A weekly blog for all things conservation
By: Ad Crable, Staff Writer, Chesapeake Bay Journal
The Susquehanna River has the most flood prone basin east of the Mississippi. And Binghamton, NY, located entirely in a floodplain at the confluence of the Susquehanna and Chenango rivers and downhill of steep, flash-flooding watersheds, might be its most pummeled victim.
But now, after the twin punches of an all-time record flood in 2006 followed by an even more devastating 500-year flood only five years later, officials have decided to quit fighting its rivers and instead rebuild to roll with the punches.
By: Kevin Brown, Agricultural Resource Specialist
Ok, let’s get down to the brass taxes. What is a rain tax, where is it happening, and what can I do to help the situation without going to that extreme? Who wants to be taxed for rain falling on their property? “We don’t have control over that” is what they say, but we DO have control over what happens to it from there. Can you imagine Towanda (or insert your community here) before it was Towanda? Especially because it is built on a side hill. One thousand years ago a 2-inch rainfall event happened, and all that rain went into the ground. The river level was unaffected. The rainfall gradually moved through the soil layers and the excess was released into the river days or weeks or even months later. The result, no flooding. Picture it during the next 2-inch rainfall that we get. Rain hits your home, it hits the streets, it hits the schools and businesses. In some places there are no places whatsoever for it to infiltrate into the ground. It goes from your downspout to the curb, dumped into the street, adds to the water already running down the street, hits the storm drain and goes DIRECTLY to the river. The result, billions of gallons of water now going down the river that never made it there before. And it is going there like NOW. Add that to water coming from Sayre and Waverly and Athens and Chemung and Binghamton and Owego, etc. The town fathers didn’t think about this when they set up some of the systems, but as more and more communities grow, they are thinking about it now. Now we have a huge problem. We have concentrated all that water and sent it downstream (along with it- pollution, erosion, sediment, nutrients, etc.). Again, do we care enough to try and fix it one house at a time? Or do we institute a (wait for it…) Stormwater Fee (RAIN TAX)? NNNOOOOOOOO!!
Various staff at the Bradford County Conservation District