Some Irene debris cleanup under way

UPPER JAY – Piles of debris are now being removed along the shores of the East Branch of the AuSable River near the former Land of Make Believe, according to officials from the town of Jay and Essex County.

The debris piles are remnants of 2011’s Tropical Storm Irene. Town and county officials said in a press release that a grant from the state Department of Environmental Conservation is helping fund debris removal in Upper Jay.

“We wish to extend our most sincere gratitude to New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens and DEC Region 5 Regional Director Bob Stegemann, who, since the onset of the Irene Recovery and Relief Operation, have worked tirelessly along side of our town and county officials in efforts to restore our area from the devastation of Irene,” Jay town Supervisor Randy Douglas wrote in the release.

Douglas said there are still other debris piles that need to be cleaned up because they would pose a public safety threat in the event of future flooding. The Federal Emergency Management Agency rejected an application for funding to remove the debris, but the town has since filed an appeal.

On Tuesday, Cuomo announced that he would make additional funding available for ongoing Irene recovery efforts.