A bill that New York State Senator Pete Harckham and Assemblywoman Sandra Galef introduced to include Furnace Brook Lake, located in the Town of Cortlandt, in the list of major inland waterways eligible for the state’s local waterfront revitalization program, has been signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul.
“The designation of Furnace Brook Lake as an inland waterway is a real triumph for the surrounding community and meets concerns about safeguarding our resources,” said Harckham, a member of the Senate Committee on Environmental Conservation. “With applicable grant funding, the lake’s water quality and the natural beauty of its surroundings will be better protected for generations to come.”
“It is important that we can do what we can to support our local governments, and this legislation signed by the governor will allow the local community to be able to apply for grants for the local waterfront revitalization program,” said Galef. “Any way that we can protect the environment and support our local governments benefits our state as a whole, and I was happy to partner with Senator Harckham to sponsor this bill.”
The newly enacted legislation (S.2992 / A.9946), which takes effect immediately, allows communities along Furnace Brook Lake to apply for waterfront revitalization funds through the Department of State and the Environmental Protection Fund. Only communities located along a designated major inland waterway are eligible for grants from the Environmental Protection Fund Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) for its preparation and implementation.
There are currently 11 designated coastal water bodies and 182 designated inland waterways in New York. Furnace Brook Lake, 23 acres in size and situated about two miles east of the Village of Buchanan, feeds into the Hudson River by a small stream.
The Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) serves as the state’s Office of Planning and Development’s primary program for working in partnership with waterfront communities to improve water quality and natural areas, guide development to areas with adequate infrastructure and services away from sensitive resources and promote public waterfront access. These provisions often help spur redevelopment of underutilized waterfronts.
Nearly every lake and river in the Hudson-Peekskill Hollow Creek Watershed of the Lower Hudson Sub-Basin is now part of the state’s inland waterway program. However, there are a number of major lakes in Westchester still awaiting official classification as an inland waterway.
The State’s 2022-2023 Budget adds $100 million to the Environmental Protection Fund, which supports local waterfront revitalization programs. Adding Furnace Brook Lake to the list of eligible inland waterways will widen the pool of potential grantees and make the program more competitive.