Belleayre Stormwater EIS Review

Project:  Belleayre Stormwater EIS Review

Client:  Hudson Riverkeeper

Location: Fleischmanns, Catskill Mountains, New York

Services:  Environmental Advocacy; Environmental Impact State Reviews; Construction Stormwater

Two massive development projects were planned on the heights of the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York.  The first was a nearly 1,000-acre development consisting of a resort, two hotels, associated roadways and parking areas, a golf course, ski slopes, and other outdoor recreational areas (Resort Project).  The second was expansion and modernization of the existing Belleayre Mountain Ski Center run by New York State Department of Conservation (NYSDEC).  Both projects were located within the boundaries of the Catskill Park and adjacent to NYSDEC Forest Preserve Lands.

Hudson Riverkeeper, a stalwart defender of the Hudson River Watershed for decades, was particularly concerned with the potential adverse impacts of stormwater discharges during and after construction could have on water quality in the pristine mountain streams of the Catskills and downstream rivers like the Esopus and Hudson.  Hudson Riverkeeper looked to CEA Engineers for technical expertise on construction stormwater management.

CEA Engineers reviewed the Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPP) and Erosion and Sediment Control Plans (E&SC Plans) for both projects and Hydrocad model runs for the Resort Project included in the Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) and Unit Management Plans (UMP) for the projects.  CEA Engineers identified design flaws in the post-construction stormwater management practices (SMPs) that failed to meet NYSDEC design standards and created the potential for streambank erosion and discharges of under-treated stormwater, including failures to:

  • match pre-development and post-development peak stormwater discharges at all the proposed stormwater discharge outfalls;
  • design SMPs for winter weather considerations, especially imperative based on the locations of the projects in higher elevations of the Catskills;
  • fully meet runoff reduction requirements

CEA Engineers provided Riverkeeper with a technical report for use by Riverkeeper during the comment period under the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) process.  Riverkeeper successfully submitted its comments under SEQR, which led to further negotiations with NYSDEC.  CEA Engineers assisted Riverkeeper in those negotiations to ensure protection of water quality from stormwater discharges associated with the Belleayre projects.