The GCSWCD and NYCDEP have an intergovernmental agreement to fund stream management plan implementation projects and provide stream-related technical assistance within the Schoharie Reservoir drainage basin. One component of the agreement is the Stream Management Implementation Program (SMIP). SMIP is a collaborative program between GCSWCD, NYCDEP, and Schoharie Watershed municipalities. This program offers funding for municipalities, streamside landowners, and organizations involved in stream stewardship that fosters water quality protection and enhancement.
What is the history of SMIP?
Guided by stream stewardship principles, the GCSWCD’s Schoharie Watershed Program offers assistance to local communities, residents, and organizations to advance recommendations from Schoharie Basin Stream Management Plans. Comprehensive Stream Management Plans for the Batavia Kill (2003), West Kill (2005), East Kill (2007), Schoharie Creek (2007) and Manor Kill (2009) were completed by GCSWCD, NYCDEP, and Schoharie County SWCD and Planning Department (Manor Kill). The stream management plans document the built and natural characteristics of the stream corridors and provide a blueprint for communities to address systemic concerns related to protecting public and private property, fisheries habitat, and water quality. The materials created through this detailed assessment and planning process can now be used as a tool for municipal officials, residents and other interested parties to manage streams consistent with science-based principles. Please visit the stream management plan page on catskillstreams.org to view the plans developed in the NYC West-of-Hudson watershed (http://catskillstreams.org/stream-management-program/sm-implementation-program/).
Throughout the development of each plan, project advisory committees were formed to represent the interests of local officials, residents, businesses, and agencies working in the watershed. Upon completion of the Schoharie and East Kill plans in 2006, the focus began to move towards implementation of plan recommendations with the understanding that some level of assessment would continue. After meeting with the smaller advisory committees from the Schoharie-East Kill, West Kill and Batavia Kill, the decision was made to move towards a single Schoharie basin-wide advisory committee due to overlap of participants from communities with multiple watershed boundaries. The Schoharie Watershed Advisory Committee (SWAC) was formed in 2008 and is designed to represent the collective interests of local government, property owners, watershed agencies, and non-profit organizations during the implementation of stream management plan recommendations.
The Schoharie Watershed Advisory Committee (SWAC) is a 15-member committee that consists of appointed representatives from each Schoharie Basin municipality, representatives from three subcommittees (Highway Superintendents, Education and Outreach and Recreation and Habitat), and a Greene County Legislator. Working collaboratively, the SWAC capitalizes on the knowledge and diversity of committee members and fosters a holistic, science-based, cooperative approach to watershed management. Today, the SWAC votes on proposed grants through the SMIP, and decides what applications receive funding. The SWAC is a forum for municipalities, agencies and non-profits to work collaboratively on watershed efforts that benefit both water quality and the watershed communities.All watershed towns within Greene County have adopted Stream Management Plans and Stream Stewardship Principles, signed Memoranda of Understanding with Greene County Soil & Water Conservation District and have assigned representatives to the Schoharie Watershed Advisory Committee. The SWAC meets twice a year, in April and October, to vote on applications submitted for each round of funding.
Who can apply to receive SMIP funding?
Local municipalities, watershed residents and property owners, schools, and not-for-profit organizations that promote watershed programming are eligible for assistance.
What projects are eligible to receive SMIP funding?
Projects that are located within the Schoharie Basin, fall within a municipality that has adopted the appropriate stream management plan, follow the Stream Stewardship Principles and are consistent with the Stream Management Plans are eligible projects. Projects located in Johnson Hollow, Bear Kill, Huntersfield Creek and the Little West Kill are eligible since stream management plans will not be completed in those watershed areas (see map below). Other eligibility factors include the proposed project’s consistency with principles set forth in stream management plans, the cost and water quality benefit, and ability to leverage additional funding.
Project Categories and Funding Caps (per application):
- Education & Outreach (no funding cap): stream-related workshops, newsletters, public meetings, school programs, stream clean-ups, volunteer plantings, educational kiosk, outreach materials, and/or training.
- Highway/Infrastructure ($100,000 funding cap): upgrade undersized culverts to improve stream stability and water quality, use of higher quality road abrasives, potential cost-share to properly size bridges to avoid channel constriction, incorporate vegetation into road embankments, utility crossing management, and/or floodplain management of public lands, critical area seeding (treatment of open ditches through seeding and mulching or other creative treatment techniques in steeper settings).
- Landowner Stream Assistance ($150,000 funding cap): Develop stream and floodplain stewardship plans for streamside landowners, provide land stewardship assistance, and/or address erosion issues utilizing best available science, stream restoration projects with high water quality improvement benefits.
- Stormwater Implementation: This category is currently funded under the Catskill Watershed Corporation Stormwater Program, for more information go to: www.cwconline.org
- Recreation-based opportunities ($25,000 funding cap): Stream access improvements, increasing navigability, development of watershed recreation plan, streamside amenities open to public.
- Habitat Enhancements ($25,000 funding cap): Fisheries Improvements and/or habitat enhancements (instream and in floodplain), wetland enhancements, rain gardens.
- Planning and Assessment (no funding cap): Floodplain management, coordinated flood response, technical assistance, land use/open space planning and/or incorporating stream management into economic development initiatives, creating/enhancing local control through environmental policies, collaborating at the county, regional and local level supporting watershed communities.
- Flood Hazard Mitigation (no funding cap): Local Flood Analysis recommended projects that include stream and floodplain restoration that result in offsite flood reduction.
How can I find out if my idea is eligible for SMIP funding?
The first step in the process is to research whether your proposed project fits with the stream stewardship principles, and is consistent with the recommendations set forth in the relevant stream management plan. Interested applicants should also review the SMIP funding project categories and examples for more information.
Once you have an idea for a project, you are encouraged to contact your local SWAC representatives, GCSWCD, or the NYCDEP to discuss project ideas and learn more about the program. See below for contact information for GCSWCD staff:
Greene County Soil & Water Conservation District
907 Greene County Office Building
Cairo, NY 12413
Schoharie Watershed Program Office
P.O. Box 996, 6049 Main Street
Tannersville, NY 12485
How do I apply for SMIP funding?
Interested applicants should download and complete the program application. There are two rounds of funding per year with application deadlines of March 15th and September 15th.