Governor Cuomo created the Mighty Waters Working Group in 2012, an inter-agency working group to promote economic development, community revitalization, environmental sustainability, and flood hazard risk reduction in the Mohawk River Valley. The multi-agency working group is being co-chaired by Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales and Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens.
The Working Group’s efforts related to economic development and community revitalization are being coordinated by the Department of State, and those related to environmental sustainability and flood hazard risk reduction are being coordinated by the Department of Environmental Conservation. The efforts of the multi-agency Working Group are intended to support Congressman Paul Tonko’s Mighty Waters Initiative and complement the work of the Capital Region and Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Councils.
A key product of the Working Group will be a unified strategy which identifies priority projects and actions needed to promote the four core elements of the initiative: economic development; community revitalization; environmental sustainability; and flood hazard risk reduction.
The Economic Development and Community Revitalization elements will identify priority projects and actions needed to revitalize and redevelop downtowns, waterfronts, and brownfield opportunity areas within communities; enhance waterfront access and connectivity between communities; and strengthen the ability of communities to take advantage of heritage-related tourism opportunities. Initially, these elements will be focused on communities along the Mohawk River, as well as those Hudson River communities at the confluence with the Mohawk. The elements will be focused, to a large degree, on implementing projects already identified through existing State programs, such as the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program and Brownfield Opportunity Areas Program. The Environmental Sustainability and Flood Hazard Risk Reduction elements will identify current threats to water quality, fish and wildlife resources, and community vulnerability to flooding. Initially, these elements will be focused on the Mohawk River watershed. Priority actions will focus on assuring environmental protection and addressing flood risks to communities and infrastructure through administering grant programs, research, awareness education, and proper ecosystem management, among others. It is anticipated that future priorities will be identified through existing programs, such as the Mohawk River Basin Program, Division of Water and Division of Fish, Wildlife, and Marine Resources.