ALBANY, N.Y. (WENY) -- New York State announced $250,000 in training grants to help communities withstand future flooding and reduce harmful algal blooms.

The grants will fund community and municipality-based training events to help communities increase resiliency to future flooding, and prevent outbreaks of harmful algal blooms in high-risk waterbodies.

With Finger Lakes communities facing major flooding risks, the State Agriculture Commissioner says these efforts will protect communities and help sustain New York's agricultural industry.

Training will focus on post flood emergency stream intervention, and proper roadside ditch maintenance and stabilization methods.

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets is currently accepting grant applications for the program on a rolling basis through February 2022 or until funds are exhausted.  New York State Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD), working in partnership with regional watershed groups and coalitions, are eligible.

SWCDs who receive grant funding will host about 40 training programs for municipalities across the state.  Training programs are as follows:

Post Flood Emergency Stream Intervention Program

Increased flooding events have presented significant flood response challenges for state agencies, county and local municipal governments throughout New York State.  Immediately following a flood, municipalities are often responsible for protecting public and, private infrastructure that is threatened by a nearby flooded stream.   DEC, in partnership with the County Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD), developed a Post Flood Emergency Stream Intervention (ESI) training program and manual to help municipal officials, contractors and machine operators respond effectively to flood damage.  By following these guidelines and recommended procedures, municipalities will save time, money and resources.  The ESI training program has expanded its reach and is delivered throughout New York State.

North Atlantic Aquatic Connectivity Collaborative

Road-stream crossings (bridges and culverts) often create increased flooding risk due to inadequate sizing and a disconnected design that harms ecological connectivity. With well over 100,000 crossings in New York State, addressing these problems can be challenging.  The Community Resiliency Training program supports training through the North Atlantic Aquatic Connectivity Collaborative (NAACC), a 13-state collaborative that has created a standardized field assessment methodology on how to address road-stream crossings.  Information generated by NAACC surveys helps formulate projects that increase flood resiliency, improve aquatic habitat connectivity and reduce polluted runoff.

Roadside Ditch Maintenance Training

While ditches drain roads, they also effectively intercept runoff from the surrounding landscape, including adjacent hill slopes, parking lots, buildings and other impervious surfaces.  Ditches can rapidly divert water to streams, exacerbating flooding.  Road salt, fertilizer, and sediments are often transported in this flow, with the potential to pollute nearby waterways.  An improperly constructed and poorly maintained ditch can result in several problems, including disruption to the natural stream flow; increased erosion of stream banks; increased flooding; reduction in local groundwater tables; and the potential for increased pollution in water supplies.  To address these issues, the Roadside Ditch Maintenance training program has developed specific guidance and criteria to ensure that ditches are properly constructed and maintained.

The application and additional information can be found on the state's Grants Gateway site.  Questions can be directed to Lauren Prezorski.