C+S March 2022 Vol. 8 Issue 3 (web)

roads can sweep up contaminants and transport them to bodies of wa- ter, such as a stream, adversely affecting the water that will eventually become a part of the water supply. Now with the newly planted vegeta- tion, the flood water will drain from the road and filter through this vegetation before entering the stream.” Another way to prevent pollutants from traveling from roads to the stream is by making sure there is a healthy floodplain. The stream was realigned to include a floodplain. A floodplain is an area of low-lying ground that is adjacent to the stream that keeps a river clean by filtering the water that runs from roads into the stream and absorbing pollut- ants before they enter the stream. Floodplains also provide space for water to spread out and slow down during big storm events. Because of Steele Brook’s steep side slopes, there was little to no floodplain, so the water ran straight into the stream without getting filtered. Preventing sediment from entering the stream is not only beneficial to the public’s water supply, but also to aquatic habitats. Clay sediment can reduce oxygen in the water suffocating aquatic wildlife. To further protect aquatic habitats, a mixture of deep and shallow water depths was created in the stream to support different types of fish and invertebrate life. Deep water - or pools - were created. Pools have slow moving water that are favorite places for certain species of fish, such as Trout, to hang out. Shallow water - or riffles – were created. Riffles are faster moving sections of a steam, where rocks break the water surface. When the water rushes over the rocks it adds oxygen to the water. These are good places for certain insects to live. In addition, this project has given the public access to Reservoir Park once again and the village is encouraging visitors. According to the Mayor of Delhi, picnic tables and grills will be placed in Reservoir Park to encourage not only locals to enjoy the area, but also visitors from New York City. Krzyston added, “The flood commission members are very grateful to the Army Corps for the role they played in this project. I considered this to be an emergency. We have the local know-how and energy to address these types of emergency situations. However, it is very difficult – sometimes even impossible - to implement these projects without support from the Army Corps. While the project was designed to ensure public safety, the social and recreational benefits to the local population are immeasurable. There will be many family memories made at Reservoir Park.”

pal workers and local businesses took emergency action, using heavy equipment to remove the woody debris that was blocking the bridges. This action allowed Steele Brook to pass under the bridges and water levels to subside back within the river’s banks.” In order to restore the streambank to reduce flooding and improve water quality, several agencies collaborated including the Army Corps, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, the Village of Delhi and Delhi’s Joint Flood Mitigation Committee, the Delaware County Department of Watershed Affairs, and the Delaware County Soil and Water Conservation District. The streambank stabilization work included clearing the falling trees and debris from the 632-foot-long Steele Brook and its 21-foot-high slopes to stabilize the streambanks. Along the edges of the stream, loose stones were placed. The stones slow down the stream and reduce potential damages downstream. Also, along the stream border, a stacked rock wall was built. This was done to prevent sediment from running off the slopes into the stream during storm events. Above the stacked rock wall, 8, 414 feet of the bank that was eroding was revegetated with native plants including native willow live stakes. Graydon Dutcher, stream program coordinator with the Delaware County Soil and Water Conservation District said, “The plant's roots stabilize the soil and prevent the soil from running into the river. The vegetation also traps and absorbs sediment and pollutants, like harmful phosphorus and nitrogen particles, from entering the stream.” These pollutants can come from nearby roads. Dutcher said, “When streambanks are eroded, it makes it easier for soil and pollutants to travel from roads to bodies of water. During storm events, water on Completed Project. November 2021. Photo: Delaware County Soil and Water Conservation District.

DR. JOANNE CASTAGNA is a Public Affairs Specialist and Writer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District. She can be reached at joanne.castagna@usace.army.mil.


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