DEC might fine feds for kicking up dust at Shawangunk conservation site

In the Daily Freeman today: The state Department of Environmental Conservation is mulling whether to fine the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, for using stimulus funds to tear up a big chunk of the Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge in the name of conservation.

The Fish and Wildlife Service was awarded stimulus project funding of $799,000 to revegetate the former runways and entered a contract with Ducks Unlimited to do the work. Information from www. recovery. gov shows that, through Sept. 30, Ducks Unlimited has been paid $472,753.

Problems with the project were identified in August by state officials responding to complaints over the amount of dust created by the work.

Ducks Unlimited engineer Dennis McDonough last month noted that work included disturbing 130 acres of the site instead of the five acres allowed under state Department of Environmental Conservation permits.

A recent Times Herald-Record story reports that when the feds resume work on the site next year, they'll likely be going over budget:

That's according to Ducks Unlimited, the contractor overseeing the project for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

"Yes, it will cost more — at least $100,000 more, I would say," Ducks Unlimited spokeswoman Kristin Schrader said.

The exact amount of cost overruns is unknown. It was also unclear where the extra money could come from. Schrader said moving equipment off and back onto the property, seeding it for winter and new permits will contribute to the price tag.

Earlier: State and feds squabble over how to conserve Shawangunk grasslands