— ALBANY, NY — Senator Terry Gipson (D-Dutchess, Putnam) and Assemblymember Didi Barrett (D-Hudson) announced that legislation they authored to define Wappinger Creek as an inland waterway has passed the Assembly and the Senate and now awaits the governor’s signature (S.5480-A/A.8315). As an inland waterway, the creek would be eligible for federal funds for pollution cleanup, wastewater management, waterfront revitalization and flood prevention.

“This is an important step for the 13 communities along the creek to improve their environmental well-being and move their local economies forward,” said Senator Gipson. “I was proud to sponsor this legislation in the Senate and want to thank Assemblywoman Barrett, our local officials along the creek and Dutchess County for their partnership in this effort. I strongly encourage Governor Cuomo to join us in this example of government at work on behalf of the more than 150,000 people within the creek’s watershed and sign this legislation into law.”

With this new designation the following municipalities will be eligible for federal funds: Clinton; Fishkill; Hyde Park; LaGrange; Milan; Pine Plains; Pleasant Valley; Poughkeepsie; Stanford; Wappinger; Washington; Village of Millbrook; and Village of Wappingers Falls.

“As Dutchess County’s largest watershed, Wappinger Creek plays a critical role in our local economy and environment, as well as for recreation,” said Assemblymember Barrett. “With this designation, towns and villages along the creek will be eligible to receive public funds, which can go toward not only protecting it from pollution, but also toward improving the waterfront, building the infrastructure needed to prevent flooding, allowing for more open space and supporting smart economic growth.”

Assemblymember Barrett and Senator Gipson both have a strong record of supporting environmental legislation, each receiving a “perfect score” in 2013 from the Environmental Advocates of New York for their voting records. Senator Gipson is also the Ranking Member on the New York State Senate Local Government Committee.

“The Village of Wappingers Falls and its residents are very happy that this bill passed naming Wappinger Creek as a designated inland waterway,” said Mayor Matt Alexander. “This will ensure that communities up and down the creek are eligible for Environmental Protection Funds to pursue projects which are important to the residents along the watershed.”