comprehensive protection of the environment and natural beauty of this region,” Cuomo said. “Riverkeeper and Scenic Hudson’s support for the state’s extensive environmental protections is a critical step forward for the New NY Bridge.”
The DEC permits set aside $10 million for environmental enhancements.
The project will include the restoration of a river channel at Gay’s Point to provide a “fish spawning habitat,” replace 13 acres of oyster beds, eradicate 200 acres of invasive species and restoring water flow at Crumkill Creek in Piermont Marsh, it will also reduce storm water pollution and improve water quality at Sparkill Creek and allow for the design of additional projects for habitat enhancement and rehabilitation projects, according to information from the Governor’s Office.
“The significant reduction in dredging and the use of the smaller pilings, coupled with a strong DEC permit, increased mitigation funding and the state’s agreement to give us a seat at the table in monitoring the construction all add up to a project we can work with,” said Paul Gallay, president of Riverkeeper.
The bridge construction project is expected to have a minimal impact on the endangered Atlantic and Shortnose sturgeon, native to the area. Sound attenuation systems, seasonal limits on dredging to avoid peak migration and spawning and monitoring the fish movement are also part of the plan.
“Scenic Hudson is proud to have achieved, through this permit and agreement, stronger protections for the river and communities that could be impacted by the project,” said Scenic Hudson President Ned Sullivan.
Coast Guard and Army approvals are still required.
(*Republished with permission from The Legislative Gazette, by Legislative Gazette Staff Writers)