Press Release

Schumer, Gillibrand, Ryan Announce Nearly $3.9 Million For Riverkeeper For Removal Of Holden Dam On Quassaick Creek – Boosting Ongoing Efforts To Protect Hudson River Watershed

Dec 6, 2023

Fed $$$ From NFWF Will Fund Removal Of Aging Nearly 100 Year Old Holden Dam on Quassaick Creek In Newburgh – Protecting Local Infrastructure, Enhancing Flood Resilience, And Restoring Critical Habitat For Fish And Wildlife

Reps Say This Major Federal Investment For Riverkeeper Was Made Possible Thanks To The Historic Increases They Secured In The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

Schumer, Gillibrand, Ryan: Major Fed Investment To Remove Obsolete Holden Dam on Quassaick Creek In Newburgh Helping Turn The Tide On Protecting & Restoring The Hudson River Watershed

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and U.S. Congressman Pat Ryan today announced $3,879,000 in federal funding from the National Coastal Resilience Fund (NCRF) for Riverkeeper to remove the aging Holden Dam on the Quassaick Creek, bordering Newburgh and New Windsor, as part of its ongoing efforts to protect the Hudson River Watershed. Schumer personally wrote the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) in support of Riverkeeper, with funding made possible thanks to the historic increases secured in the Bipartisan Infrastructure & Jobs Law. The lawmakers said this project will enhance flood resilience from climate change to the surrounding Hudson Valley communities and will protect, enhance and restore critical habitat for local fish and wildlife.

“I am proud to announce nearly $3.9 million in federal funding for Riverkeeper to remove the aging Holden Dam on Quassaick Creek – protecting residents from flooding and restoring both local infrastructure as well as critical habitat for local fish and wildlife. When I led the Bipartisan Infrastructure & Jobs Law to passage, it was long overdue investments in protecting the Hudson River Watershed and enhancing flood resilience that I had in mind. Now an aging dam in Newburgh will be transformed to help restore our environments and safeguard our communities from future flooding ,” said Senator Schumer. “This project is a testament to the transformative impact we can make when we secure historic funding increases for critical environmental initiatives, which is why I was proud to write a letter of support for it. Together, we are turning the tide on safeguarding the Hudson River and its surrounding communities for generations to come.”

“The removal of the obsolete Holden Dam is a crucial step in the process of protecting and restoring the Hudson Valley Watershed,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This important funding to remove the dam will help enhance flood resiliency for area residents and will benefit local fish and wildlife. I am proud to have written a letter of support to help secure this important funding and I’ll continue to fight to protect and restore the Hudson River Watershed.”

“This past summer, we saw how catastrophic flooding events can sweep away the livelihoods of Hudson Valley families in an instant. As these once-in-a-lifetime events become more severe and frequent, our families and communities deserve immediate action and protection,” said Congressman Pat Ryan. “I’m proud to have secured this monumental funding of nearly $3.9 million that will both safeguard Newburgh families from tragic flooding and deliver high-paying local jobs. I will keep fighting to strengthen climate resilience and protect the ecosystem of our cherished Hudson River for our children’s futures.”

“Taking down the obsolete Holden Dam will be transformative for the City of Newburgh and its residents, and will restore two miles of critical spawning habitat for iconic Hudson River fish species that are rapidly declining. The project will also strengthen resilience around infrastructure and keep an underserved community safe by preventing a catastrophic dam failure,” said Riverkeeper Science Director Shannon Roback. “Riverkeeper is grateful to Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and Congressman Pat Ryan for the increases in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Law, which paved the way for this critical funding through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF).”

Specifically, the Reps said that Riverkeeper’s project, titled “Protecting Infrastructure and Restoring Fish Habitat in the Hudson River Estuary,” aims to remove Holden Dam on Quassaick Creek to protect local infrastructure and restore two miles of critical freshwater habitat for Hudson River migratory species that are in decline. According to Riverkeeper, Holden Dam is an obsolete and failing dam, and frequent flooding due to climate and coastal impacts at the dam is causing stream bank erosion and threatens the City of Newburgh and Town of New Windsor’s surrounding infrastructure and communities. The Reps explained that Quassaick Creek is highly susceptible to flash flooding during rain events causing erosion of the stream bank, which destabilizes the City of Newburgh’s main sewer line. A sewer main break at Holden Dam would be catastrophic, undoing $10 million in investment and upgrades by the City.

This federal funding will produce a long-term solution that not only stabilizes the channel and banks of the Quassaick Creek and protects the adjacent West Trunk Sewer Line from future exposure and possible failure, but also prevents a failure of the dam that would mobilize large amounts of toxic sediment downstream and ultimately into the Hudson River. The project will engage 400 local residents, strengthen resilience around infrastructure, and restore habitat for iconic Hudson River species.

The NCRF is primarily funded by, and coordinated with, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF). This year’s awards come in large part thanks to historic increases in funding Schumer and Gillibrand were able to secure as a part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Law that enabled the NCRF to increase the number of awards and the size of awards granted for natural infrastructure projects benefiting local communities.