NARROWSBURG, NY – On Thursday night the Upper Delaware Council (UDC) installed its 2015 officers.
Magisterial District 22-3-04 Judge Ronald J. Edwards officiated the swearing-in ceremony.
Among the 2015 officers are locals from northern Wayne County. Alan Henry, of Berlin Township, is the UDC chairperson and Jeffrey Dexter, of Damascus Township, is the secretary-treasurer.
Susan Sullivan, of Tusten, NY, was appointed vice-chairperson.
“This year we had a remarkable stability on the board,” said UDC Executive Director Laurie Ramie.
She added the municipalities are responsible for appointing members.
“Every year we have possible changes [to the board],” Ramie stated. “The UDC doesn't have a lot to do with that. We saw this year there were no personnel changes at all, which is surprising.
“I'm going to enjoy having people with a lot of experience on the board and to be able to see projects through.”
The UDC was formed in 1988 under a Cooperative Agreement partnership with the National Park Service to oversee the coordinated implementation of the River Management Plan for the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River, which the U.S. Congress designated in 1978 as part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.
The river corridor extends 73.4 miles from the confluence of the East and West Branches of the Delaware River below Hancock to Railroad Bridge No. 2 at Sparrowbush. It encompasses 55,575.5 acres that remain in majority private ownership within portions of Delaware, Sullivan, and Orange Counties in NY and Wayne and Pike Counties in PA.
“Every year we come up with annual plans that we channel through our three working committees,” said Ramie. “We deal with project reviews, water usage issues, resource management and general operations of the council.
“Each year we have goals in mind we want to accomplish.”
She said so far 2015 has been quiet.
“There's not as much activity in the winter months,” Ramie explained. “Recreation season comes back in the spring. This is the time we try to prepare ourselves for and also to monitor what's going on in the communities in terms of development proposals.
She added the UDC is here to advocate on behalf of the river valley.
“Anything that does come up, we'd like to be involved with,” Ramie said. “It [UDC] acts as a champion of the river. We're always finding things to do and things that come up.”
Among his duties as secretary-treasurer, Dexter examines the invoices and makes sure the expenses are valid. This is the third office he held.
He was previously vice-chair and chair.
Dexter said the budget for the UDC has been unchanged for years. It's also subjected to what happens with the federal government.
For instance, if the federal government shuts down, so does the UDC.
“We're very keen on what happens in Washington because it comes all the way back here,” he said. “There's a lot going on in the Delaware River Valley.
“We're constantly watching to see what different organizations are doing or would like to do.”
Dexter added there are many different viewpoints throughout the UDC.
“Some issues in one town aren't issues in another,” he said. “Not all of the issues are universal. Some things are more important to some towns than others.”
Henry said the council works well together.
“We try to address any and all concerns that come up,” he said. “As a council it's been working well and I expect it to continue.”
He added that he doesn't think of the chair as a leadership role.
“We look at issues as a council with all the different towns and townships,” Henry stated. “I'm a firm believer that everyone has their say.
“By no means am I going to micromanage anything or have a hidden agenda. I think the council should be neutral so we can work together as a council to try to reach any type of resolutions for whatever we have to address.”
Henry added the whole purpose is to work together as a council.
“We've addressed a lot of different issues and concerns,” Henry said. “That's what my goal is, to address whatever comes up and drive on that.”
UDC members are the eight New York towns and five of the Pennsylvania townships that border on the Upper Delaware River, as well as the State of New York and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Buckingham and Manchester Townships remain eligible to join.
The Delaware River Basin Commission has opted for non-voting membership. The National Park Service is a non-voting partner.
Members appoint representatives and alternates to serve on the UDC board.
The full body of the Upper Delaware Council regularly meets every first Thursday of the month at 7 p.m.
Three standing committees meet as follows: Water Use/Resource Management Committee, third Tuesdays at 7 p.m.; Project Review Committee, fourth Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m.; and Operations Committee, fourth Tuesdays at approximately 7:30 p.m.
All meetings take place at the UDC’s office located at 211 Bridge St. in Narrowsburg, NY, and are open to the public.
For more information, please visit www.upperdelawarecouncil.org or call (845) 252-3022.