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Briarcliff Crews Clear Debris From Pocantico River

BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. – The effects of Hurricane Irene are still being felt in Briarcliff Manor, and the village is using grant money to help prevent further damage from the Pocantico River.

The village recently received about $4,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to cover some Hurricane Irene damage. Village Manager Philip Zegarelli says the village doubled the amount to do work known as “clear and snag” on the Pocantico River. The technique, typically completed biannually, is a noninvasive way of clearing downed trees and other debris that clogs the river, and could prevent further damage in case of flooding, Zegarelli said.

“We had some money in the Public Works Department, so we matched the grant money to do the clearing and snagging,” he said. “The idea is that you clear the stream of snags and branches that have been damming up and causing problems. It’s allowable without a permit, but the problem with Pocantico is it meanders through Briarcliff and builds up pretty quickly.”

The recently completed work should make a significant difference to the area during storms, Zegarelli said.

“The interesting thing about (recent storms) is that they have been heavy, but it’s largely intermittent,” he said. “Because it’s falling heavily one minute, that doesn’t mean there’s an immediate increase in the river. It’s been fairly dry lately, so it hasn’t been that bad.”

Without the clearing and snagging work, the river could have potentially backed up onto roads or properties last weekend, Zegarelli said.

“With the buildup, it could go back into 9A or even more likely into neighbors’ backyards,” he said. “We are watching the area very closely. If it was three or four times what we had, then we could be concerned, but we should be able to handle this without flooding now.”

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