Around the Watershed: News and Events

New Edition of Esopus Creek News

Posted on: March 13th, 2019 by Leslie_Zucker

The lat­est edi­tion of the Eso­pus Creek News is now avail­able! This issue cov­ers the lat­est research on how healthy streams can improve our phys­i­cal and men­tal health, sur­pris­ing results from a recent fish study, how con­stric­tion at road-stream cross­ings is caus­ing prob­lems in streams and what com­mu­ni­ties are doing about it, and field notes. To have a printed Eso­pus Creek News mailed to your door, send a request to

Register Now — 2019 Stream Explorers Youth Adventure

Posted on: March 5th, 2019 by Leslie_Zucker


Join us for a fun-filled day of science-based stream activ­i­ties on Sat­ur­day, April 27, 2019 and become a Stream Explorer! This year’s event is designed for kids in grades 3 through 7 who live in the towns of Shan­daken, Wood­stock, Olive and Hur­ley. Inves­ti­gate stream ecosys­tems, explore the dynam­ics of a stream, hike to a majes­tic water­fall, par­tic­i­pate in excit­ing out­door activ­i­ties, learn from stream edu­ca­tors and water sci­en­tists, and become a pro­tec­tor of our water resources!

The one-day Stream Explor­ers Youth Adven­ture runs from 8:30 am through 5:00 pm at the Ashokan Cen­ter in Olive­bridge, NY. Sign-in and reg­is­tra­tion begins at 8:30 am.

Par­ents and guardians are wel­come to attend. Reg­is­ter by April 5 for an early bird dis­count of $10 per per­son. After April 5 the fee is $15 per per­son. Reg­is­tra­tion closes on April 19. Down­load the reg­is­tra­tion brochure for mail­ing or reg­is­ter online at For help with reg­is­tra­tion, con­tact Linda Gonnella at 845–688-3047 or

Lunch and snacks included in reg­is­tra­tion fee. Event activ­i­ties take place out­doors if weather per­mits — be pre­pared for a vari­ety of weather con­di­tions! For more infor­ma­tion on event activ­i­ties, con­tact Matt Savatgy at

For direc­tions to the Ashokan Cen­ter, use this address in your map browser: Ashokan Cen­ter, 477 Beaverkill Road, Olive­bridge, NY 12461.

Stream Map Event on Feb. 16!

Posted on: February 11th, 2019 by Brent Gotsch
Participants at the 2018 Mappy Hour look over a historical aerial map of the watershed.

View­ing his­tor­i­cal maps of the watershed.

Maps are rep­re­sen­ta­tions of our world in two dimen­sions and can be pieces of art and his­tor­i­cal arti­facts. Maps help us under­stand our envi­ron­ment in new ways. Join the Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram (AWSMP) to cel­e­brate a love of streams and view water­shed maps on Sat­ur­day, Feb­ru­ary 16 from 1:00–3:00pm at Marty’s Mer­can­tile, 4075 Route 28A in West Shokan, NY. The event is free of charge and reg­is­tra­tion is not required.

An array of mod­ern and his­tor­i­cal maps of streams and other water­shed fea­tures in the Catskill region of Ulster County will be avail­able for view­ing. Activ­i­ties and games are planned for the entire fam­ily. Cof­fee, tea, salad and sand­wiches from Marty’s Mer­can­tile will be avail­able free of charge to event participants.

For addi­tional infor­ma­tion on the event please con­tact Brent Gotsch at or 845–688-3047 ext. 3. In case of inclement weather, check for infor­ma­tion on event cancellation.

Annual Tree & Shrub Sale

Posted on: February 8th, 2019 by Leslie_Zucker

The Ulster Co. Soil and Water Con­ser­va­tion District’s home office in High­land, NY is announc­ing their annual tree and shrub sale. The order form must be received by Fri­day, March 29, 2019.

Many of the species included in the sale are native to the Ashokan water­shed and make great addi­tions to stream­side plant­i­ngs.  Healthy and diverse stream­side veg­e­ta­tion plays an impor­tant role in sta­bi­liz­ing stream­banks and resist­ing erosion.

Catskill natives worth con­sid­er­ing for your stream­side areas include: elder­berry, but­ton bush and paper birch.

Tree & Shrub Order Form
Tree & Shrub Descriptions

For stream buffer related ques­tions or help select­ing appro­pri­ate veg­e­ta­tion, con­tact Bobby Tay­lor, Ulster Co. SWCD and AWSMP Catskill Streams Buffer Coor­di­na­tor at or call (845) 688‑3047 ext. 6.

Register Now — Winter Snowshoe Stream Walk

Posted on: January 17th, 2019 by Brent Gotsch

Catskill Stream in Winter

*This pro­gram is now full. How­ever, if you would like to be added to the wait list please con­tact Linda Gonnella at or 845–688-3047 ext. 0.


Reg­is­ter now for a Win­ter Snow­shoe Stream Walk along Rochester Hol­low trail at the end of Matyas Road near Big Indian, NY from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Sat­ur­day, Feb­ru­ary 2, 2019. If there is not enough snow for snow­shoe­ing, a “No-Snow” date is sched­uled for the fol­low­ing Sat­ur­day, Feb­ru­ary 9. If there is still no snow on this date, a reg­u­lar stream walk will be held with­out snow­shoes. Snow­shoes and walk­ing poles will be pro­vided, though, par­tic­i­pants are encour­aged to bring their own gear. Those with lim­ited or no expe­ri­ence snow­shoe­ing are encour­aged to attend. Instruc­tion on how to snow­shoe prop­erly and safely will be given before ven­tur­ing out on the trail.

The walk will be approx­i­mately 2 hours in length along a well-maintained trail on NYS Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion (NYSDEC) For­est Pre­serve land. Dur­ing the walk, edu­ca­tors from Cor­nell Coop­er­a­tive Exten­sion of Ulster County will share infor­ma­tion about local streams and pro­tect­ing water resources, and we will inves­ti­gate signs of local wildlife. The walk will be 1.5–2 miles in length roundtrip with fre­quent stops to point out inter­est­ing fea­tures of the stream or to dis­cuss envi­ron­men­tal top­ics. The walk will end at a NYSDEC camp­site where par­tic­i­pants can warm up by a camp­fire with hot drinks and snacks.

Meet at the DEC trail­head park­ing lot at the end of Matyas Road by 10:00 am.

The event is free of charge but space is lim­ited. Please reg­is­ter early to hold your spot. Reg­is­ter online at or con­tact Linda Gonnella at the AWSMP office at or 845–688-3047 ext. 0.

Rainbow Trout Study Concludes

Posted on: December 14th, 2018 by Leslie_Zucker

Researchers from the U.S. Geo­log­i­cal Sur­vey (USGS), NYS Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion, and the firm Eco­Logic con­cluded a study look­ing for one poten­tial cause of recent Rain­bow Trout pop­u­la­tion declines in the Ashokan Watershed.

The study was launched when the num­ber of Rain­bow Trout in the upper Eso­pus Creek, a major trib­u­tary drain­ing into the Ashokan Reser­voir, showed a pre­cip­i­tous drop between 2009 and 2013.

One poten­tial cause for the decline was the estab­lish­ment of two inva­sive fish in the reser­voir — the Alewife estab­lished in the 1970s and White Perch in the 2000s. Both species are not native to the Ashokan Reser­voir water­shed and have the poten­tial to change the type and abun­dance of food avail­able to other fish, includ­ing Rain­bow Trout.

Rainbow Trout captured in the upper Esopus Creek by Ed Ostapczuk.

Rain­bow Trout cap­tured in the upper Eso­pus Creek by Ed Ostapczuk.

The researchers did an analy­sis of fish caught in the Ashokan Reser­voir over the past 70 years, look­ing at the rate of Rain­bow Trout growth before and after Alewife and White Perch became established.

Sur­pris­ingly, the growth of Rain­bow Trout appeared to increase over recent decades. The largest increases in both growth and con­di­tion of Rain­bow Trout were observed after the intro­duc­tion of White Perch. This was unex­pected con­sid­er­ing White Perch should be poor prey for Rain­bow Trout and may also com­pete with Rain­bow Trout for food.

The researchers did not con­clude that White Perch in the reser­voir ben­e­fit­ted Rain­bow Trout. Instead, other changes in the water­shed and its ecol­ogy may have affected the growth and con­di­tion of Rain­bow Trout over the decades.

Future research and man­age­ment may focus on iden­ti­fy­ing, pro­tect­ing, and restor­ing areas in which Rain­bow Trout spawn.

In fur­ther good news, annual elec­trofish­ing sur­veys at six sites on the Eso­pus Creek and its trib­u­taries have shown that Rain­bow Trout spawned very suc­cess­fully over the past few years, accord­ing to George.

The AWSMP pro­vided fund­ing for this study through a Stream Man­age­ment Imple­men­ta­tion Pro­gram (SMIP) grant. A peer-reviewed arti­cle on the study was pub­lished in the Octo­ber 2018 issue of the North Amer­i­can Jour­nal of Fish­eries Man­age­ment. For more infor­ma­tion see

Floodplain Manager Trainings Start in January

Posted on: November 30th, 2018 by Leslie_Zucker
CCEUC Educator Brent Gotsch is a Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM), a certification recognized both nationally and by the Association of State Floodplain Managers. Gotsch offers a free course in the NYC Watershed on preparing to become a CFM.

CCEUC Edu­ca­tor Brent Gotsch is a Cer­ti­fied Flood­plain Man­ager (CFM), a cer­ti­fi­ca­tion rec­og­nized both nation­ally and by the Asso­ci­a­tion of State Flood­plain Man­agers. Gotsch offers a free course in the NYC Water­shed on prepar­ing to become a CFM.

Cor­nell Coop­er­a­tive Exten­sion of Ulster County (CCEUC) and the Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram will host a series of train­ings early next year to pre­pare local offi­cials to take the Cer­ti­fied Flood­plain Man­agers (CFM) exam­i­na­tion. CCEUC Resource Edu­ca­tor, Brent Gotsch, who is a Cer­ti­fied Flood­plain Man­ager, will be lead­ing the trainings.

Code Enforce­ment Offi­cers and other town offi­cials ben­e­fit from becom­ing CFMs. A high level of knowl­edge about the National Flood Insur­ance Pro­gram and asso­ci­ated flood­plain reg­u­la­tions is needed to obtain the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. Through its train­ings, CCEUC has helped 12 local offi­cials pre­pare for and pass the CFM exam.

The train­ings are free of charge and held weekly from Jan­u­ary to April at the Shan­daken Town Hall. Any­one located in a New York City West of Hud­son Water­shed com­mu­nity is eli­gi­ble to par­tic­i­pate. While per­son­nel from town or vil­lage build­ing depart­ments are most likely to ben­e­fit from the train­ing, other munic­i­pal offi­cials can as well. Plan­ning Board mem­bers, High­way Super­in­ten­dents, and Town Super­vi­sors have all taken the train­ing and gone on to earn their CFM.

If you are a munic­i­pal offi­cial in the New York City West of Hud­son Water­shed and are inter­ested in tak­ing this train­ing, please con­tact Brent Gotsch at 845–688-3047 or via email at Train­ings are expected to begin early in Jan­u­ary 2019 and run weekly until about mid-April.

Anglers Symposium on November 9th

Posted on: October 30th, 2018 by Brent Gotsch

Ron-Nev Anglers Symposium 2018

Our friends and col­leagues with the Rondout-Neversink Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram will be hold­ing their 5th Annual Angler’s Sym­po­sium at the Claryville Event Cen­ter at the Blue Hill Lodge located at 1471 Den­ning Road on Fri­day, Novem­ber 9th from 1:00–4:00pm. This is a great pro­gram for any­one who is inter­ested in the Catskill region fishery.

Head­lin­ing this year’s sym­po­sium will be his­to­rian Diane Galusha who will speak about Edwin Hewitt, an author and nat­u­ral­ist whose prop­erty along the Nev­ersink River inspired him to write his Hand­book of Stream Improve­ment and Secrets of Salmon.

Also pre­sent­ing will be Shaun McAdams from Trout Unlim­ited who will describe his work with wild brook trout in New York and Penn­syl­va­nia. In addi­tion, Carri Marschner and Char­lotte Malm­borg of Cor­nell Uni­ver­sity will speak about cit­i­zen sci­ence oppor­tu­ni­ties to help save hem­lock trees. Hem­locks are vitally impor­tant ripar­ian tree species that are under threat from cli­mate change and inva­sive species like the hem­lock woolly adel­gid. There will also be a walk­ing tour of a nearby stream­bank restora­tion project.

For more infor­ma­tion or to reg­is­ter please visit the Rondout-Neversink Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram website.

Attend the 2018 CERM Conference

Posted on: October 9th, 2018 by Leslie_Zucker

CERM Dates

The 2018 Catskill Envi­ron­men­tal Research & Mon­i­tor­ing (CERM) con­fer­ence is an oppor­tu­nity for researchers and nat­ural resource man­agers to inter­act around the lat­est obser­va­tions of aquatic, ter­res­trial, and atmos­pheric con­di­tions in the Catskill moun­tain region of upstate New York.

The con­fer­ence will be Octo­ber 24–26, 2018 at the Bel­leayre Ski Resort in High­mount, NY. The con­fer­ence runs from 9:00–5:00 on Wednes­day and Thurs­day with a poster ses­sion and mixer from 5:00–7:00 on Wednes­day. A research break­fast work­shop and field trips are planned for Friday.

Reg­is­tra­tion for the con­fer­ence ends Octo­ber 19. The CERM con­fer­ence fee is $50 to attend all three days, includ­ing lunches, poster ses­sion, work­shop and field trips. Schol­ar­ships are avail­able for col­lege stu­dents to attend a Break­fast Research Work­shop. Stu­dents may request a schol­ar­ship dur­ing reg­is­tra­tion. Reg­is­ter online at:

The three-day con­fer­ence will fea­ture 32 pre­sen­ta­tions of study results dur­ing ses­sions focused on recre­ation impacts, devel­op­ment impacts, soil/plant rela­tion­ships, bio­di­ver­sity, sed­i­ment stud­ies, hydrol­ogy, long-term mon­i­tor­ing, wildlife, and forestry. Over 20 aca­d­e­mic posters will be on dis­play dur­ing the poster ses­sion and mixer. Pre­sen­ters rep­re­sent a range of insti­tu­tions, includ­ing New York State uni­ver­si­ties, non-profit research orga­ni­za­tions, and gov­ern­ment agencies.

The con­fer­ence keynote address will be deliv­ered by Dr. Chad Daw­son, Pro­fes­sor Emer­i­tus of Recre­ation Resources Man­age­ment at the SUNY Col­lege of Envi­ron­men­tal Sci­ence and Forestry in Syra­cuse, NY.  Dr. Daw­son will speak about mon­i­tor­ing and man­ag­ing the impacts of pub­lic use on state For­est Pre­serve lands.

For more infor­ma­tion, visit the CERM con­fer­ence web­site at

SMIP Funding Now Available

Posted on: September 21st, 2018 by Leslie_Zucker

Fund­ing is now avail­able from the AWSMP for stream man­age­ment projects in the Ashokan Water­shed. The dead­line for appli­ca­tions is Octo­ber 19, 2018.

Not-for-profit orga­ni­za­tions and gov­ern­men­tal units may apply for project fund­ing in the cat­e­gories of:

  • Plan­ning
  • Edu­ca­tion
  • Stream-related infra­struc­ture improve­ments (see project eli­gi­bil­ity guid­ance)
  • Flood haz­ard mitigation
  • Stream restora­tion
  • Research, assess­ment and monitoring

For-profit cor­po­ra­tions are only eli­gi­ble to apply in the ‘Research, assess­ment and mon­i­tor­ing’ category.

For more infor­ma­tion on fund­ing pro­gram rules and to down­load appli­ca­tions forms, go to: