(Groundworks Hudson Valley Executive Dir. Oded Holzinger explaining flooding issues at Ardsley site to stakeholders)

White Plains, NY — In response to complaints from residents and businesses increasingly affected by flooding, a comprehensive tour of flood sites along the Saw Mill River took place on Thursday afternoon. The tour was initiated by Westchester County Legislator David Imamura (D - Ardsley, Dobbs Ferry, Edgemont, Hartsdale, Hastings-on-Hudson, Irvington), who serves as the Co-Chair of the Board’s Saw Mill Watershed Advisory Board (SWAB), along with Legislator David Tubiolo (D – Yonkers, Mt. Vernon). Imamura collaborated with Groundwork Hudson Valley, NYS Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins, and Assemblymember MaryJane Shimsky to facilitate the tour, which included stops at heavily impacted areas in Mount Pleasant, Elmsford, Ardsley, Hastings-on-Hudson and Yonkers.

Currently, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (D.E.C.) is conducting a study on flooding. The visit was a proactive step for stakeholders including State, County, Town and Village elected officials, Planning and Engineering Department administrators, and environmental agency representatives to survey the affected areas and identify specific challenges to be addressed. Three vans of interested participants learned about the state of the infrastructure of dams, levees, culverts, and other drainage systems; the severity of accumulated debris; and the impact of climate change on the frequency and severity of flooding.

As Co-Chair of SWAB, Legislator Imamura aims to ensure that every level of government is aware of its role in addressing this issue. This includes identifying the subsequent actions that must be taken to prevent future flooding and how to move expeditiously towards a resolution. He said, “While flooding has been a serious issue that has impacted District 12 and other districts along the Saw Mill River for many years, climate change is making the issue even more severe. Flooding doesn’t respect municipal boundaries which is why we have to work together to combat this issue.”

Legislator David Tubiolo said, “As Co-Chair of SWAB as well as the Chair of the Committee on Parks & Environment, I take the issue of flooding in the County seriously and we are committed to mitigating its impact on our community.”

NYS Majority Leader Senate Andrea Stewart Cousins said, “While flooding in these areas is nothing new, this on-site tour provided valuable insight from the mayors and other local officials who deal with the problem. I look forward to seeing the DEC’s study so we can work together to come up with the most effective methods to decrease debris in the Saw Mill River and improve the infrastructure surrounding it. My thanks to Legislator Imamura, the D.E.C. and Groundwork Hudson Valley for arranging it.”

NYS Assemblymember MaryJane Shimsky, former Chair of SWAB said, “We need a coordinated and multi-faceted effort to address our pervasive flooding issues. This tour moved that effort forward, by bringing key stakeholders to some of our most notoriously vulnerable sites along the Saw Mill River. We had a chance to discuss the range of remediation efforts — from improved maintenance to green and gray infrastructure. Thank you to County Legislator David Imamura, Groundwork Hudson Valley, the D.E.C., and all of the municipal representatives who helped make this site tour happen."

County Executive George Latimer said, “Standing on the banks of the Saw Mill River, witnessing the devastating impact of flooding, we must recognize that this is not just a local issue—it's a regional challenge that demands a unified response. Climate change knows no boundaries and it's incumbent upon us all to work together, across municipal lines, to safeguard our communities and protect our environment.”

Chair of the Board of Legislators Vedat Gashi (D - New Castle, Somers, Yorktown) said, “Through this tour, we at the Westchester County Board of Legislators gained valuable insights about this regional challenge that flooding presents. Flooding doesn’t respect municipal boundaries – it requires a collaborative effort, and that’s what we’re doing. I look forward to the DEC's study so we can continue our work to mitigate flooding from the Saw Mill River and elsewhere, together.

Minority Leader Margaret Cunzio (C - Mt. Pleasant, North Castle, Pleasantville, Valhalla, Sleepy Hollow, Briarcliff Manor) said, “After touring the Saw Mill River in the Mount Pleasant/Thornwood area with elected officials, local leaders from the affected municipalities, NYS representatives and the D.E.C. – I’m hopeful we can secure additional funding and resources to help mitigate flooding. The extensive flooding has caused damage to property, as well as put lives in danger. Working together, I am optimistic that we find the means to alleviate the situation and help constituents in this area.”

Legislator Erika Pierce (D - Bedford, Lewisboro, Mt. Kisco, North Salem, Pound Ridge, Somers), Chair of the Committee on Public Works and Transportation said, “The tour was a critical opportunity to gather with stake holders and representatives from all layers of our state government to see first-hand examples of where inland flooding is having the greatest impact. I expect yesterday’s gathering will expedite solutions in some cases, and I look forward to working together to get those solutions implemented. Thank you to everyone who participated.”

Minority Whip James Nolan (R – Bronxville, Yonkers) said, “District 15 has one of the worst flooding sites along the Saw Mill River and it heavily impacts my constituents. Yesterday's tour of the different flooding areas along the Saw Mill sheds more light on the challenges. Happy to start looking at more ways to address the issue with my colleagues at the Board of Legislators to help all of our residents."

Oded Holzinger, Executive Director of Groundwork Hudson Valley said, “Addressing flooding in the Saw Mill River watershed involves the community, decision-makers, and experts collaborating to enhance quality of life and environmental health. Floods disrupt Yonkers to Chappaqua, straining the county economically and socially. We continue to lead these efforts, including green infrastructure, habitat restoration, and flood mitigation while nurturing local green jobs and community stewardship.