Congressman Paul Tonko hosted his third annual Mighty Waters Conference at the College Thursday.
The day-long forum included over 250 participants to advance discussions aimed at leading a more effective regional vision for waterfront development, job creation and historic preservation throughout the Capital Region. The conference brought together stakeholders representing diverse sectors of the community, including small businesses, recreational groups, federal and state government agencies, municipalities, colleges, heritage organizations and other community members.
Tonko unveiled his new legislation, H.R. 5927, the Hudson-Mohawk River Basin Commission. Like the previously established Delaware River Basin Commission and the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, the Hudson-Mohawk River Basin Commission would carry out projects and conduct research on water resources in the basin, which stretches across five states and includes five sub-basins.
“The devastating flood events that occurred in many communities last year should compel us to rethink our connection to the rivers and tributaries throughout the region,” Tonko said.
President Stephen C. Ainlay opened the conference with his remarks in Memorial Chapel, sharing how Union's history has been shaped by the river. Ainlay currently serves on the Mighty Waters Task Force, and is a member of the Task Force’s Executive Committee and chairs the Research and Education Committee.
“The Mohawk is a vital body of water to this region," he said. "The Commission has given the Mohawk greater visibility and has urged colleges and universities to help increase our understanding of the river and the watershed through research, teaching and learning. A better understanding of the Mohawk will greatly aid our work to revitalize waterfronts in many towns and cities.”
This is the first time that the highly-regarded conference was held at Union.
The bill was introduced last week and is awaiting action before the Natural Resources Committee, of which the congressman is a member.