Around the Watershed: News and Events

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.

Another Successful Family Fun and Fish Day

Posted on: May 23rd, 2017 by Brent Gotsch

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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


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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.

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

Stream Management Funding Available

Posted on: March 21st, 2017 by Leslie_Zucker

The AWSMP is accept­ing appli­ca­tions for stream man­age­ment projects in the Ashokan water­shed. Fund­ing pri­or­i­ties include projects that improve water qual­ity and enhance stream sta­bil­ity; pro­tect or improve stream infra­struc­ture; enhance stream access and recre­ation; plan and imple­ment flood haz­ard mit­i­ga­tion; and increase pub­lic knowl­edge, skills and infor­ma­tion about stream stew­ard­ship. Research and mon­i­tor­ing projects will be funded through a sep­a­rate request for pro­pos­als to be issued in June.

Eli­gi­ble appli­cants include local, county, state or fed­eral gov­ern­ment agen­cies; 501©3 orga­ni­za­tions; and sec­ondary school dis­tricts, col­leges, or uni­ver­si­ties. For-profit activ­i­ties are not eli­gi­ble for funding.

Appli­ca­tions must be sub­mit­ted to the pro­gram office by 4:30pm, Mon­day, April 17, 2017. For appli­ca­tion mate­ri­als, visit the web­site

Fund­ing for the Stream Man­age­ment Imple­men­ta­tion Pro­gram is pro­vided by the NYC Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion and admin­is­tered by Cor­nell Coop­er­a­tive Exten­sion of Ulster County.

“Big Night” Amphibian Migration Saturday?

Posted on: February 24th, 2017 by Leslie_Zucker

With the snow pack sat­u­rated on Ashokan Water­shed moun­tain­sides, we may be primed for a snowmelt event that fills small wood­land pools and chan­nels. Small wood­land pools are prime habi­tat for amphib­ian breed­ing. In early spring, after the ground has started to thaw, species like spot­ted sala­man­der and wood frog emerge from under­ground win­ter shel­ters in the for­est and walk over­land to breed­ing pools. Accord­ing to the NYSDEC Hud­son River Estu­ary Pro­gram, in our region, this migra­tion occurs on rainy nights when the night air tem­per­a­ture is above 40F. When these con­di­tions align just so, there can be explo­sive (“big night”) migra­tions, with hun­dreds of amphib­ians on the move. Cur­rently, the Sat­ur­day fore­cast includes rain dur­ing the day and into the evening, with tem­per­a­tures stay­ing above 40F after nightfall.

Dri­vers are encour­aged to pro­ceed with cau­tion or avoid travel on the first warm, rainy evenings of the sea­son. Amphib­ians come out after night­fall and are slow mov­ing; mor­tal­ity can be high even on low-traffic roads. You can help by telling the NYSDEC when and where you see migra­tions of wood­land pool amphib­ians. To learn more, visit DEC’s Amphib­ian Migra­tion and Road Cross­ings web­page, which includes safety infor­ma­tion for vol­un­teers and an amphib­ian iden­ti­fi­ca­tion guide.