Around the Watershed: News and Events

CSBI Spring ’17 Projects

Posted on: June 26th, 2017 by Leslie_Zucker

A report on spring stream buffer plant­i­ngs from Bobby Tay­lor of the Ulster County Soil & Water Con­ser­va­tion Dis­trict.…The Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram con­tin­ues to improve ripar­ian buffers in the Ashokan Water­shed with assis­tance from will­ing landown­ers through the Catskill Streams Buffer Ini­tia­tive (CSBI) Pro­gram under the Ulster County Soil & Water Con­ser­va­tion Dis­trict. Spring is often a busy plant­ing sea­son for improv­ing stream­side health through instal­la­tion of native plants in stream­side areas. Moist soils and cool tem­per­a­tures allow plants to estab­lish with less effort than in the sum­mer months.

Two projects, the Bushkill Bio­engi­neer­ing Project and the Native Ripar­ian Buffer Project at the Catskill Inter­pre­tive Cen­ter  in Mt. Trem­per received some addi­tional plant­i­ngs this spring through the CSBI program.

CIC-1 2017 CSBI Credit Bobby TaylorCIC-2 2017 CSBI Credit Bobby Taylor

At the Catskill Inter­pre­ta­tive Cen­ter, native silky dog­woods were har­vested from a healthy pop­u­la­tion grow­ing in a wet­land on the prop­erty. Each res­i­dent dog­wood shrub donated 3–4 stems that were cut into 2–3 foot long straight stakes, soaked over the week­end and dri­ven upright into the moist soil adja­cent to the creek, where they will sprout roots, then leaves, and even­tu­ally grow into shrubs within just a few sea­sons. This prac­tice known as “Live Stak­ing” takes advan­tage of a dog­woods nat­ural abil­ity to regen­er­ate from cut­tings. Over 150 stakes were installed along the creek upstream of the walk­ing bridge for vis­i­tors to enjoy.

Addi­tion­ally, the native wild­flower and pol­li­na­tor seed that was planted at the Catskill Inter­pre­ta­tive dur­ing late fall of 2016 failed to ger­mi­nate fully. Soil & Water staff were back out at the Inter­pre­ta­tive Cen­ter in late May of 2017 to re-work the soil and try again at estab­lish­ing a native pol­li­na­tor friendly wild­flower mix that both vis­i­tors to the cen­ter as well as winged pol­li­na­tor friends can enjoy. Given the late sea­son when seed was applied to the site, reg­u­lar water­ing will be nec­es­sary through­out the warmer sum­mer months.

Moran - 3 Credit Bobby Taylor

The Bushkill Bio­engi­neer­ing project that was installed and planted late last fall received an addi­tional 250 native stream­side trees and shrubs to enhance the ripar­ian area. Win­ter­berry, ser­vice­berry, shrub dog­woods, choke­ber­ries, birch and sycamore will com­ple­ment the tens of thou­sands of wil­lows and dog­woods that were planted last fall. The landown­ers are very happy so far with their newly installed buffer that was designed to sta­bi­lize stream­side prop­erty and enhance both in-stream and ripar­ian habi­tat. Staff from Ulster County Soil & Water con­tinue to work with the landown­ers of the bio­engi­neer­ing project to remove inva­sive species as they sprout and keep the plants watered to ensure project success.

Moran - 4


New Interns Hit the Field

Posted on: June 20th, 2017 by Leslie_Zucker

Saman­tha Kahl, AWSMP’s Tem­po­rary Water­shed Edu­ca­tor reports on train­ing for this year’s sea­sonal stream tech­ni­cians. The tech­ni­cians, and occa­sion­ally Sam, will be in the field sur­vey­ing Ashokan Reser­voir streams this sum­mer. In Sam’s words.…

I just spent five days with seven Water­shed Corps (WCC) interns train­ing under the super­vi­sion of Mark Vian, Emily Polin­sky, and Danyelle Davis of the NYC DEP Stream Man­age­ment Program.

The first three days of the Stream Man­age­ment train­ing was con­ducted in a class­room at Ulster County Com­mu­nity Col­lege (UCCC).  Mark and Emily pro­vided us a solid (and fun) aca­d­e­mic back­ground detail­ing water­shed his­tory, the impor­tance of stream mon­i­tor­ing, and var­i­ous tools and tech­niques used in the field. They are foun­tains of infor­ma­tion regard­ing the NYC Water­shed, mak­ing the aca­d­e­mic por­tion both inter­est­ing and exciting.

WCCC Training 2017_Credit Emily Polinsky

From Left to Right: Justin Alecca (Brown hat, pur­ple shirt), Saman­tha Kahl, Bren­dan Keat­ing, Aaron DePetris, Amanda Caban­il­las (crew leader), Brid­get Bromm (UCCC), Erica DePalma (SCA), Mark Vian, Travis Ferry (RNSMP), Court­ney Brill, Emily Polin­sky, Aimee Hartwig, Win­ston Gedicks.

Due to inclement weather, we lost one of our field train­ing days, but our fear­less lead­ers made the most of our remain­ing two days out in the field. We trav­eled to the Frost Val­ley YMCA where we accessed the West Branch of the Nev­ersink River for our sec­ond round of train­ing. Mark, Emily, and Danyelle, as well as sea­soned WCC intern Amanda Caban­il­las, rein­forced our aca­d­e­mic edu­ca­tion by get­ting us in the stream for visual assess­ments and con­duct­ing stream cross-sections using laser lev­els and sta­dia rods. We also trained on spe­cific com­puter soft­ware (River­Morph) that pro­duces a graph of the cross-section data col­lected; the soft­ware pro­vides a visual rep­re­sen­ta­tion of how the streambed looks if you were to cut the stream in half.

Provisional Data XS1 FVMF

A stream chan­nel cross-section.

The entire group is com­prised of intel­li­gent and ded­i­cated stu­dents from all back­grounds; each of them con­tribut­ing to the train­ing in their own amaz­ing way. A friend from the Round­out Nev­ersink Stream Pro­gram shared with us the ben­e­fits of Chaga mush­rooms and where to find them; a UCCC stu­dent shared his fly tying sto­ries with us; while oth­ers shared expe­ri­ences from their lives and their rea­sons for enter­ing the envi­ron­men­tal field. It was great to be in the field and work with stu­dents and pro­fes­sion­als learn­ing about geo­mor­phol­ogy, all of whom respected each other and gen­uinely cared about stream man­age­ment prac­tices. In my opin­ion, we all came out of the train­ing with the knowl­edge and field expe­ri­ence nec­es­sary to be suc­cess­ful in our desired fields.

Another Successful Family Fun and Fish Day

Posted on: May 23rd, 2017 by Brent Gotsch

IMG_2410   IMG_2403

AWSMP’s Fam­ily Fun and Fish Day! has been pop­u­lar since it began six years ago and this year was no excep­tion. About 20 fam­i­lies attended with chil­dren of var­i­ous ages to fish for free in the lake at the Ken­neth Wil­son State Camp­ground. Many of the par­tic­i­pants had never fished before today. Bluegill, pump­kin­seed, and cat­fish were some of the fish caught by anglers dur­ing the day. Bass were observed but were too timid to take a bite on anyone’s line. A big thank you goes out to our part­ners at the New York State Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion for pro­vid­ing fish­ing tackle and bait, and to the vol­un­teers from Trout Unlim­ited who pro­vided instruc­tion on every­thing from how to bait a hook to how to cast a line. We hope that you join us next year for this fun, fam­ily friendly event!

AWSMP Welcomes New Educator!

Posted on: May 15th, 2017 by Brent Gotsch


IMG_2374 reduced

AWSMP is pleased to intro­duce a new addi­tion to our team! Saman­tha Kahl has been hired by Cor­nell Coop­er­a­tive Exten­sion of Ulster County as a part-time Water­shed Edu­ca­tor work­ing with AWSMP through Novem­ber. She will be assist­ing with all aspects of our pro­gram­ming, includ­ing both youth and adult edu­ca­tion projects. Prior to work­ing with the AWSMP, Saman­tha worked for Cor­nell Coop­er­a­tive Exten­sion of Suf­folk County as a Water Qual­ity Tech­ni­cian where she uti­lized Geo­graphic Infor­ma­tion Sys­tems (GIS) com­puter soft­ware to cre­ate visu­ally appeal­ing maps for their marine fish­eries pro­gram. She also assisted with many events related to fish­eries and stormwa­ter man­age­ment edu­ca­tion. In her free time she enjoys tying fly fish­ing ties. Saman­tha is excited to be a part of our team and to learn more about our water­shed and fresh­wa­ter fisheries.

Family Fun and Fish Day returns for 2017!

Posted on: May 3rd, 2017 by Brent Gotsch

Fish­ing with the fam­ily is a great way to con­nect with each other and expe­ri­ence the great outdoors!

Back by pop­u­lar demand for a sixth year in a row, AWSMP in coop­er­a­tion with the New York State Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion (DEC) is host­ing “Fam­ily Fun & Fish Day” at Ken­neth Wil­son State Camp­ground located at 859 Wit­ten­berg Road, Mount Trem­per, NY on Sat­ur­day, May 20 from 11:00am to 1:30pm.

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

Reg­is­ter by May 18, 2017 in order to par­tic­i­pate. Reg­is­ter online now by click­ing here. For more infor­ma­tion on the event 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.

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, and arts and crafts under the pavil­ion start­ing at noon. Please let us know in advance if you have spe­cial needs related to the day’s activities.

Spring Bird Migration Underway

Posted on: April 26th, 2017 by Leslie_Zucker

Are you won­der­ing when you’ll hear the sweet song of the yel­low war­bler again? Check out the likely arrival date of your favorite feath­ered inhab­i­tant of the Ashokan water­shed at Cornell’s Bird­Cast web­page. (Yel­low war­blers are just begin­ning to return from their win­ter homes to breed in forests of the North­east!) If you really want to keep track of things, you can watch radar.

Accord­ing to Audubon edu­ca­tor Larry Fed­er­man, we can keep track of bird migra­tion by going to the National Weather Ser­vice website’s radar page and use the “Com­pos­ite Loop” fea­ture. If you look on less rainy evenings, you’ll see blue cir­cu­lar “blobs” expand­ing – that’s the radar echoes of migrat­ing birds! 

Larry advises that the best time for radar obser­va­tions is just after dark – our song­birds migrate at night so folks can see the blue cir­cu­lar forms widen and move to the north as night pro­gresses. Also, if you are inclined, go out­side and lis­ten for flight calls of the migrat­ing birds!

To view migrat­ing birds “in per­son”, the best time is at first light. The birds will be most active as they for­age for food to replen­ish what they’ve used up dur­ing the evening’s flight. Peo­ple should look for bud­ding trees and flow­ers that attract insects – that’s what the birds will be look­ing for.

In addi­tion to radar, new tech­nolo­gies such as tiny geolo­ca­tors are allow­ing researchers to track bird movements.


On this NEXRAD radar image from May 1, 2016, the bright green and yel­low swirls rep­re­sent pre­cip­i­ta­tion in storms and the blue blobs, clus­tered along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts, are mostly large num­bers of migra­tory birds. Image cour­tesy of the Bird­Cast project, whose work in the Gulf of Mex­ico region is funded by the South­ern Com­pany and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Volunteers Help to Restore Stony Clove Creek

Posted on: April 26th, 2017 by Leslie_Zucker

TU Stream Buffer Planting April 2017

About 30 vol­un­teers came out on Sat­ur­day to plant 800 trees, shrubs, and wil­lows along a restored sec­tion of chan­nel and hill­s­lope on the Stony Clove Creek at Wright Road. The event was orga­nized by Trout Unlim­ited with assis­tance from the Ulster County Soil & Water Con­ser­va­tion District’s Adam Doan. TU mem­bers from both the Catskill Moun­tain and Ashokan-Pepacton chap­ters par­tic­i­pated. The hard-working vol­un­teers planted all of the bare roots and live stakes in 2 hours — impres­sive! Adam says, “We really appre­ci­ate the vol­un­teer effort and the amount of work that was done in a short time. It’s nice to know we’ll have a shared sense of own­er­ship of the project as we watch the for­est return.”

Native veg­e­ta­tion is a crit­i­cal com­po­nent of the stream restora­tion project that will help to sta­bi­lize soils that were con­tribut­ing to the hill­s­lope fail­ure. The plant­ing recon­nects the hill­s­lope with the sur­round­ing forested stream corridor.

The woody plants will even­tu­ally shade the stream and cool water tem­per­a­tures; cold water is needed by trout.


US-India Exchange in Mt. Tremper

Posted on: April 24th, 2017 by Leslie_Zucker

A del­e­ga­tion of senior level For­est Super­vi­sors from India’s state agen­cies will be in Mount Trem­per to give a pre­sen­ta­tion on for­est man­age­ment and water for drink­ing, agri­cul­ture, and hydro-power in India. The pre­sen­ta­tion will be on Wednes­day, April 26, at 6:30 PM at the Catskill Inter­pre­tive Center—5096 Route 28, Mount Trem­per, NY. This spe­cial pre­sen­ta­tion is open to the pub­lic, free of charge and any­one who is inter­ested in this unique per­spec­tive on for­est lands and pub­lic water sup­ply in India is encour­aged to attend.

The del­e­ga­tion will be vis­it­ing the AWSMP and tour­ing sev­eral Ashokan Water­shed sites that fea­ture reveg­e­ta­tion of stream cor­ri­dors on Thursday.

For more infor­ma­tion about the pub­lic pre­sen­ta­tion at the Catskill Inter­pre­tive Cen­ter, please con­tact the Catskill Cen­ter at 845–586-2611 or

Stream Explorers, Prepare for Adventure!

Posted on: April 12th, 2017 by Leslie_Zucker

The Stream Explor­ers youth con­fer­ence will run con­cur­rently with the Ashokan Water­shed Con­fer­ence from 9 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. on Sat­ur­day, April 29 at The Ashokan Cen­ter, 477 Beaverkill Road, Olive­bridge, NY. Reg­is­ter online or call 845–688-3047.

While par­ents and guardians attend the main con­fer­ence, youth ages 8–14 are invited to attend Stream Explor­ers and have a fun edu­ca­tional expe­ri­ence of their own.

Expe­ri­enced edu­ca­tors with Cor­nell Coop­er­a­tive Exten­sion of Ulster County will lead the youth con­fer­ence. Morn­ing activ­i­ties include using a stream table to learn how water shapes our land­scapes and how manip­u­lat­ing stream chan­nels changes the land around them. Fol­low­ing a mid­morn­ing snack, youth will explore the stream­side prop­erty of the Ashokan Cen­ter and search for macroin­ver­te­brates that will be care­fully col­lected and iden­ti­fied. Lunch will be from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. fol­lowed by a hike that leads to Cathe­dral Gorge on the Ashokan Cen­ter grounds. The group will make stops on the hike to explore envi­ron­men­tal top­ics and observe plants and ani­mals along the trail. Youth activ­i­ties will end at the same time as adult activ­i­ties and par­ents and guardians will be reunited with their chil­dren in the Eso­pus Lodge (where the main con­fer­ence is held).

The con­fer­ence fee is $10 for adults and chil­dren attend for free. Space is lim­ited and early reg­is­tra­tion is encour­aged. Reg­is­ter by April 21.

The con­fer­ence is orga­nized by the Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram (AWSMP) with sup­port from the New York City Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion. The AWSMP is a part­ner­ship between Cor­nell Coop­er­a­tive Exten­sion of Ulster County, Ulster County Soil and Water Con­ser­va­tion Dis­trict, and NYC Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Protection.

For more infor­ma­tion on Stream Explor­ers at the Ashokan Water­shed Con­fer­ence, call the AWSMP office at 845–688-3047.


Do a Good Turn for Earth on Earth Day

Posted on: April 12th, 2017 by Leslie_Zucker

Vol­un­teer for a Trout Unlim­ited tree plant­ing on the Stony Clove Creek on Earth Day, April 22. The plant­ing is orga­nized but the Catskill Moun­tains Trout Unlim­ited (CMTU) chap­ter in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the AWSMP and the Arbor Day Foun­da­tion. CMTU and vol­un­teers will be plant­ing native trees and shrubs along Stony Clove Creek at the Wright Road stream restora­tion site upstream from Phoeni­cia, NY. CMTU’s goal for the project is to restore veg­e­ta­tion along crit­i­cal cold­wa­ter streams in the Catskill Moun­tain region. The plant­ing will help shore up the hill­side along a sec­tion of the creek that AWMSP repaired in 2016. The plant­ing runs from 10:00 AM — 2:00 PM. For more infor­ma­tion and to reg­is­ter for the event visit