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The Telegram
  • Fulmer Creek feasibility study planned

  • A heavy rain earlier this week was all it took to send the water in Fulmer Creek up to within an inch of overflowing its banks, according to German Flatts Town Supervisor Frank Spatto.

    “That was just the other day,” he said.

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  • A heavy rain earlier this week was all it took to send the water in Fulmer Creek up to within an inch of overflowing its banks, according to German Flatts Town Supervisor Frank Spatto.
    “That was just the other day,” he said.
    It was yet another reminder of the problems the creek can cause and has caused over the years.
    On Tuesday afternoon, town officials, engineers and others met to discuss flooding and what could be done to alleviate the problem.
    The town was awarded a $25,000 grant to conduct a feasibility study in an effort to find a solution to the problem, and has hired Schnabel Engineering to conduct the study, Spatto said.
    Engineers were on hand for Tuesday’s work session as were officials from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Transportation and various specialists.
    “We’ve tried so many things with the flooding,” said Spatto. “We’re trying to look at different ways.”
    Controlling the water that comes down from the upper watershed might be the key.
    “We’re looking to see if there are little areas of retention, where we might hold a little bit of the water and release it gradually and take the surge out of it,” said Spatto. “When there’s a big cloudburst in the upper water shed area, a big wave comes down through in a half hour or so.”
    The flow of water also causes erosion, filling up the creek bed with sediment and making it more likely to overflow, he added.
    “We don’t know if this will work,” said Spatto, noting the town has been struggling with the issue for decades.
    The feasibility study should be completed by July or August, according to Jessica Breiten, chief planner with the Herkimer-Oneida Counties Comprehensive Planning Program. In addition to looking at way to reduce flooding and erosion in Fulmer Creek, she said, the project will serve as a demonstration for other basins in the Mohawk River watershed. “We’re hoping the same type of process can happen in other basins,” she said.
    Because of the amount of funding available, the study will focus on only one upstream site with an eye toward reducing the flow volume and managing sediment and debris in downstream areas, she said. Engineers will look at the timing and the stream’s response to storm events using information from the Army Corps of Engineers and other available data. Structural solutions such as a series of pools or wetlands will be considered, but the study may show there is nothing to be done. “It’s a very steep stream,” said Breiten. If a potential project is identified, she said, “We’ll have to look at the costs and benefits. Not only is it feasible, but is it realistic?”
    Page 2 of 2 - She noted the village of Mohawk was also represented at Tuesday’s meeting. “They don’t have a huge tax base and neither does the town,” she said.
    Whatever the results of the study, however, Breiten noted this is not the only project dealing with flooding issues.
    Bids were to be opened Thursday for a project to permanently repair damage where the creek flows between state Route 168 and state Route 28 near Tolpa Field, according to Spatto. A temporary structure had been built to repair the damage caused by the June 2006 flood. The town of German Flatts and the village of Mohawk were awarded a $250,000 grant for this project.
    “That should be going to construction in July or August and should protect a lot of the village of Mohawk,” said Breiten.
     “We’re always looking at stream bank stabilization,” said Breiten. She added gravel is removed from the streambed on an almost annual basis and the state has now issued a general permit for this work. She added the Canal Corporation now has money in its capital budget to address a project at the mouth of Fulmer Creek where it enters the Mohawk River.
    Fulmer Creek starts south of Little Falls, flows south towards Paines Hollow, then turns northwest to descend into the village of Mohawk and into the Mohawk River.
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