Recovery forces are merging to strengthen rebuilding in the Schoharie Valley after the 2011 Irene flood.
Schoharie Recovery and Schoharie Area Long Term are combining under the SALT banner as the two-year anniversary of Irene nears.
But the merger doesn't mean recovery is almost finished. Major projects still remain, according to SALT Executive Director Sarah Goodrich.
"There will be no gap in help or where people have to go to get help," Ms. Goodrich said of the merger.
Schoharie Recovery formed immediately after Irene to help families in the Schoharie School District. Organized shortly afterwards, SALT's been coordinating recovery in the entire Schoharie Valley.
And for nearly two years, the two agencies have worked closely together.
Schoharie Recovery's headquarters, a trailer behind the Heritage House in Schoharie, will remain, and people needing help can still go there, Ms. Goodrich said.
Also, Josh DeBartolo, who's directed Schoharie Recovery from the start, will continue working with SALT.
Stressing that the joining up will better coordinate recovery, Ms. Goodrich said the move is mostly for "administrative and logistical" purposes.
"People's needs will still be met," she said.
Even two years later, there are still plenty of needs.
Although SALT, Schoharie Recovery and the swarms of volunteers they coordinate have helped hundreds of families, 25 to 30 percent of families still are in dire need, Ms. Goodrich estimated.
Those needs are larger than many that have been solved; entire homes need rebuilding or need major water or septic repair.
Others are just starting the demolition phase.
"Although the numbers are smaller, the size of the projects is larger," Ms. Goodrich said. "At this point, individual needs are greater."
Not that there hasn't been success this year. SALT set a goal earlier this year of rebuilding the equivalent of 15 houses this summer.
The 15-home target hasn't been hit, Ms. Goodrich said, but they've "made huge strides" getting there, as Green Shirts, the Church of the Brethren and UMCOR volunteers have been in the Valley daily.
That said, recovery is far from winding down. Besides streamlining forces, SALT is looking at a large fundraising push for work in 2014.
"We still need funds, especially--and hopefully--from a large donor for next year," Ms. Goodrich said.
"The projects are more complex, therefore they're more expensive."
Anyone wishing to donate can visit the SALT website, mail a check to SALT, 258 Main Street, Schoharie; or call 702-5017 for more information.