Around the Watershed: News and Events

Views from the Watershed Bus Tour

Posted on: July 19th, 2019 by Tim Koch

On Sat­ur­day, July 13th, AWSMP par­tic­i­pated in the Views From the Water­shed Bus TourPar­tic­i­pants from New York City and water­shed towns stopped at dif­fer­ent loca­tions in the Ashokan and Pepacton water­sheds dur­ing the day long excur­sion. Guest speak­ers dis­cussed the social his­tory of the water­shed, recre­ational oppor­tu­ni­ties, and other aspects of the West of Hud­son water sup­ply system.

At the Main Street bridge in Phoeni­cia, AWSMP Stream Edu­ca­tor Tim Koch talked about sed­i­ment and tur­bid­ity projects that have been com­pleted in the Stony Clove Creek water­shed. There was also dis­cus­sion about the flood haz­ard mit­i­ga­tion project com­pleted at the bridge fol­low­ing Trop­i­cal Storm Irene in 2011.

The group gath­ered under the shade of a tree to escape the sun. Despite the heat, every­one had a great time and even man­aged to sneak in a prac­ti­cal joke. Tour orga­nizer, Lize Mogel, instructed par­tic­i­pants to boo and hiss when Tim said the word “tur­bid­ity” to empha­size the detri­men­tal impact that tur­bid­ity and sus­pended sed­i­ment can have on the water supply.

A sec­ond bus tour is sched­uled for August 3rd, 2019. AWSMP’s Aaron Ben­nett will dis­cuss flood haz­ard mit­i­ga­tion. For more infor­ma­tion and to pur­chase tick­ets for the August Views From the Water­shed Bus Tour, click here. The bus tours are funded by a Water­shed Edu­ca­tion Grant from the Catskill Water­shed Corporation.


New Event Series — Science in the Catskills

Posted on: July 16th, 2019 by Leslie_Zucker

The Catskill Sci­ence Col­lab­o­ra­tive is spon­sor­ing three pub­lic events this sum­mer and fall for learn­ing more about the sci­ence of the Catskills. The events are: Fish Sci­ence at the Roscoe Beer Com­pany, Rock Sci­ence at Sloan Gorge Pre­serve, and Alien Invaders Strike the Catskills! Sound like fun! Reg­is­tra­tion is required. The AWSMP par­tic­i­pates in the Catskill Sci­ence Col­lab­o­ra­tive, which is a pro­gram of the Cary Insti­tute. For more infor­ma­tion and to reg­is­ter visit

See the event brochure: Catskill Sci­ence Col­lab­o­ra­tive Events

Stream Snorkeling Returns!

Posted on: July 16th, 2019 by Leslie_Zucker

Snorkel in the Eso­pus Creek and dis­cover the under­wa­ter world of streams! Chil­dren at least 9 years old or enter­ing 4th grade and adult fam­ily mem­bers can attend a one-hour snor­kel­ing ses­sion in July, or a full day snor­kel­ing and stream study event in August. The July dates are Fri­day, July 12, 19, and 26 — reg­is­ter for one hour from 9:30–10:30 or 10:45–11:45. Attend a full-day of stream activ­i­ties from 9:30–4:00 on Fri­day, August 16.

All snor­kel­ing pro­grams are held at the Emer­son Resort & Spa, 5340 NY-28, Mt Trem­per, NY. All pro­grams are free for Ashokan Reser­voir water­shed res­i­dents (towns of Shan­daken, Olive, Wood­stock, and Hur­ley) and Emer­son Resort guests!

To reg­is­ter for a snor­kel­ing ses­sion in July, call the Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram office at (845) 688‑3047 and ask for Linda. Reg­is­ter online for the all-day snor­kel­ing and stream stud­ies event on August 16 at: or call the stream pro­gram office.

Please remem­ber to bring a change of clothes, a swim suit, a towel and old sneak­ers or water shoes (no open-toed shoes) that can get wet. You should also bring sun screen and bug repel­lant if needed. Other wise, every­thing else will be provided.

The event is offered by Cor­nell Coop­er­a­tive Exten­sion of Ulster County work­ing with the Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram. See an infor­ma­tional video on the snor­kel­ing pro­gram at:

Stream Snorkeling in the Esopus Creek

Reg­is­ter now for stream snorkeling!

Listen to Outdoor Guides of the Catskills

Posted on: July 8th, 2019 by Leslie_Zucker

Lis­ten to an audio record­ing of the Phoeni­cia Library Jerry Bartlett Angling Collection’s lat­est pro­gram on out­door guides of the Catskills called the “Adven­ture Experts.” The pro­gram fea­tures a pan­elist of local guides and an intro­duc­tion by AWSMP Stake­holder Coun­cil mem­ber Mark Loete. The pro­gram was devel­oped by Beth Water­man for the Phoeni­cia Library and recorded by Sil­ver Hol­low Audio.

Hear about the impor­tance of pro­tected nat­ural resources to the guid­ing indus­try, the his­tory of guid­ing, and what to look for in a guide for out­door adven­ture in the Ashokan water­shed and Catskills. Pan­elists include:

Will Soter, the co-founder of Upstate Adven­ture Guides
Hank Rope, owner of Big Indian Guide Ser­vice
Cliff Schwark, founder of the Catskill Mt. Chap­ter of Trout Unlim­ited
Patti Rudge, first woman to serve as full time NYS For­est Ranger

This event on May 11, 2019 was spon­sored by the Jerry Bartlett Angling Col­lec­tion and made pos­si­ble with funds from the Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Program.

Esopus Creek News Summer Edition

Posted on: July 3rd, 2019 by Leslie_Zucker

The sum­mer 2019 edi­tion of AWSMP’s newslet­ter, the Eso­pus Creek News is now avail­able. This edi­tion fea­tures arti­cles on the impor­tance of native plants along streams and NYC’s drink­ing water test­ing pro­gram. The black bear is pro­filed in our stream cor­ri­dor wildlife seg­ment. A Field Notes sec­tion updates on stream projects and other stream news from around the watershed.

Are you a res­i­dent or fre­quent vis­i­tor of the Ashokan Reser­voir water­shed? Have a print ver­sion of the Eso­pus Creeks News mailed to you, just send your name and address to

Red Bedrock Upper Esopus Creek

What makes Catskills bedrock red? Read the Eso­pus Creek News to find out.

Flooding Happens: Understanding How Floods Happen and How to Be More Flood Resilient

Posted on: June 13th, 2019 by Brent Gotsch
Flooded Field Crops in Schoharie County, NY. Photo by FEMA.

Flooded Field Crops in Schoharie County, NY. Photo by FEMA.


Flood­ing hap­pens. In recent years, more fre­quent and more intense pre­cip­i­ta­tion events have been observed. This is espe­cially true in the NYC Water­shed area of Ulster County, which suf­fered dev­as­tat­ing dam­age dur­ing Trop­i­cal Storm Irene in 2011. If you own or rent land any­where in the county and are con­cerned about flood­ing, then join Cor­nell Coop­er­a­tive Exten­sion of Ulster County (CCEUC) on Wednes­day, July 10 from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Ulster County Fair­grounds (249 Lib­er­tyville Road, New Paltz) in the Youth Building.

Visit for reg­is­tra­tion and the most up-to-date infor­ma­tion. The cost is $20 per per­son. Lunch and trans­porta­tion to a farm visit will be provided.

Pre­sen­ters will dis­cuss flood­ing and its impacts on home prop­er­ties as well as agri­cul­tural land. Par­tic­i­pants will learn how to deter­mine if their prop­erty lies in a flood zone, what that means for their land or prop­erty, and pos­si­ble mit­i­ga­tion strate­gies. Ashokan water­shed res­i­dents con­cerned about pro­tect­ing their prop­er­ties from flood­ing will learn from regional experts in the field. The Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Program’s Cer­ti­fied Flood­plain Man­ager, Brent Gotsch, will start off the pro­gram with an intro­duc­tion to deter­min­ing flood risk on your prop­erty and how to under­stand flood insur­ance rate maps and flood insur­ance studies.

The pro­gram, while applic­a­ble to those with gen­eral con­cerns about flood­ing, will have an agri­cul­tural focus. Many parcels in the Ashokan water­shed have been his­tor­i­cally used for agri­cul­ture and have the poten­tial to be used for agri­cul­ture again if proper plan­ning and land use con­sid­er­a­tions are taken.

For more infor­ma­tion, call Jim O’Connell at 340‑3990 ext. 390, ore­mail

Cor­nell Coop­er­a­tive Exten­sion of Ulster County pro­vides equal pro­gram and employ­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties.  Please con­tact the office at 845–340-3990 if you have any spe­cial needs.

Another Successful Family Fun and Fish Day

Posted on: May 30th, 2019 by Brent Gotsch
Reeling in a fish at Family Fun and Fish Day 2019. Photo by Amanda Cabanillas.

Reel­ing in a fish at Fam­ily Fun and Fish Day 2019. Photo by Amanda Cabanillas.


AWSMP held another suc­cess­ful Fam­ily Fun and Fish Day on Sun­day, May 19 at Ken­neth Wil­son Camp­ground. AWSMP col­lab­o­rates each year with the New York State Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion (NYSDEC) to allow par­tic­i­pants to fish with­out a fish­ing license. NYSDEC also pro­vides fish­ing poles, tackle, and bait to par­tic­i­pants. Vol­un­teers from the Catskill Moun­tain Chap­ter and Ashokan-Pepacton Chap­ter of Trout Unlim­ited attended and helped assist novice anglers with learn­ing how to prop­erly bait hooks, cast lines, and prop­erly release fish back into water. AWSMP staff pro­vided logis­ti­cal orga­ni­za­tion for the event and served a bar­be­cue lunch. The entire event was free of charge with the excep­tion of a nom­i­nal park­ing fee for the campground.

The event had 88 peo­ple attend, many of whom had never fished before. The weather held out and the fish were bit­ing with sev­eral peo­ple catch­ing a vari­ety of sun­fish. AWSMP would like to thank the staff of Ken­neth Wil­son Camp­ground as well as our friends from our local Trout Unlim­ited Chap­ters and NYSDEC for help­ing to put on a suc­cess­ful event. We can’t wait for next year!


Catching a sunfish at Family Fun and Fish Day 2019. Photo by Ed Ostapczuk.

Catch­ing a sun­fish at Fam­ily Fun and Fish Day 2019. Photo by Ed Ostapczuk.


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.