Around the Watershed: News and Events

When 1-in-100 Year Floods Happen Often

Posted on: May 9th, 2019 by Leslie_Zucker

The “100-year flood” can hap­pen a lot more often than every 100 years. National Pub­lic Radio (NPR) just tried to clear up the con­fu­sion — lis­ten or read the story here. Many peo­ple assume if they’ve expe­ri­enced a 100-year flood it won’t hap­pen again for another 99 years, but this is not the case. The term “1-in-100 year flood” means there is a 1% chance a flood will hap­pen each year. If it hap­pens this year, there is still a 1% chance it will hap­pen next year. Also, every other sized flood could hap­pen in a year, they are just more or less likely.

The hundred-year flood term was adopted by FEMA to des­ig­nate a zone where flood insur­ance is required with a fed­er­ally backed mort­gage. The 100-year flood­plain is an area where flood risk is higher, but it’s not the only tool, and maybe not the best way to deter­mine your flood risk. It’s bet­ter to think in longer timeframes.

As the NPR story states, it’s bet­ter to know this fact — there is a 26% chance the 100-year flood will hap­pen over the course of a 30-year mort­gage. If you live your entire life in the flood zone, you are likely to expe­ri­ence a big flood.

Trout Love in the Spring — What is a “Redd”?

Posted on: May 2nd, 2019 by Leslie_Zucker

The wild Rain­bow Trout of the upper Eso­pus Creek are now spawn­ing – it’s spring! Here are the mechan­ics: a female trout digs a depres­sion in the gravel with her tail called a “redd.” She deposits the eggs and waits for a male trout to fer­til­ize them, then she cov­ers the eggs with loose gravel. They both swim away leav­ing the eggs shel­tered (unlike salmon, trout don’t die after spawn­ing). Rain­bow Trout spawn in late spring until tem­per­a­tures start to rise. Brown Trout and Brook Trout spawn in the fall.

A spe­cial note to anglers and any­one wad­ing streams this spring – be mind­ful of redds and don’t dis­turb them.

A redd should appear like a depres­sion with clean gravel inside, and may be lighter or darker than the sur­round­ing gravel (see the pho­tos below). Don’t walk through them and be care­ful where you wade. Redds in the upper Eso­pus Creek are often observed in the “tai­lout” of a pool.

In the par­lance of geo­mor­phol­ogy, this stream bed fea­ture is called a “glide.” Glides are where the steeply sloped bed ris­ing out of a pool becomes flat­ter and water veloc­ity increases. Glides are located imme­di­ately down­stream of pools.

Rainbow Trout Redd

Rain­bow Trout redd in the Bush­nellsville Creek, May 2018. Photo by Ed Ostapczuk.

Rainbow Trout Redd

Rain­bow Trout redd observed in a trib­u­tary to the upper Eso­pus Creek, April 2019. Photo by Ed Ostapczuk.

Glide with Rainbow Trout Redd

Loca­tion of the redd above in tai­lout of a pool. Photo by Ed Ostapczuk.

Register for Family Fun and Fish Day!

Posted on: May 2nd, 2019 by Brent Gotsch
Learning to fish at Family Fun and Fish Day

Learn­ing to fish at Fam­ily Fun and Fish Day.

This is event is now FULL! Thank you for your inter­est in this year’s Fam­ily Fun and Fish Day!

Fish­ing with the fam­ily is a great way to con­nect with each other and expe­ri­ence the great out­doors! Back by pop­u­lar demand for the 7th year in a row, the Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram in coop­er­a­tion with Trout Unlim­ited and the New York State Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion (DEC) is host­ing “Fam­ily Fun and Fish Day” at Ken­neth Wil­son State Camp­ground at 859 Wit­ten­berg Road, Mount Trem­per, NY on Sun­day, May 19 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Reg­is­ter by May 16, 2019 in order to par­tic­i­pate. Reg­is­ter online now by vis­it­ing the reg­is­tra­tion page.

DEC fish­eries staff and vol­un­teers with local Trout Unlim­ited chap­ters will intro­duce youth and oth­ers to the sport of fish­ing and pro­vide edu­ca­tion on fish iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and aquatic ecol­ogy. Other fam­ily friendly activ­i­ties include a bar­beque, arts and crafts, and edu­ca­tional activ­i­ties under the pavil­ion. Please let us know in advance if you have spe­cial needs related to the day’s activities.

All fish­ing sup­plies will be pro­vided, though you are wel­come to bring your own if you have them. No fish­ing license is required.

For more infor­ma­tion, con­tact Brent Gotsch at 845–688-3047 ext. 3, or by email at DEC charges a $6 fee per car for admis­sion to the camp­ground — all other activ­i­ties at Fam­ily Fun and Fish Day are free.

Girl Scouts Expand Stream Buffer

Posted on: May 1st, 2019 by Leslie_Zucker

The Catskill Streams Buffer Ini­tia­tive Pro­gram (CSBI) worked with the Ashokan Ser­vice Unit Girl Scouts to expand a stream buffer at the Catskill Inter­pre­tive Cen­ter (CIC) in Mt. Trem­per last week­end. These scouts were hard core planters and put 45 native trees and shrubs and 100 bare root plants in the ground. About 23 scouts cut 30 dog­wood stems and processed them into 100 live stakes for use on other project sites. They pot­ted up 50 peren­nial bulbs to be used in the CIC’s rain gar­den this fall. In addi­tion, the rain gar­den was weeded and inva­sive plants removed. Many of the scouts were stu­dents in the Onte­ora School Dis­trict while oth­ers were from the Hud­son Val­ley. The scouts were helped by Ulster County Soil & Water Con­ser­va­tion District’s CSBI Coor­di­na­tor Bobby Tay­lor and 12 par­ents and scout lead­ers. Way to go girl scouts keep­ing streams healthy!

Cutting a Live Stake

CSBI Coor­di­na­tor Bobby Tay­lor demon­strates how to cut a live stake.

Girl Scouts Planting Stream Buffer

Ashokan Ser­vice Unit Girl Scouts expand a stream buffer at the Catskill Inter­pre­tive Center.

Join the Phoenicia Library for ‘The Adventure Experts’

Posted on: May 1st, 2019 by Leslie_Zucker

Join the Phoeni­cia Library’s Jerry Bartlett Angling Col­lec­tion for a pro­gram led by licensed out­door guides on Sat­ur­day, May 11 from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm at the Phoeni­cia Library. Pan­elists will include Will Soter, co-founder of Upstate Adven­ture Guides; Hank Rope, leg­endary guide in the Catskill Region and owner of Big Indian Guide Ser­vice; Cliff Schwark, a life­long angler and founder of the Ashokan Pepacton Chap­ter of Trout Unlim­ited; and Patty Rudge, the first woman to serve as a full-time NYS For­est Ranger. Pan­elists will talk about the his­tory of guid­ing, what it takes to be a guide, how to choose one, and how to get licensed. The role of guides in edu­cat­ing clients about Catskill streams will also be dis­cussed. This pro­gram is funded by the Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram through a grant to the library.  For more infor­ma­tion, visit:

Elevation and Floodproofing Workshop Advances Flood Mitigation

Posted on: April 12th, 2019 by Brent Gotsch
A workshop participant observes an engineered flood vent at the Elevation and Floodproofing Workshop held on March 26 and 27, 2019. Photo by Tim Koch.

A work­shop par­tic­i­pant observes an engi­neered flood vent at the Ele­va­tion and Flood­proof­ing Work­shop held on March 26 and 27, 2019. Photo by Tim Koch.


Poten­tially thou­sands of struc­tures across the NYC West of Hud­son Water­shed are located within mapped FEMA flood­plains. Many are located in down­town ham­let areas and are vital to the local econ­omy. More intense flood events and ris­ing flood insur­ance rates are threat­en­ing these struc­tures and the com­mu­ni­ties that rely on them for tax base, habi­ta­tion, eco­nomic activ­ity, and sense of place.

Prop­erty own­ers in flood zones are advised to reduce their flood risks and take action. A range of risk reduc­tion mea­sures are being tested and imple­mented across the coun­try. The Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram brought speak­ers with national exper­tise to the region on March 26 and 27 to deliver a work­shop for local offi­cials to learn more about ele­va­tion and flood­proof­ing of struc­tures. The work­shop was held at the Emer­son Inn in Mount Trem­per and attended by nearly 50 build­ing depart­ment and other offi­cials from Ulster, Greene, Sul­li­van, and Delaware counties.

The work­shop fea­tured pre­sen­ters from Ducky John­son Home Ele­va­tions out of Hara­han, LA, and con­sul­tants recently retired from the NYS Dept. of Envi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion and the U.S. Army Corps of Engi­neers.

“Every dol­lar spent on mit­i­ga­tion saves six dol­lars in recov­ery costs,” said Rod Scott of Ducky John­son. “Ele­va­tion and dry flood proof­ing are proven flood haz­ard mit­i­ga­tion tech­niques used to reduce flood risk and flood insur­ance pre­mi­ums,” he said.

In the 2018 hur­ri­cane sea­son alone, U.S. ter­ri­to­ries expe­ri­enced 15 storms and 8 hur­ri­canes respon­si­ble for $50 bil­lion in dam­age. In response to this “new nor­mal” of bil­lions in annual losses due to prop­erty dam­age, Con­gress has man­dated flood insur­ance rate hikes for struc­tures with mort­gages in the FEMA floodplain.

“Ele­vat­ing or flood­proof­ing struc­tures pro­vides a way for com­mu­ni­ties to keep their build­ing stock, and their tax base sta­ble while also decreas­ing flood insur­ance pre­mi­ums for the own­ers and less­en­ing their risk of flood-related dam­age,” said Brent Gotsch, Resource Edu­ca­tor for Cor­nell Coop­er­a­tive Exten­sion of Ulster County and orga­nizer of the work­shop. “With increas­ing pre­cip­i­ta­tion pat­terns and more dam­ag­ing flood events, it’s vital that com­mu­ni­ties con­sider using these meth­ods to adapt and become more resilient,” he added.

Elevation and Floodprooging Workshop participants view an elevated home in Mount Tremper, NY. Photo by Brent Gotsch

Ele­va­tion and Flood­proof­ing Work­shop par­tic­i­pants view an ele­vated home in Mount Trem­per, NY. Photo by Brent Gotsch


Dur­ing the work­shop, local code offi­cials learned the dif­fer­ences between wet and dry flood­proof­ing and effec­tive ele­va­tion meth­ods for struc­tures. They learned how these prac­tices change flood insur­ance pre­mi­ums and how sim­ple mea­sures such as filling-in a base­ment can reduce pre­mi­ums by hun­dreds or even thou­sands of dollars.

A bus tour showed par­tic­i­pants local exam­ples of struc­tures retro­fit­ted with ele­va­tion and flood­proof­ing mea­sures. At one prop­erty, water­tight shields were installed to pre­vent water from flow­ing into the liv­ing area. Another stop fea­tured a res­i­dence with engi­neered “smart vents” that allow water to safely flow under­neath the structure’s first floor and equal­ize poten­tially dan­ger­ous pres­sures that could buckle the foundation.

At the end of the work­shop, local offi­cials left with increased knowl­edge about how to prop­erly retro­fit flood­prone struc­tures. Going for­ward, county part­ners plan to work with local munic­i­pal­i­ties to iden­tify and access fund­ing for ele­va­tion and flood­proof­ing projects and min­i­mize costs to prop­erty owners.

Addi­tional pre­sen­ta­tions by the Catskill Water­shed Cor­po­ra­tion, the NYS Divi­sion of Home­land Secu­rity and Emer­gency Ser­vices, and FEMA informed par­tic­i­pants about poten­tial fund­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties for ele­va­tion and flood­proof­ing projects. Pre­sen­ters walked through the appli­ca­tion process and gave advice on how to cre­ate a strong application.

Fund­ing for the work­shop was pro­vided by the New York City Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion.

A manager of a local bank branch shows Elevation and Floodproofing Workshop participants how they install the floodproofing barriers. Photo by Tim Koch.

The man­ager of a local bank branch shows Ele­va­tion and Flood­proof­ing Work­shop par­tic­i­pants how they install flood­proof­ing bar­ri­ers. Photo by Tim Koch.

Help Restore a Stream for Earth Day

Posted on: April 1st, 2019 by Leslie_Zucker

Trout Unlim­ited is look­ing for vol­un­teers to help plant trees for Earth Day.

The plant­ing will help to restore a dam­aged sec­tion of Wood­land Val­ley Creek, where a large stream restora­tion project was com­pleted by the Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram in 2018. The Catskill Moun­tains Chap­ter of Trout Unlim­ited (CMTU) is orga­niz­ing the tree plant­ing project along Wood­land Val­ley Road on Sat­ur­day, April 27, the Sat­ur­day after Earth Day.

When: Sat­ur­day, April 27, 2019

Time: 10:00AM – 2:00PM

Where: Meet at the junc­tion of Wilmont Way and Wood­land Val­ley Road in Phoeni­cia, NY, just past Wood­land Val­ley Campground.

Con­tact #: 845–802-3861 (Andrew Higgins)

Please Reg­is­ter Online (free):

We will be plant­ing native trees and shrubs along Wood­land Val­ley Creek, an impor­tant spawn­ing stream for brook, brown, and rain­bow trout. The plant­ing will help sta­bi­lize the stream­bank along the creek to reduce ero­sion, con­trol flood­ing, and pro­vide shade to keep the water cold and clean!

We are look­ing for at least a dozen vol­un­teers to help. You are not required to be a Trout Unlim­ited member.

Jobs include: coor­di­nat­ing vol­un­teers, plant­ing trees, water­ing, reg­is­tra­tion table. Please con­sider tak­ing one day out of the year to help ful­fill the mis­sion of Trout Unlimited.

Please join us and bring a friend. At the end of the plant­ing, CMTU will pro­vide pizza and drinks for all volunteers!

For more infor­ma­tion see the chap­ter web site OR con­tact:

2019 Stream Explorers Youth Adventure

Posted on: April 1st, 2019 by Leslie_Zucker


Reg­is­tra­tion is full! To be added to a wait­ing list, call Linda at (845) 688‑3047. We usu­ally have a few cancellations.

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 Project Funding Available

Posted on: March 20th, 2019 by Leslie_Zucker

The Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram announces the avail­abil­ity of fund­ing to imple­ment stream stew­ard­ship projects in the Ashokan Water­shed. Fund­ing is avail­able for stream restora­tion, stream-related infra­struc­ture improve­ment, plan­ning, flood haz­ard mit­i­ga­tion, research and mon­i­tor­ing, and edu­ca­tion projects. Pri­or­ity will be given to projects rec­om­mended in the AWSMP Action Plan and stream man­age­ment plans for the water­shed. Eli­gi­ble appli­cants include munic­i­pal­i­ties, non-profit orga­ni­za­tions, school dis­tricts, and aca­d­e­mic insti­tu­tions. For-profit firms are eli­gi­ble to apply in the research and mon­i­tor­ing cat­e­gory and for a spe­cial Request for Pro­pos­als to deliver a HEC-RAS Train­ing Work­shop for Cul­verts & Bridges. Awards will be dis­trib­uted on a rolling basis until the fund is depleted. A spe­cial lim­i­ta­tion is that all projects must be com­pleted by August 30, 2019. Approx­i­mately $150,000 is avail­able for award. Appli­ca­tions will be reviewed by the AWSMP Stake­holder Coun­cil on a monthly basis. Awards will be announced on April 26, 2019 for appli­ca­tions sub­mit­ted by April 12, 2019. For more infor­ma­tion and to down­load appli­ca­tion forms, visit the project fund­ing page at

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