Flood prevention planning taking shape in Shandaken

By Jay Braman Jr.
A couple of ideas for how best to spend $3 million in flood remediation funds are rising to the surface in Shandaken, where a group has been meeting weekly to figure out how to get the best bang for those bucks.
At a recent session to discuss ideas, Town Supervisor Rob Stanley gave specifics to his plan to scour the creek beds in town as a way of preventing flooding.
Stanley has long claimed that more traditional mitigation efforts, such as raising the foundation heights of structures above flood level, are not cost efficient and provide only a temporary reprieve from flooding.
Noting that foundation-raising costs can easily approach the $100,000 mark, Stanley said that, rather than raise the homes, it’s better to lower the water.
The way he sees it, gravel deposits that grow with every flood are gradually raising flood elevations in town, so if one raises his foundation in 2013 it may be underwater again in a few years as those deposits grow and grow and grow, leaving less room in the stream beds for the water.
Stanley hopes to soon be in talks with the State Department of Environmental Conservation to design a program for gravel harvesting. He wants to see certified contractors licensed to remove gravel from designated areas to make way for those rushing currents.
Not only would this lower channel depth, he said, but also the gravel harvested would be used for local road repair, similar to the way such material was used when the Stony Clove Creek was dredged following Hurricane Irene.
Contractors would also be allowed to stockpile the material for their own use.
This and other ideas are still being kicked around. Anyone interested in participating in the decision making process can attend the public sessions held on Wednesdays at 10 a.m. at town hall in Allaben.