Talking points for talking with government officials

A How-To Guide for talking with officials about the recent flooding in Shandaken. Compiled by Claudia Fragnito.

Key Talking Points/Messages:


  • Recent flooding of the Esopus and tributary creeks/streams in Shandaken, NY

Key Messages (pick and choose what is relevant):

  • Introduce who you are, where you live and what water source is causing you issues (e.g., Esopus, Stoney Clove, OxClove, Woodland Valley Creek, etc.)

  • Provide context on some of the history of the water issues in our area: DEP implemented a change about 10 years ago to no longer allow individuals to perform creek maintenance due to NYC water quality. The impact of this decision has incrementally compounded the flood issue without solving for cleaner NYC water

  • Explain your concern about the impact to our local community – private property and/or local businesses, as relevant

  • Outline that two floods in as many months has caused significant damage to private properties and property values, local infrastructure and local businesses in the Shandaken area

  • Deliver message that key impacts to our economy include plummeting home values and lost business revenue. Both issues are devastating for an economy that is struggling for survival in this economic downturn

  • Outline that it has been made clear that FEMA is not a support-line for affected individuals

  • Deliver thoughts on future considerations; if nothing is done to implement a solution, the main economic driver of this part of Ulster County will wither – potential homeowners may not purchase property here, current homeowners may be forced to sell at a loss/foreclose/walk away from water damaged properties, business owners may look to renew leases elsewhere

  • Explain that one step that waterfront homeowners are considering includes requesting a reassessment of land size and, therefore, a reduction of property taxes due to significant land erosion.

Solutions/Next Steps:

  • Outline what you are requesting as a solution:

    • Influence the DEP/DEC to implement a solution at the key pain points (e.g., Esopus, Stoney Clove, Oxclove, etc.) before the spring thaw in March

    • Influence change with the DEP/DEC to lift this ban on “dredging” so that property owners can protect erosion of their properties and/or curb the flooding into their basements

    • Request a community wide “permit” to implement individual solutions (to avoid DEP and/or DEC fines).

    • Escalate a request to FEMA for Federal Aid to implement solutions at most critical pain points across the various water sources

    • Others, as relevant


  • John Bonacic may be a good starting point as he is on record supporting the DEP’s proposal to come in and implement a channel management solution in Phoenicia

  • The key messages are guidelines/suggestions on crafting a message. Feel free to use all or none depending on what you are comfortable communicating.

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  • If you have alternative solutions or ideas that you would like to recommend, please share those as well (via