Funding for river council reinstated
NARROWSBURG, NY — Having entered its 30th anniversary year with no income to meet ongoing expenses, the Upper Delaware Council, Inc. (UDC) weathered a nearly five-month funding drought before finding out on February 8 that access to its federal appropriation had been restored.
The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) had withheld the reimbursement payments that the UDC applies for monthly to fulfill its responsibilities outlined in a cooperative agreement with the National Park Service (NPS) while the agency reviewed all federal grants valued at $50,000 or more.
No timetable or updates were offered for completion of those nationwide reviews.
Since federal Fiscal Year 2018 began on October 1, 2017, the UDC was forced to draw down from its modest working capital account to remain operational.
The council took action at its February 1 board meeting to set a March 30, 2018 closure date with staff layoffs if the $300,000 annual federal funding stream remained inaccessible.
UDC Chairperson Aaron Robinson (Shohola Township) expressed relief and appreciation that the imminent closure was averted.
“I am elated to learn that our 2018 funding has been reinstated. Although the suspension of funding inflicted many setbacks to our operation and staff, the UDC will do its best to overcome these obstacles and move forward with our work plan for 2018. We will now be able to use its financial resources once again toward productive purposes,” he said.
“I extend my wholehearted thanks to those in the public sector, private individuals, other concerned organizations, the media, and especially Congressman John Faso (NY-19) for advocating for us during this ‘do-or-die’ period,” Robinson said.
Sounding a note of caution after fiscal year 2017 funding had been similarly delayed by an unexpected DOI review that lasted from April to July, the UDC chairperson added, “I only hope this is the very last ‘near-death experience’ that the council will endure.”
The 501(c)(3) corporation was established in 1988 to ensure the effective implementation of the Final 1986 River Management Plan (RMP) for the 1978 Congressionally-designated Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River and oversee its administration on a continuing basis, utilizing the existing authorities of its members.
News that the UDC had secured critical federal funding came through a press release from the office of Congressman John Faso (R-Kinderhook) on February 8. It said Faso had worked with DOI Secretary Zinke’s office and the department during both fiscal year 2017 and fiscal year 2018 to alleviate the funding delays.
“This funding is absolutely critical for UDC and the important work that they do,” said Faso. “I am happy that I was able to work with the Department of Interior to help them understand the critical work UDC performs to conserve and manage the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River and ensure that they receive their funding before their March 30th deadline.”