Around the Watershed: News and Events

Freshwater Snorkeling and Stream Study for Families

Posted on: July 18th, 2018 by Brent Gotsch

Snorkeling Flyer_cropped

Reg­is­tra­tion is full! The AWSMP will be offer­ing this pop­u­lar pro­gram again in 2019. The Fresh­wa­ter Snor­kel­ing and Stream Study for Fam­i­lies event will be held on August 10, 2018 from 10:00am to 4:00pm at the Emer­son Resort and Spa in Mount Trem­per, NY.

Interns Help with Stream Assessment and Monitoring

Posted on: July 18th, 2018 by Brent Gotsch

There’s a lot of work being done this sum­mer at AWSMP and we use all the help we can get! Thank­fully, we have an arrange­ment with SUNY Ulster and the NYC Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion to hire interns to help with field work and other essen­tial tasks. This year we are proud to have both Justin Alecca and Kait­lyn Per­rone as our sum­mer interns.

Justin and Kait­lyn help mon­i­tor com­pleted stream projects. This includes sur­vey­ing the chan­nel and sam­pling stream sed­i­ment. They use sur­vey equip­ment and Global Posi­tion­ing Sys­tem (GPS) devices to record mea­sure­ments of the stream. These tasks are repeated every few years and after floods to track changes and deter­mine if a com­pleted stream project is suc­cess­ful in its goal to sta­bi­lize the stream.

One type of chan­nel sur­vey, called a cross sec­tion, mea­sures how deep the stream bed is at a par­tic­u­lar point. Sed­i­ment sam­pling involves mea­sur­ing the size of dif­fer­ent sed­i­ment par­ti­cles to deter­mine what size par­ti­cles the stream is mov­ing. Steeper more pow­er­ful streams tend to move larger, heav­ier sed­i­ment par­ti­cles. Lon­gi­tu­di­nal pro­files char­ac­ter­ize the aver­age stream slope and depth of rif­fles, pools, runs and glides and is used to delin­eate stream types. Dras­tic changes such as increased build-up of sed­i­ment (also known as aggra­da­tion) or severe deep­en­ing of the stream bed (also known as degra­da­tion) can be evi­dence of insta­bil­ity that indi­cates a need for stream work. 

AWSMP Summer Interns Justin Alecca (left) and Kaitlyn Perrone (middle) help AWSMP Watershed Technician Tiffany Runge (right) run a cross section along the Stony Clove Creek.

AWSMP sum­mer interns Justin Alecca (left) and Kait­lyn Per­rone (mid­dle) help SWCD Water­shed Tech­ni­cian Tiffany Runge (right) run a cross-section along the Stony Clove Creek.


There are seven stream restora­tion projects that will be sur­veyed this year. After chan­nel sur­vey are com­pleted, this busy team will move on to veg­e­ta­tion mon­i­tor­ing at numer­ous ripar­ian buffer plant­ing sites. They will wrap up the sum­mer field sea­son with stream assess­ments in Lost Clove and Hatch­ery Hol­low near Oliverea.

Justin is a stu­dent at SUNY Ulster who recently became a crim­i­nal jus­tice major. He learned about the intern­ship oppor­tu­nity through his biol­ogy teacher. His favorite part of the intern­ship is being able to gain field expe­ri­ence while learn­ing about streams. He has one more year at SUNY Ulster and would ulti­mately like to become a game war­den in either Maine or Colorado.

Kait­lyn is a recent grad­u­ate of SUNY Ulster who majored in ecol­ogy. She learned about the intern­ship through her adviser. Her favorite part of the intern­ship is being out­doors and walk­ing through the stream, since you can learn so much by being immersed in it. She plans to take a semes­ter off and then trans­fer to a 4-year col­lege to com­plete her bachelor’s degree in either ecol­ogy or biology.

We thank both Justin and Kait­lyn for all their hard work this sum­mer and wish them the very best with their future plans and careers!

Esopus Creek News Summer Edition!

Posted on: July 16th, 2018 by Leslie_Zucker

The sum­mer edi­tion of Eso­pus Creek News can now be viewed online. This edi­tion cov­ers Wood­land Creek a trib­u­tary to the Eso­pus Creek in the Town of Shan­daken. Arti­cles cover find­ings of the new Wood­land Creek Stream Man­age­ment Plan and a large stream restora­tion project planned this sum­mer for Wood­land Creek. The newslet­ter reports on “Field Notes” from around the water­shed, fish of the Eso­pus Creek, and a major bridge replace­ment planned for Route 28 over the Eso­pus Creek in Mt. Trem­per. Check the newslet­ter for stream pro­gram activ­i­ties and upcom­ing events like the Fresh­wa­ter Snor­kel­ing and Stream Study Event! To receive a color newslet­ter in the mail, con­tact us with your name and address.

CWC Extends Septic Repair Program throughout Watershed

Posted on: July 13th, 2018 by Leslie_Zucker

Home and small busi­ness own­ers through­out the New York City Catskill-Delaware Water­shed may now be eli­gi­ble for funds to repair or replace failed sep­tic sys­tems no mat­ter their dis­tance from a watercourse.

The Catskill Water­shed Corp. (CWC) Board of Direc­tors on July 9 removed the require­ment that a sep­tic sys­tem be within 700 feet of a water­course. The dis­tance require­ment had been extended sev­eral times since the CWC’s Sep­tic Reha­bil­i­ta­tion and Replace­ment Pro­gram began in 1995, and now is removed entirely.

The res­i­den­tial sep­tic repair pro­gram reim­burses home­own­ers 100% of the eli­gi­ble costs of sep­tic repairs if they are per­ma­nent res­i­dents, and 60% if they are part-time res­i­dents. The Small Busi­ness Sep­tic Pro­gram pays 75% of the cost of such repairs for busi­nesses employ­ing 100 or fewer people.

As of June 30, the res­i­den­tial pro­gram had addressed 5,368 failed sep­tic sys­tems in the West-of-Hudson Water­shed. Twenty-four busi­nesses have par­tic­i­pated in the small busi­ness program.

Both pro­grams require that sep­tic sys­tems pre-date Novem­ber 2, 1995. Own­ers of sys­tems installed since that date are eli­gi­ble for the CWC’s Sep­tic Main­te­nance Pro­gram which pays half the cost of pump­ing and inspect­ing sys­tems every three years. More than 2,000 home­own­ers have ben­e­fit­ted from the main­te­nance program.

For infor­ma­tion on the CWC’s sep­tic assis­tance pro­grams visit where you can find appli­ca­tion forms (Pro­grams) and view a short video of a sep­tic instal­la­tion project (Resources).

The CWC is a non-profit, Local Devel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion respon­si­ble for sev­eral envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion, eco­nomic devel­op­ment and edu­ca­tion pro­grams in the New York City Water­shed West of the Hud­son River.

Help Trout Beat the Heat

Posted on: June 29th, 2018 by Leslie_Zucker

With high tem­per­a­tures fore­cast this week­end through next week, it’s impor­tant for anglers to remem­ber that cold­wa­ter fish like Eso­pus Creek trout expe­ri­ence seri­ous phys­i­cal stress when­ever water tem­per­a­tures climb above 70 degrees Fahren­heit. Fish­eries man­agers at the NYS Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion (DEC) are offer­ing angling tips on how to help trout and salmon beat the heat.

Heat stressed fish often seek pock­ets of cold water cre­ated by upwelling ground­wa­ter, small feeder streams, or water released from deep reser­voirs. These refuges allow trout to avoid or recover from poten­tially fatal lev­els of heat stress. You can help by tak­ing the fol­low­ing pre­cau­tions dur­ing your warm weather fish­ing trips.

  • Avoid catch and release fish­ing for heat stressed trout. Trout already weak­ened by heat stress are at risk of death no mat­ter how care­fully they are handled.
  • Don’t dis­turb trout where they have gath­ered in unusu­ally high num­bers. Because these fish are likely to be suf­fer­ing from heat stress and seek­ing relief, respon­si­ble anglers will not take unfair advan­tage of their distress.
  • Fish Early. Stream tem­per­a­tures are at their coolest in the early morning.
  • Go to Plan B! Have an alter­nate fish­ing plan ready in case water tem­per­a­tures are too high at your intended des­ti­na­tion. Con­sider fish­ing a water­body that is less prone to heat stress or fish­ing for a more heat tol­er­ant species like small­mouth bass.


When fish­ing tail­wa­ters, such as those below New York City water sup­ply reser­voirs, remem­ber that the cool­ing influ­ence of reser­voir releases will not extend as far down­stream dur­ing peri­ods of intense heat. By pay­ing atten­tion to water tem­per­a­tures and adapt­ing fish­ing strate­gies to chang­ing con­di­tions, anglers can help New York State’s trout and salmon beat the heat.

Anglers can check stream water tem­per­a­tures on the Eso­pus Creek at the USGS Cold­brook gage. A graph avail­able online shows daily fluc­tu­a­tions in water tem­per­a­ture (see an exam­ple below).

Graph of water temperatures

Public Comment Period Open for New Flood Risk Documents

Posted on: June 29th, 2018 by Brent Gotsch

The New York State Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion (DEC) is now accept­ing pub­lic com­ment on two flood-risk man­age­ment doc­u­ments. The “State Flood Risk Man­age­ment Guid­ance” doc­u­ment and the “Guid­ance for Smart Growth Pub­lic Infra­struc­ture Assess­ment” doc­u­ment can be down­loaded and reviewed by vis­it­ing the NYSDEC web­page ded­i­cated to the Com­mu­nity Risk and Resiliency Act (CRRA). The dead­line for pub­lic com­ments is August 20. Com­ments should be sub­mit­ted by email to and include “CRRA Com­ments” in the sub­ject line or by mail­ing writ­ten com­ments to DEC, Office of Cli­mate Change, 625 Broad­way, Albany, NY 12233–1030.

The guid­ance doc­u­ments describe how sea-level rise and river­ine flood­ing pro­jec­tions adopted by NYSDEC in 2017 should be incor­po­rated into project design in spec­i­fied facility-siting, per­mit­ting, and fund­ing pro­grams. The CRRA Act seeks to address issues related to cli­mate change in New York State by adopt­ing offi­cial sea-level rise pro­jec­tions; con­sider sea-level rise, storm surge and flood­ing for appli­cants of cer­tain pro­grams; imple­ment smart growth pub­lic infra­struc­ture pol­icy; pro­vide guid­ance on nat­ural resiliency mea­sures; and develop model local laws con­cern­ing cli­mate risk.

Help Fight the Spread of Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

Posted on: June 15th, 2018 by Brent Gotsch
White Woolly egg ovisacs are an indicator for hemlock woodly adelgid infestation

White woolly egg ovisacs are an indi­ca­tor of hem­lock woolly adel­gid infestation


Hem­lock Woolly Adel­gid (HWA) is a non-native inva­sive insect that has killed mil­lions of hem­lock trees across the east­ern United States. In recent years it has been dev­as­tat­ing in the Catskill Moun­tain region and threat­ens not only hem­lock trees, but plants and ani­mals that rely on hem­locks for habitat.

Hem­locks are an impor­tant tree bor­der­ing moun­tain streams. Their branches and the spread and dis­tri­b­u­tion of nee­dles keep most of the sun­light from reach­ing the ground, cre­at­ing shade and dras­ti­cally reduc­ing stream tem­per­a­tures. Trout and other native species of fish rely on cold moun­tain streams to survive.

Researchers from Cor­nell University’s Depart­ment of Nat­ural Resources are using bio­log­i­cal con­trols such as preda­tor insects to help stop the spread of HWA. Groups such as Catskill Moun­tain­keeper and the Catskill Regional Inva­sive Species Part­ner­ship (CRISP) are pro­vid­ing edu­ca­tion and out­reach to let peo­ple know about the dan­gers HWA poses to forests and streams.

Be sure to watch this video from Catskill Moun­tain­keeper and learn more about what you can do to help stop the spread of this seri­ous for­est pest.

Stream Champions Reach Hundreds

Posted on: June 13th, 2018 by Leslie_Zucker

Hope­fully you met a “Catskill Stream Cham­pion” on a hik­ing trail last year. Catskill Stream Cham­pi­ons are 4-H youth, aged 11–16, who deliv­ered com­mu­nity pre­sen­ta­tions and reached hun­dreds through exhibits and direct edu­ca­tion about Catskill streams. The pro­gram pilot ended this spring.

CSC 4-H Witt

CCE Youth Edu­ca­tor Matthew Helf­frich and sev­eral Catskill Stream Cham­pi­ons on an edu­ca­tional hike in the Slide Moun­tain Wilder­ness Area, 2017.

The Stream Cham­pi­ons com­pleted four edu­ca­tional hikes to learn more about streams and Leave No Trace prin­ci­ples. While on the hikes, they quizzed and inter­viewed other hik­ers encoun­tered on trails. Quiz ques­tions tested hik­ers about their knowl­edge of Catskills streams. The youth found trail users they encoun­tered to be quite knowl­edge — cor­rectly answer­ing 63% of quiz ques­tions! One ques­tion not every­one got right was “What per­cent of NYC drink­ing water comes from Catskill streams?” (the cor­rect answer is about 90–95%).

The Stream Cham­pi­ons them­selves learned about streams. An eval­u­a­tion car­ried out by Cor­nell Coop­er­a­tive Exten­sion edu­ca­tors found the Cham­pi­ons went from 44% right on a test about stream health to 91% right by pro­gram end.

CSC Career Panel

The pro­gram wrapped up with a career explo­ration day.

The Catskill Stream Cham­pi­ons project was orga­nized and deliv­ered by 4-H Youth Edu­ca­tors at Cor­nell Coop­er­a­tive Exten­sion (CCE) of Ulster County. The projects was funded through a grant from the Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram. Grant fund­ing is pro­vided by the NYC Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Protection.

Woodland Valley Creek Stream Management Plan Now Available for Free Download

Posted on: June 4th, 2018 by Tim Koch

The AWSMP has released a new stream man­age­ment plan for Wood­land Val­ley Creek. Stream man­age­ment plans (SMPs) are one of the most valu­able resources that the AWSMP cre­ates for stream­side res­i­dents and com­mu­ni­ties. They con­sist of detailed infor­ma­tion about stream con­di­tions as well as rec­om­men­da­tions that landown­ers can use to make effec­tive and sus­tain­able stream man­age­ment decisions.

Wood­land Val­ley Creek’s 6.3 mile long main­stem is divided into seven man­age­ment units (MUs) and each MU has its own chap­ter. To put the SMP to use for you, sim­ply down­load the doc­u­ment, deter­mine which MU you call home (see the map below), nav­i­gate to that chap­ter and start reading.

Woodland Management Units

Wood­land Val­ley Creek’s seven man­age­ment units.


Each MU chap­ter dis­cuses the fol­low­ing top­ics in great detail: flood threats, bank ero­sion that is encroach­ing on pri­vate or pub­lic prop­erty, inva­sive species, at-risk infra­struc­ture, and his­toric chan­nel con­di­tions that show how the stream has moved across the val­ley floor over time. (See the image below that shows how Wood­land Val­ley Creek in MU-5 has moved, or “avulsed” since 1959.) Each MU chap­ter has a foot by foot descrip­tion of stream fea­tures. These sec­tions read like a travel book. Along the way, points of inter­est and con­cern are dis­cussed in detail as well as the com­plex processes that have shaped the cur­rent stream chan­nel. It’s like tak­ing a walk­ing tour with your own per­sonal stream expert.

MU-5-e1528137993773 (1)

Landown­ers are encour­aged to con­sult the SMP for rec­om­mended actions in their spe­cific sec­tion of stream. Typ­i­cal rec­om­men­da­tion strate­gies include: sta­bi­liz­ing severe bank ero­sion sites, improv­ing road-stream cross­ings, and restor­ing ripar­ian veg­e­ta­tion. Wood­land Creek landown­ers can receive free assis­tance with restor­ing ripar­ian veg­e­ta­tion through the Catskill Streams Buffer Ini­tia­tive (CSBI) at the AWSMP. Landown­ers and resource man­agers can sched­ule a free site con­sul­ta­tion with SWCD by call­ing (845) 688‑3047.

The AWSMP pro­vides fund­ing to munic­i­pal­i­ties for stream projects that imple­ment stream man­age­ment plan recommendations.

To obtain a copy of the Wood­land Creek Stream Man­age­ment Plan, go to

AWSMP Celebrating National Outdoors Day on June 9

Posted on: June 4th, 2018 by Brent Gotsch

AWSMP will be at the Catskill Inter­pre­tive Cen­ter (CIC) on Sat­ur­day, June 9 from 10:00am to 3:00pm to cel­e­brate National Get Out­doors Day. This is one of many events held through­out the state as part of the State of New York’s Out­door Adven­ture Ini­tia­tive. This is a free, open-house style event where vis­i­tors will be able to try out out­door recre­ational activ­i­ties and learn tech­niques from NYS Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion and NYS Parks staff. AWSMP will have a table with pro­gram lit­er­a­ture and our flood­plain model to teach vis­i­tors about stream sci­ence and flood­ing. A more detailed sched­ule on what activ­i­ties will be pre­sented at the CIC can be found here.