Matthew Krzyston grew up in the Village of Delhi, a rural community located in Delaware County, New York. “I grew up half a mile downstream from Reservoir Park. As a young kid, my parents would take me there to picnic and play in Steele Brook. It was a special place that people of all ages loved to visit. However, during storm events, extreme eroding of the streambanks caused trees and clay sediment to fall into the stream. This created flooding in the village and made it impossible to even enter the park and it was basi- cally forgotten.” Four decades later, Krzyston is part of a team of people that helped to change this. Today he’s a Member of Council with the Town of Delhi and a member of Delhi's Joint Flood Mitigation Committee. The committee with the help of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District, restored Steele Brook’s banks and as a result, there is less flooding, improved water quality, and it’s giving new life to Reservoir Park. “Now the park is more accessible and more beautiful than it ever was before. I was excited to bring my boys – ages 13 and 15 – back to the same park where my parents had brought me. When we entered, they were amazed that they had never seen this hidden gem that is right up the road. My youngest looked around and said it felt like we were in a National Park. We will be retuning often,” said Krzyston. The Steele Brook Streambank Stabilization Project is one of many the Army Corps has performed under its New York City Watershed Environmental Assistance Program. Rifat Salim, project manager, New York District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said, “This program funds projects that are protecting the water quality of New York State’s watersheds that provide drinking water to millions of New York City residents and businesses.” A watershed is an area of land that catches rain and snow that drains or seeps into a marsh, stream, river, lake, or groundwater. This water eventually gets stored in reservoirs, a place where water is collected and kept for use when wanted, such as to supply a city. Steele Brook flows into the West Branch Delaware River that is located in the heart of the Village of Delhi. The West Branch flows into the Cannonsville Reservoir, one of several, that supplies almost 97 bil- lion gallons of water to the New York City water supply system. * See sidebar on New York City Watershed System. Successful flood project benefits small village and New York City miles away By JoAnne Castagna, Ed.D.
If a streambank is eroding and trees and clay sediment are falling down the streambank and into the waterway, this can reduce the quality of the water that will eventually become the public’s drinking water and it can also cause flooding. A portion of Steele Brook’s streambank was showing a great deal of erosion. During storm events, trees and clay sediment washed down from the banks, into the stream, and down the waterway. This debris got lodged under bridges within the village causing the water to over top and cause extreme flooding for the residents and businesses, im - pacting a population of approximately 3,100. Krzyston said, “I witnessed flooding within the Village, stemming from Steele Brook, on two occasions. Two important bridges were almost completely blocked with woody debris that had eroded from the riverbank. Floodwater jumped the banks, flowed down main street, and entered residential, businesses, and municipal properties. Munici- New York City Watershed System The New York City watershed region encompasses approximately 2,000 square miles of land north of New York City. The land includes three watershed systems - The Catskill, Delaware, and Croton Systems - that are located in the counties of Greene, Schoharie, Ulster, Sullivan, Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess and Delaware. A watershed is an area of land that catches rain and snow that drains or seeps into a marsh, stream, river, lake, or groundwater. This water eventually gets stored in reservoirs, a place where water is collected and kept for use when wanted, such as to supply a city. The New York City Watershed System provides more than 90 percent of New York City's water supply. This comes to approximately 9.5 million people. New York City makes sure that this water is safe by treating it at the source rather than building a costly filtration plant. The source is the land that surrounds the streams, rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. "In 1996, all of the municipalities in the New York City watershed region came to an agreement. They wanted to avoid the creation of a huge filtration plant. Instead of a plant they agreed to have small projects throughout the region to provide the public with clean water with minimal filtration. This is how our New York City Watershed Environmental Assistance Program came about," said Rifat Salim, project manager, New York District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
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