Saturday, May 9, 2009

Upstream, Dealing With Flooding on the Wallkill

The TH Record today has a report about steps taken (or, mostly, not taken) to address flooding on the Wallkill River, as well as the Esopus and Minisink. The Wallkill forms the western boundary of the Town of Esopus. The article focuses on efforts in the Black Dirt area of Orange County, once the nation's premiere onion-growing region and still a major agricultural center. The Black Dirt region is essentially a prehistoric swamp that's been mostly drained to create amazingly rich and productive soils ... that are also highly erodable.

One interesting point in the article:

"Since 2005, the Black Dirt has suffered three floods that models predict should happen only once every 50 years."

Note that climate scientists have predicted that global warming will result in more intense short bursts of precipitation. The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation predicts that "Rising sea levels and strong storms will cause localized floods and threaten shoreline infrastructure and development," as one local consequence of global warming (from Fact Sheet: Climate Change in the Hudson Valley, also available as a printable pdf.

In other words, this upstream problem is likely to continue to affect the Town of Esopus in the coming years, so we should keep an eye on developments with this flood-control project.

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