The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe and the town of Massena, New York are teaming up to rejuvenate the Grasse River waterfront.
The project is based on recommendations in a study conducted by students at Clarkson University in Potsdam, the Watertown Daily Times reported. Having discovered that reconstructing a weir was too costly, the students suggested the town and the tribe join forces to restore the habitat. Tribal officials said that left plenty of options open.
“Any project that is consistent with tribal restoration objectives and preservation of culturally significant fish and wildlife species … signage proposed along the Grasse River for eco-cultural tourism (i.e. via walking path, bike path, historical reference), acknowledgement of Mohawk history, community culture and significance of the Grasse River Mile Square and Indian Meadows for retained Mohawk traditional uses as reserved by 1796 Treaty Rights,” said Jessica Jock, who is with the tribe’s environment department, to the Watertown Daily Times. “The history of the St. Lawrence River watershed and its tributaries, including Grasse River, and its waterway significance predates any hydropower facility and industry. The preference would be to highlight the community culture that predates industry, surrounding the Grasse River and Mile Square in any interpretive signage.”
The town’s Department of Public Works and the Recreation Department would also be involved, Messena Mayor James F. Hidy told the newspaper.
“We’re going to be working in conjunction with our DPW and our Recreation Department to conceptualize alternatives such as natural playgrounds and park-like settings that would contribute to the overall beautification of our shoreline,” Hidy said. “Within her scope of services, Ms. Jock will be helping us obtain alternative funding for these projects through various agencies.”
The projects could be eligible for grants such as funds received through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the Watertown Daily Times reported.