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Local News

April 12, 2014

Senators: Stream gauges have long-term funding

Long-term funding has been secured for nine key stream gauges, including two in this area, according to news releases from both New York federal senators.

The gauges on the Susquehanna River at Unadilla and Bainbridge were among those scheduled to close Oct. 1. But on Friday, the U.S. Geological Survey announced it had identified long-term funding sources, according to Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.

Barring any major funding shortfalls, the gauges will be continuously funded into the future, instead of relying on annual appropriations. Gauges in Windsor, Binghamton and Owego were also on the list.

Schumer, D-N.Y., said storms that have caused upstate flooding have shown “we cannot short-change programs that our communities rely on to keep their citizens safe and well-informed, and that help first responders.”

“Today’s announcement means the USGS is learning this lesson — and more importantly — I am pleased we will now keep many of our highest priority stream gauges online long-term,” Schumer continued.

The funding is a relatively minor investment when compared to the cost of repairing and rebuilding after a flood for which a community is unprepared, he said.

Unadilla Mayor David Welch said he was appreciative of the funding.

“I think it’s great,” he said. In Unadilla, “the river gauges are very important in determining potential flood issues.” It was “comforting” in the last couple of floods to know that the river gauge could be contacted in determining the necessary level of preparation.

When the river is at 16 feet, he said, “we can start having major problems,” and knowing whether the river is rising or receding is important in making the necessary plans.

Gillibrand, D-N.Y., said: “After back-to-back years of storms that swept away roads, bridges, businesses and entire communities, we know stream gauges are a key tool to staying ahead of the storm, and keeping our families safe.”

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