Updated 06/12/2012 10:31 PM
Exclusive: Proposed commission for Hudson-Mohawk River Basin
Throughout history, rivers have been representative of life and the Hudson-Mohawk River Basin has its place in history. Now one Congressman is gearing up to ensure the waterway reaches its full potential. He spoke exclusively with YNN. Innae Park reports.
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NEW YORK STATE – “The waterways in New York State are the things that unite our communities,” said Mark Castiglione, the Hudson River Valley Greenway Acting Executive Director.
So it is no surprise that the Hudson-Mohawk River Basin is now in the spotlight.
Before its official unveiling Thursday, Congressman Paul Tonko tells YNN that his newest bill will create the Hudson Mohawk River Basin Commission in order to bring order to the thousands of distinct agencies that have some claim to the waterway.
“This given basin is the most populated in the nation,” said Tonko. “So while others have had this individualized attention it's long past due that the Hudson Mohawk River Basin Commission be developed.”
The governors of all five states impacted, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Vermont and Massachusetts, as well as the Secretary of the Interior ,would make up the commission. Their responsibility is to plan and implement the projects and policies that govern the use of water resources in this basin. That includes not only the Upper and Lower Hudson and Mohawk River basins, but also the Passaic and Raritan.
Tonko explained, “It’s a given forum through which we can protect our waterways, promote our assets, mitigate flood damage and most importantly help in creating jobs.”
After the damage caused by Irene and Lee last year, local communities are more eager than ever to ensure their watershed is safe and profitable. Tonko says those disasters are a reminder of why this area needs to be taken care of.
“The flooding that occurred last August pointed out very vividly to the naked eye that there's an interconnectedness,” he said.
“Tourism is a big business in New York State. In the Hudson Valley, it generates $4.7 billion in regional economy. Across the state it supports 670,000 jobs a year,” he said. “The more resources we have to invest in recreational opportunities and invest in our historic riverfront communities and the more we can make this state a destination for tourists from throughout the world, I think the better off we'll be.”