From left, Mamakating Town Supervisor William Herman, Senator
Charles Schumer and Jason West,
executive director of the Wallkill Watershed Alliance discuss
the algae menace on Friday
MAMAKATING – The problem of dangerous algae blooms that grow in
lakes, ponds and other waterways continue to cause problems and while
the US Senate has approved legislation to combat the nuisance, the House
of Representatives has yet to take action. That has prompted Senator Charles
Schumer to come to Sullivan County on Friday, standing on the banks of
the Shawangunk Kill in Mamakating, to urge the House to take action.
The Sullivan, Ulster, Orange County area relies on significant tourism
from the water bodies for fishing, swimming and boating and the algae
puts a crimp in that.
Sullivan County Manager Joshua Potosek said the waterways are vital to
“Sullivan County has a vibrant tourism industry that relies heavily
on our natural environment, especially our beautiful waterways, so any
threat to those recreational opportunities will have a significant economic
and health impact on our communities,” he said.
Since the beginning of the year, Congress has been deadlocked on many
key issues, but Schumer believes this one can sail through.
“The stalemates are indicative of what is going on in the Congress
but they also mean when you can get something bipartisan through the Senate,
the House sort of jumps at it,” he said.
The legislation would authorize $22 million a year for five years to
help conduct research on those algae blooms and continue an interagency
working group to advance the understanding of hypoxia and harmful algae
blooms. It would also seek solutions to the algae growth problems.