Press-Republican

Local News

July 12, 2013

Schumer looks to secure river-gage funding

(Continued)

Other federal agencies, including the Army Corps of Engineers, accounted for the balance of resources.

Current spending data is not available yet, but 2012 saw an increase of about $5 million in federal spending for stream-flow monitoring, Norris said.

“If the total NSIP program was fully funded, it would pick up 60 percent of the stream-gage funding,” Norris told the Press-Republican.

“The drop (in costs) would come to state and local agencies. But all of their current stream-flow data needs are not being met, and we think more stream-flow gages would be added.”

FEDERAL SHARE

Cost sharing is an important part of the process, tying together federal and local initiatives.

“By far, the biggest funders of these gages are the state and local agencies,” Norris said.

“There are huge advantages to have state and local agencies partner with us on certain stream gages. It helps keep the entire USGS stream-gaging network relevant to today’s needs.

“State and local agencies have the local knowledge of what is required for the future and for protection of their communities. What I don’t think is great is that I don’t think the federal government is putting in their share.”

Schumer’s plan to secure river-gage resources through the Senate Appropriations Committee would address that shortfall.

FLOOD WARNINGS

“There’s no quick fix to the problems we face,” Schumer said of increasing flood events. “But flood preparedness can go a long way.”

Ward Freeman, director of the USGS’s New York Water Science Center in Troy, noted that this summer has proved disastrous for central New York communities enduring repeated major flooding events.

“Gages give you real-time information. As little as four hours warning can help prevent significant human and property losses from flooding,” Freeman said.

National statistics show 100 people die in floods annually and $10 billion is spent on flood-related damage every year.

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