The citizens' not-for-profit advocacy group for Dam Safety and Flood Mitigation in the Schoharie Drainage Basin

Howard R. Bartholomew: A Tribute to Our Beloved DCC Leader

Our DCC family mourns the loss of Howard Bartholomew, our president for the past several years, and one of our founding directors. A retired history teacher, avid fly fisherman, master woodwork craftsman, and fully engaged citizen, Howard brought passion and commitment to his community service, and to his faith and family as well. His son Alex is a DCC board member, and our love and sympathy go to Alex and his wife Amy, Howard's granddaughter Annabeth, and sister-in-law Nancy at this time of loss.

Throughout DCC's thirteen years of advocacy for dam safety and flood mitigation, Howard has been a driving force within our organization. The expertise he had developed on the hydrology, geology, ecology and meteorological history of Schoharie Creek and its tributaries was encyclopedic, and he could marshal that knowledge with amazing detail in public forums.

Throughout the crises regarding the New York City water supply dam at Gilboa and the New York Power Authority's dams at its hydroelectric power project at Blenheim-Gilboa --- which affect every resident in Schoharie Valley from Gilboa to Schenectady's Stockade --- Howard has been a tenacious, stalwart advocate for all our residents. His exquisitely detailed research on the hydrology of Schoharie Creek contributed enormously to the public dialogue about these issues. He made multiple presentations at annual symposia on the Mohawk River watershed, and he led our presentations before FERC in the hearings regarding relicensing of the Blenheim-Gilboa Power Project.

Long before DCC emerged, in the 1970's, when NYPA threatened to build a second pumped storage project at Blenheim-Breakabeen that would have posed detrimental environmental impacts, including devastation of the prime farmlands of the valley, Howard was an active participant in our Schoharie Valley Environmental Conservation Association (VECA), a citizens' group organized to save the valley from that project. Many years of activism, including a lawsuit, resulted in successfully defeating that proposal. In the course of a class action suit to prevent this folly, VECA pioneered the very first Agricultural District in the entire nation, right here in our own beloved Schoharie Valley.

For many years, Howard's dynamic partner in these endeavors was his late wife Sherrie, another founding director of DCC who also served as our president for several years. They were an inseparable team, and both brought passion and inspirational energy to our cause. When the floods devastated their own home on River Street, they were displaced for many months before they were able to renovate and move back. Throughout all this personal trauma, their total devotion to the mission of dam safety and flood mitigation for Schoharie Valley never waned. Since losing Sherrie, Howard had redoubled his dedication in tribute to her, taking the helm as president. Ever the teacher, he launched several educational initiatives, including a Know Your Watershed seminar at SUNY Cobleskill, new educational brochures, a weekly newspaper column and a biweekly radio show on watershed issues.

Howard's unflagging leadership has benefited everyone in our beautiful valley. He was a tireless, passionate advocate for our environment, and our scenic, historic and agricultural heritage. The hallmark of his leadership was humility, always sharing credit with team partners rather than seeking personal glory.

Innumerable people --- past, present and future --- are beneficiaries of his vision and service. We will miss his humor, his wisdom, and his energetic leadership. Our greatest tribute will be to rededicate ourselves to carrying his legacy forward.

Read: Obituary for Howard R Bartholomew and share condolences.

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