Broadstreet Hollow Creek is a small headwater stream originating in the Catskill Mountain Town of Lexington in Greene County, and flowing south through a narrow valley, through the Town of Shandaken in Ulster County, where it joins Upper Esopus Creek just a few hundred meters below where the Shandaken Tunnel discharges Schoharie Reservoir water into the Ashokan Watershed. Though the stream is small relative to other tributaries in the Catskills — its drainage area is approximately 9.5 square miles, and the main stem along the road is less than 4 miles long — for the residents of the Broadstreet Hollow valley, the stream has an immense impact on quality of life, providing great value as well as challenges.
It is believed that Broadstreet Hollow was named after Major John Bradstreet, a commissioned officer in the English Army during the French and Indian War, who is best remembered for successfully attacking Fort Frontenac in Kingston, Canada. Stone quarries were scattered throughout the Broadstreet Hollow valley and operated mostly in the early 1900s. Most of the bluestone from the quarries was sent to New York City for sidewalks. At least two hemlock tanneries producing tannin for the leather industry were located near Broadstreet Hollow as well as a sawmill, which supplied rough lumber to the Chichester Furniture factory near the Stony Clove Creek.
The cold headwaters of Broadstreet Hollow Creek provide important habitat for a diverse variety of aquatic and riparian plant and animal species. A joint USGS-DEP study on fish community indices on Broadstreet Hollow Creek found the stream to support a healthy and rich cold water fishery.
In 2000, the NYC Department of Environmental Protection contracted with Ulster County Soil and Water Conservation District and Greene County Soil and Water Conservation District to develop a Stream Management Plan and stream restoration demonstration project for Broadstreet Hollow. This was initiated following the development of a very productive “mudboil” in the Broadstreet Hollow stream bed just above the Jay Hand Hollow Creek tributary. This mudboil was driven by artesian groundwater flow and a large set of rotating landslides next to the stream that pumped muddy water into the creek bed. This created chronic turbidity conditions from the site to the Esopus Creek. A diagnostic assessment of the stream corridor located several landslides of glacial lake sediments that were contributed acute and chronic loading of suspended sediment causing turbidity.
For more information, please read the Broadstreet Hollow Stream Management Plan.