Upper Delaware Council talks rivers and bridges

By LIAM MAYO
Posted 6/9/21

NARROWSBURG, NY — The June 3 meeting of the Upper Delaware Council (UDC) began with some much-belated business: the swearing-in of the board’s officials.

Under normal circumstances, …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Upper Delaware Council talks rivers and bridges

Posted

NARROWSBURG, NY — The June 3 meeting of the Upper Delaware Council (UDC) began with some much-belated business: the swearing-in of the board’s officials.

Under normal circumstances, new board members would have been sworn in at the first meeting of the year, back in January. With COVID-related restrictions in place, the ceremony was postponed until June, the first in-person meeting of the year. 

The Honorable Ronald Edwards, a senior magisterial district judge, presided over the occasion. Jeffrey Dexter (the Damascus Township representative) was sworn in as the board’s chairperson, while Susan Sullivan (the Town of Tusten representative) was sworn in as vice-chairperson. Allan Henry (the Berlin Township representative) was sworn in as the secretary treasurer. 

Water levels

Following the swearing-in ceremonies, the board viewed a presentation on area water and weather alerts from National Park Services (NPS) IT specialist Brendan Dohn. 

Dohn’s presentation focused on high water conditions in the Upper Delaware River. High water is defined as water levels of six feet or higher. High water conditions for the river upstream of the Narrowsburg bridge are decided based on the water levels at the Callicoon water gage, while those for the river below the bridge are decided based on the water levels at the Barryville water gage. 

According to Dohn, anyone out on the river when it has reached the high water mark is required to wear a life jacket or a personal flotation device of some kind. 

The presentation covered multiple ways to check when the river has reached the high water mark. 

The United States Geological Survey maintains a service, called Water Alert, that provides live data from water gages across the United States. This data can be accessed from their website

Interested parties can also subscribe to alerts from specific water gages through the same website. These alerts can be sent by text or by email, and can be set to trigger at certain times or if the gage height hits certain parameters. 

The other site, is an offshoot of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It provides the same gage data while also forecasting the river’s height over a several-day period. 

Fred Peckham, the UDC’s Hancock representative, pointed out the lack of such forecast data for the water gage at Lordsville. He said that the Lordsville water level often has more impact upon local residents than the Callicoon level. 

NPS representative Dohn deferred to NOAA the question of why the Lordsville gage does not include forecast data. 

Infrastructure

Later in the meeting, the council reviewed letters from various parties on the issue of the Skinner Falls - Milanville Bridge. 

As reported by Laurie Ramie, the UDC’s executive director, the New York - Pennsylvania Joint Interstate Bridge Commission recently approved $400,000 in funding for a continued study on the repair or replacement of that bridge. 

While initial stages of the study leaned towards recommending replacement, recent rounds of community comment have provided a counterbalancing influence. “PennDOT [the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation] learned that there is a great level of interest with what happens in that bridge,” said Ramie. 

The council reviewed two letters from parties that showed such interest. 

Superintendent Salvatore discussed a letter written by himself and his staff showing support from the NPS for the bridge’s rehabilitation. “Retention of this historic bridge not only preserves and supports the outstandingly remarkable values of the river valley but also provides a unique economic opportunity to support heritage tourism in the valley,” reads a portion of the letter. 

The council also reviewed a letter from Damascus Citizens for Sustainability, a letter written in partnership with Greenworks Law and Consulting LLC. This letter was also in favor of the bridge’s retention, concluding by saying, “We strongly encourage PennDOT to focus on restoration and rehabilitation of the bridge so it may last for generations to come and to eliminate from consideration any project that entails destruction of the bridge in any capacity.”

The UDC expressed its approval for both letters, calling each well researched and constructed. 

Comments

No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here