Excavating the Beaverkill: an exchange of information

Our outdoors columnist Tony Bonavist received a response from reader Marty Borko of Waverly, NY regarding Bonavist’s February 8 column about recent excavation projects reconfiguring the upper Beaverkill River. The letter asked how the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) gave a negative SEQRA declaration on the project, whether the public knew about it, what structures they put in and what mitigation safeguards were built into the permits.

The below is a copy of Bonavist’s reply to Borko, with the permission of both:

Dear Marty:

Thanks for your inquiry regarding the article I wrote about the excavation work in the upper Beaverkill. Following is my response:

I don’t know why the DEC declared a negative declaration for the project via the SEQRA process. Only DEC staff can answer that question.

I do know that a local chapter of Trout Unlimited sent two letters to the DEC Regional headquarters, one in December of 2016 and one more recently, inquiring about the projects. To the best of my knowledge, those letters have not been answered.

As far as I know, the general public was not aware of the projects. And I don’t believe there were public hearings.

Holes were dug in the river bottom, and low-head reverse V-dams were built of stone at the upstream ends of those holes.

I don’t know what mitigation safeguards were built into the permits. Again, only DEC staff can answer that question.

I was told that the contractors were cited by DEC Law Enforcement for causing turbidity during their operations.

I tried to verify that with the local court, but received no response.

Thanks for your interest, with the hope that projects of similar magnitude, if any, receive a lot more scrutiny and with public input.


Tony Bonavist


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