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Audio Feature: Hudson River stories

Nov 25, 2017 2:55 am
Here are some stories from the Hudson River this week. Click here to hear an audio version of this report. (6:16)

The Stevens Institute reports temperatures this week in the Hudson River at Schodack Island have been between 40 and 43 degrees, one degrees cooler than last week's high.

Christina Coulter reports for Hudson Valley One that Bristol Beach State Park in Malden does not include a developed beach on the Hudson River, but it could have one for a little more than a half-million dollars. Landscape architects have a $560,000 plan to dredge sand from the Hudson River and create a beach at the Ulster County park. “Hopefully five years from now we’ll all be celebrating [there] in our bathing suits in July,” said Thaddeus Kolankowski, a landscape architect at Barton and Loguidice D.P.C., Nov. 16 at the Frank Geco Senior Center. Not everyone is onboard the beach idea. “Every little bit of the river is occupied,” Malden resident Ann Krupp told the meeting. “This is one little bit that’s wild. My main concern is: Who’s going to keep this up? Who’s going to do the weekly diligence to make sure this place isn’t trashed? Once you get people who start using the trails … it’s going to get trashed.” Greg Brownstone worried about the many eagles that nest along the Hudson River. “Each year the eagles have another two hatchlings. Disturb this area and they don’t do it,” he said. The architects would add two new entrances to the undeveloped park between Route 9W and the Hudson River. One on Benzal Road on 9W, and another opposite Stoley Lane at Main Street. Read the full story at Hudson Valley One

Amanda Purcell is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media a $4.8 billion investment in the Hudson River watershed wastewater infrastructure is needed, according to a report released by Riverkeeper. The environmental advocacy group analyzed both the water quality and infrastructure needs along the 155 miles of the Hudson River and found that while the river is generally safe for swimming, raw sewage overflows and leaks from an aging and failing infrastructure often cause the water to be unsafe. Twenty-one percent of Hudson River Estuary samples failed to meet federal safe-swimming guidelines. Riverkeeper is calling for reducing combined sewer overflows, and fixing aging treatment plants, pump stations and pipes. The average age of sewer pipes in the region is more than 60 years, with some well over 100 years old. The report calls for a $132 million investment in the Capital Region, including Greene and Columbia counties. Riverkeeper is advocating for the federal government to double its funding for state revolving funds and an increase in state funding through existing water infrastructure improvement programs. Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.

Brian Nearing is reporting in the Times Union the state of New York sent the results of its own study on the Hudson River PCB cleanup to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt Nov. 23. Those results indicate the cleanup is not finished and more work needs to be done. Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said some 1,200 samples taken from the river this summer prove the state's case. The EPA supervised the seven-year, $1 billion PCB cleanup of the river by General Electric Co., which has steadfastly maintained that it has met EPA requirements that were part of a 2002 agreement to perform the work. It's clear from the state's ongoing research that EPA's job is not done and they cannot declare that this remediation is complete." said Seggos. If the federal agency fails New York, Seggos said, the state will explore all legal options to challenge the EPA's decision. Federal officials are now considering whether to sign off on the cleanup project. That move is opposed by the state and numerous government, civic and environmental groups. EPA currently estimates that fish in the river will not be safe for people to eat for another 50 years if the present PCB levels remain. Read the full story in the Times Union.

Matthew Hamilton reports in the Albany Times Union former U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey, a Democrat from Saugerties who for years represented parts of the Hudson Valley and Catskills south of the WGXC listening area, died Nov. 22 at the age of 79. Rep. John Faso, a Republican from Kinderhook who represents much of Hinchey's former district, announced the news in a statement saying, that Hinchey was, "a fierce defender of the environment" who "left an important mark on New York State from his years as Chairman of the Committee on Environmental Conservation.... I served with Maurice in the state Assembly and knew him to be an articulate and dedicated proponent of the causes he believed in and the people he served." Hinchey had not publicly spoken in a long time, as a rare brain disorder caused Parkinson's-like symptoms and a loss of speech, his family revealed earlier in the year. Hinchey was in the state Assembly from 1975 until 1992, and then was elected to Congress, serving there until 2013. He was one of the first representatives to oppose the war in Iraq, but will always be best-known for his environmental efforts, including efforts to rid the Hudson River of PCBs. Read the full story in the Albany Times Union.