The Greene County Soil & Water Conservation District (GCSWCD) and New York City Department of Environmental Protection (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). The SMIP is a collaborative program between GCSWCD, NYCDEP, and municipalities within the Schoharie Reservoir drainage basin. This program offers funding for government agencies, streamside landowners, and 501(c)(3) organizations involved in stream stewardship that fosters water quality protection and enhancement.
What is the SMIP?
The SMIP is a reimbursement-based grant opportunity administered through the Schoharie Watershed Stream Management Program (SWSMP) at the GCSWCD. The SWSMP is a collaborative effort of the GCSWCD and the NYCDEP. The SMIP provides funding to implement projects, programs, or management efforts that serve to protect water quality within the watershed area of the Schoharie Reservoir, part of the New York City public water supply. The SMIP, which operates on a 5-year cycle, offers funding for government agencies, streamside landowners, schools, and 501(c)(3) organizations involved in stream stewardship. All programs and projects funded through SMIP must support water quality protection and stewardship.
There are two application deadlines per year: March 15th and September 15th. Applications may be submitted at any time during the year and will be considered with the upcoming round of funding. Applications are submitted to the SWSMP staff at GCSWCD, SMIP project proposals are reviewed and prioritized based upon water quality and stream management plan considerations, and the eligible project proposals are presented to the Schoharie Watershed Advisory Committee (SWAC) for voting to determine funding. Voting occurs during the biannual SWAC Meetings, which are held in April and October of each year. Project applicants are notified of funding decisions by SWSMP staff following the applicable SWAC Meeting.
What is the history of SMIP?
The NYCDEP established the Stream Management Program in 1997 following the signing of the Watershed Memorandum of Agreement that called for a stream management strategy throughout the West-of-Hudson Watershed that improves water quality through the protection and restoration of natural stream system stability and ecological integrity. This program is integral to the NYC drinking water Filtration Avoidance Program that is regulated by the NYS Department of Health as an unfiltered water supply system. Compliance with the Filtration Avoidance Program is essential for NYC to meet the requirements of the Surface Water Treatment Rule of 1986 and the Interim Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule of 2001.
In 2008, under the Stream Management Program umbrella, the SMIP was established to coordinate NYCDEP, GCSWCD, and SWAC efforts to implement water quality based projects. The Schoharie Watershed SMIP is a collaborative program between GCSWCD, NYCDEP, and Schoharie Reservoir drainage basin municipalities (including the Towns of Ashland, Conesville, Gilboa, Hunter, Jewett, Lexington, Prattsville, Roxbury, and Windham as well as the Villages of Hunter and Tannersville). A map of the Schoharie Reservoir drainage basin can be found below.
What is the goal of the SMIP?
The SMIP provides funding to support recommendations identified in the Stream Management Plans and the annually updated Action Plans, or projects that are consistent with principles set forth in Stream Management Plans.
- 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. Comprehensive Stream Management Plans for the Schoharie Reservoir drainage basin include: the Batavia Kill (2003), West Kill (2005), East Kill (2007), Schoharie Creek (2007), and Manor Kill (2009). Stream Management Plans provide a detailed review of stream characteristics, data, maps, and recommended management strategies. The plans are meant to assist watershed municipalities and residents in planning for a sustainable future for their property, infrastructure, water, and biological resources. To access the Stream Management Plans, click here.
- The Action Plans direct the implementation of Stream Management Plans by distilling large, overarching goals into smaller, more manageable projects. Action Plans for the Schoharie Basin are developed annually by a collaboration between the SWAC and SWSMP. The Action Plans are used to prioritize and implement the programs and projects that have been identified. To access the Action Plans, click here.
How does the SMIP involve local municipalities?
The Schoharie Watershed Advisory Committee (SWAC) was formed in 2008 to foster a partnership between local municipalities, the GCSWCD, and the NYCDEP. The SWAC originally evolved from smaller project advisory committees that provided input in the development of individual Stream Management Plans. Today, the SWAC is comprised of municipal representatives from eleven municipalities represented within the Schoharie Reservoir drainage basin, a highway and infrastructure subcommittee representative, an education and outreach subcommittee representative, a habitat and recreation subcommittee representative, and a Greene County Legislator. The SWAC provides a local connection and perspective on stream and water quality issues within the represented municipalities and subcommittees. The make-up of the committee is designed to represent the diversity of potential projects, as well as promote local officials’ involvement in the decision-making process. The SWAC also plays an important role in identifying, reviewing, and approving project proposals for funding through the SMIP.
Who can apply to receive SMIP funding?
Applicants may include government agencies, individual property owners (for Stream Restoration category only), schools, and 501(c)(3) organizations that conduct watershed programming.
What projects are eligible to receive SMIP funding?
Projects that are located within or support the Schoharie Reservoir drainage 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.
Project Categories and Funding Caps (per application):
- Education & Outreach (no funding cap per application): Stream-related workshops, newsletters, public meetings, school programs, stream clean-ups, volunteer plantings, educational kiosks, outreach materials, and/or trainings.
- Highway & Infrastructure ($200,000 funding cap per application): 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, floodplain management of public lands, and/or critical area seeding (treatment of open ditches through seeding and mulching or other creative treatment techniques in steeper settings).
- Stream Restoration ($200,000 funding cap per application): Develop stream and floodplain stewardship plans for streamside landowners, provide land stewardship assistance, and/or address erosion issues utilizing best available science through stream restoration projects with high water quality improvement benefits. Streamside landowners should work with their municipal officials to obtain a letter of support for stream stewardship or restoration on private property.
- Habitat & Recreation ($25,000 funding cap per application): Habitat enhancements may include fisheries improvements and/or habitat enhancements (instream and in floodplain), wetland enhancements, and/or rain gardens. Recreation-based opportunities may include stream access improvements, increasing navigability, development of watershed recreation plan, and/or streamside amenities open to the public.
- Planning & Assessment (no funding cap per application): 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/local level supporting watershed communities, and/or watershed and stream-related research, assessments, and monitoring.
- Local Flood Analysis ($350,000 funding cap per application for floodplain reclamation projects; $200,000 funding cap per application for public infrastructure projects): 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 the Stream Management Implementation Program (SMIP) at GCSWCD:
Conservation District Program Manager
Greene County Soil & Water Conservation District
907 Greene County Office Building
Cairo, NY 12413
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.