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Comments on the East Fishkill Master Plan
for Public Hearing May 23, 2002 - by Peter Rostenberg

Proposed East Fishkill Master Plan--Groundwater.

	 5.4 Groundwater Resources.
	East Fishkill has a tremendous amount of groundwater resources. 
	A 1961 US Geological Survey report concluded that "the overall 
	[groundwater] supply is adequate [in Dutchess County] to meet 
	present needs and for much larger withdrawals in the future". 
	According to a 1988 aquifer map prepared by Leggette Brashears & 
	Graham Inc., it appears that groundwater supplies in East Fishkill 
	should be sufficient to support a population of 50,000. East Fishkill 
	has such an abundance of groundwater supplies because of its 
	underlying geologic formations. The Town sits above a number of rock 
	types that allow water to permeate beneath the surface to form 
	aquifers (figure 5.4). Topographically, stream valleys offer the most 
	favorable conditions for groundwater wells. In East Fishkill, these 
	conditions are relatively abundant across the northern portion of Town 
	and they represent significant ground water potential. Groundwater 
	cannot be taken for granted, however. It is susceptible to 
	contamination and requires replenishment. Contamination can take place 
	from septic fields or industrial spills. All well fields, especially 
	those public or community wells serving a number of households, should 
	be protected by adequate buffers. Likewise, any possible uses that 
	could contaminate the groundwater should be sited to minimize any 
	potential negative and harmful effects. The groundwater is replenished 
	from rain that percolates through the soil into the ground, and from 
	recharge areas, such as wetlands. Both wetlands and the soil serve to 
	filter the water and make it safe for drinking when it is pumped back 
	to the surface. The quality of the environment on the surface, 
	therefore, affects the quality of the water beneath the surface. Paved 
	areas near recharge areas should be limited in size to allow water to 
	seep into the ground and wetlands should be protected to allow water 
	to collect and percolate beneath the surface for drinking later on.

Comments of Groundwater, East Fishkill Master Plan Public Hearing
John Jay High School, May 23, 2002
Peter Rostenberg, Fishkill Creek Watershed Coalition
(Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Beacon Sloop Club, Fishkill Ridge Caretakers, Inc, Concerned Citizens of East Fishkill).

My name is Peter O. Rostenberg, MD, Chair of the Fishkill Creek Watershed Coalition. Members include the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, the Beacon Sloop Club, the Fishkill Ridge Caretakers, and Concerned Citizens of East Fishkill. Clearwater was founded over 35 years ago. It helped originate the America's environmental movement, and was and remains a powerful force in improving the Hudson River's water quality. But from their very beginnings, the Beacon Sloop Club and Clearwater were interested in your water. Their mission statements articulated the need to protect Hudson River tributaries and groundwater. We now seek to help citizens and municipalities visualize the benefits of protecting their water…not just for environmental reasons, but to ensure the community's public health and economic vitality.

We have reviewed the groundwater section of the East Fishkill Master Plan 2002, and found it overly optimistic and overly general. Water resources are described as 'tremendous', 'abundant' and 'relatively abundant', terms that planners cannot use. The Plan contains little (or no) vision or guidance for local governance or local regulations. We know now that these shortcomings are curiously out of date and dangerous for 21st century Dutchess County. Your precious, largely undeveloped town has more potential control over your future now than you ever will again. We urge you to take advantage of this opportunity to keep your promises going forward for future East Fishkill residents.

Our Coalition believes the East Fishkill Master Plan's groundwater section needs improvement, which can be accomplished with little (or a bit more) effort. Town elected officials and citizens and our Coalition could meet to determine how to proceed. Thought should be given to establishing a local municipal water protection authority, one with specific groundwater protection regulations and enforcement power. Supervisor Idema recognizes that groundwater is a trans-municipal resource. Yet, East Fishkill can do much to protect its own groundwater, and our Coalition and many of East Fishkill Citizens want to help. Please, let us.

Thank you.

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