Archive for the ‘Featured’ Category

Stream Snorkeling Program is a Success

Posted on: July 26th, 2021 by Brent Gotsch
A par­tic­i­pant peers at the streambed of Birch Creek at an AWSMP Stream Snor­kel­ing event.

AWSMP recent­ly held a two suc­cess­ful fresh­wa­ter stream snor­kel­ing events (a third event was can­celled due to poor con­di­tions). This was the first time that our pop­u­lar stream snor­kel­ing pro­grams have been held since the begin­ning of the pan­dem­ic. On July 16, approx­i­mate­ly 9 indi­vid­u­als (most­ly youths) met at the Eso­pus Creek behind the Emer­son Resort and Spa in Mount Trem­per. There AWSMP staff pro­vid­ed instruc­tion on safe snor­kel­ing and then pro­ceed­ed to use the snorkel gear to peer beneath the waves where sev­er­al inter­est­ing crea­tures includ­ing cray­fish, stone­flies, and oth­er macroin­ver­te­brates were found. On July 19, AWSMP ven­tured to Smith Park in Pine Hill where chil­dren enrolled in pro­gram­ming with the Pine Hill Com­mu­ni­ty Cen­ter per­formed the same activ­i­ty in near­by Birch Creek. They found sim­i­lar stream crit­ters there includ­ing a large crane­fly larva. 

Stream snor­kel­ing pro­vides a unique oppor­tu­ni­ty for par­tic­i­pants to see what is going on in the streambed and to bet­ter under­stand stream ecosys­tems. “Our fresh­wa­ter snor­kel­ing pro­gram pro­vides an amaz­ing oppor­tu­ni­ty to teach par­tic­i­pants about the impor­tance of streams,” says Snor­kel­ing Pro­gram Leader and Water­shed Youth Edu­ca­tor Matt Savat­gy, “It allows them to ful­ly immerse them­selves in the stream and to get to see what’s going on below the sur­face of the water, which is some­thing that most of them nev­er real­ly get an oppor­tu­ni­ty to do.”

No addi­tion­al stream snor­kel­ing pro­grams are planned for this year. How­ev­er, AWSMP is plan­ning sev­er­al addi­tion­al events that may be of inter­est to youth and fam­i­lies. To learn about upcom­ing events please reg­u­lar­ly vis­it the AWSMP webpage.

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Stream Snorkeling Returns this Summer!

Posted on: June 23rd, 2021 by Brent Gotsch
Join AWSMP for stream snor­kel­ing this sum­mer on Fri­day July 9 or July 16.

AWSMP is pleased to announce the return of one of its most pop­u­lar sum­mer activ­i­ties:  stream snor­kel­ing! Dis­cov­er the under­wa­ter world of streams by join­ing us for a fun filled morn­ing of stream snor­kel­ing in the Eso­pus Creek. This free pro­gram was cre­at­ed with fam­i­lies in mind. Par­tic­i­pants must be at least 8 years old and those under the age of 12 must be accom­pa­nied by an adult (the adult does not have to snorkel). This event will be held at the Emer­son Resort and Spa in Mount Trem­per, New York. All equip­ment and sup­plies will be pro­vid­ed. Please bring a tow­el and wear swim clothes and old sneak­ers or closed-toed water shoes (no bare feet please).

This pro­gram is designed for peo­ple that live in the Ashokan Water­shed. The Ashokan Water­shed includes the Towns of Hur­ley, Olive, Wood­stock, and Shan­dak­en in Ulster Coun­ty and the Towns of Lex­ing­ton and Hunter in Greene Coun­ty.

Space is lim­it­ed to 15 par­tic­i­pants so sign up now as this event may fill up quick­ly.

COVID-19 Safe­ty Pre­cau­tions will be fol­lowed, includ­ing wear­ing masks and social dis­tanc­ing where need­ed. Snor­kel­ing equip­ment will be thor­ough­ly dis­in­fect­ed pri­or to the event and after it is com­plet­ed.

Only those that are snor­kel­ing will need to reg­is­ter. If you are reg­is­ter­ing more than one per­son, you will have to reg­is­ter each one sep­a­rate­ly. Once you reg­is­ter you will get a let­ter in the mail with a release form that you will have to fill out and return to AWSMP.

There will be two sep­a­rate ses­sions, with one being held on Fri­day, July 9 and the oth­er being held on Fri­day, July 16. Please click the appro­pri­ate link below to sign up for the date that you wish to attend. Both events will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Fri­day July 9 Snor­kel­ing Event Registration

Fri­day July 16 Snor­kel­ing Event Reg­is­tra­tion

If you have any ques­tions please con­tact Brent Gotsch at bwg37@cornell.edu or call him at 845–688-3047 ext. 103. If the event becomes sold out please con­tact Brent and he will add you to a wait­ing list.

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SMIP Grant Funding Available

Posted on: June 22nd, 2021 by Leslie_Zucker

The AWSMP is now accept­ing appli­ca­tions for Stream Man­age­ment Imple­men­ta­tion Pro­gram (SMIP) grant fund­ing. The dead­line for sub­mis­sion of appli­ca­tions is Wednes­day, June 30, 2021.

Eli­gi­ble appli­cants include local, coun­ty, state, or fed­er­al gov­ern­ment agen­cies, 501©(3) orga­ni­za­tions, sec­ondary school dis­tricts, col­leges or uni­ver­si­ties. For-prof­it firms or insti­tu­tions may sub­mit fund­ing appli­ca­tions in the Research, Assess­ment and Mon­i­tor­ing cat­e­go­ry only.

The AWSMP funds stream stew­ard­ship projects in the fol­low­ing cat­e­gories: Plan­ning; Edu­ca­tion; Research, Assess­ment and Mon­i­tor­ing (see pri­or­i­ty research needs); Stream-Relat­ed Pub­lic Infra­struc­ture Improve­ments (see project eli­gi­bil­i­ty guid­ance); Flood Haz­ard Mit­i­ga­tion; and Stream Restoration.

Fund­ing appli­ca­tions for projects rec­om­mend­ed in a Local Flood Analy­sis plan may be sub­mit­ted at any time. 

For more infor­ma­tion and how to apply, vis­it: https://ashokanstreams.org/projects-funding/

The AWSMP will announce the third and final fund­ing round of 2021 in September.

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Join the Warner Creek Virtual Stream Walk

Posted on: June 21st, 2021 by Leslie_Zucker

Res­i­dents of the Warn­er Creek val­ley, Shan­dak­en town offi­cials, and any­one inter­est­ed in learn­ing more are invit­ed to attend a “vir­tu­al” Warn­er Creek Stream Walk held online Fri­day, June 25 from 2–4 p.m. To receive the webi­nar link, reg­is­ter at: tinyurl.com/WarnerCreekVirtualStreamWalk.

Dur­ing the Stream Walk we’ll learn more about the Warn­er Creek val­ley and changes in the stream chan­nel that led to pri­or­i­ti­za­tion of sev­er­al sites for restora­tion work this sum­mer. The Ulster Coun­ty Soil and Water Con­ser­va­tion Dis­trict will dis­cuss how the stream sites are being restored and what to expect in the val­ley before, dur­ing, and after project construction.

The event will offer plen­ty of time for landown­er questions. 

To learn more, con­tact Tim Koch, Stream Edu­ca­tor at AWSMP by email tk545@cornell.edu or phone (845) 688‑3047.

Photo of stream program staff conducting field survey of Warner Creek
Staff of the Ulster Coun­ty Soil and Water Con­ser­va­tion Dis­trict sur­vey an unsta­ble sec­tion of Warn­er Creek in 2019.
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AWSMP Office Open to Public

Posted on: May 26th, 2021 by Leslie_Zucker

The AWSMP office is now open to the pub­lic Wednes­day through Fri­day from 9 am‑4 pm begin­ning May 26. The office is locat­ed at 3146 State Route 28 in Shokan across from the Cit­go gas sta­tion. The main office is in the ‘A‑frame’ for­mer mod­el home. The brown cab­in next door is where to find the Catskill Streams Buffer Ini­tia­tive.

The pro­gram office plans to reopen more ful­ly after we com­plete hir­ing of sev­er­al new staff. Masks are required when enter­ing the office.

Stop by if you need stream pro­gram infor­ma­tion, or con­tact us at info@ashokanstreams.org or (845) 688‑3047. The stream pro­gram also offers site vis­its to assess stream issues and pro­vide advise and assis­tance to Ashokan water­shed landowners.

stream program office

Office of the Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram (AWSMP) in Shokan, NY.

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Join AWSMP for Praxis Conference on June 4

Posted on: May 12th, 2021 by Brent Gotsch
Roy Schiff, Prin­ci­pal Water Resources Engi­neer and Sci­en­tist with SLR.

Cor­nell Coop­er­a­tive Exten­sion of Ulster Coun­ty Stream Edu­ca­tor Tim Koch will team up with Roy Schiff of SLR Inter­na­tion­al (for­mer­ly Milone & Macb­room Inc) to present at the inau­gur­al Prax­is vir­tu­al con­fer­ence on June 4th. The Prax­is con­fer­ence focus­es on the prac­ti­cal appli­ca­tion of the­o­ry and research to improve com­mu­ni­ties. Tim and Roy, Prin­ci­pal Water Resources Engi­neer & Sci­en­tist with SLR, will present on a geo­mor­phic approach to cul­vert assess­ment and pri­or­i­ti­za­tion efforts in order to help com­mu­ni­ties mit­i­gate flood and ero­sion risks. Roy was involved with the research and devel­op­ment of a geo­mor­phic assess­ment tool. Tim has inte­grat­ed the tool into a Mul­ti-Objec­tive Stream Cross­ing Assess­ment Pro­to­col (MOSCAP) used to assess and pri­or­i­tize over 1,000 cul­verts and bridges through­out Ulster Coun­ty, New York. Their pre­sen­ta­tion and break-out ses­sion will focus on the research-based devel­op­ment of the tool, imple­men­ta­tion of the MOSCAP in Ulster Coun­ty, and infor­ma­tion on how peo­ple can imple­ment MOSCAP in their communities.

Tim Koch, Stream Edu­ca­tor with Cor­nell Coop­er­a­tive Exten­sion of Ulster Coun­ty and the Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Program
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Stream Explorers Youth Adventure 2021 Registration is Open

Posted on: April 27th, 2021 by Brent Gotsch

The Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram (AWSMP) is excit­ed to announce that reg­is­tra­tion for the Stream Explor­ers 2021 Youth Adven­ture is now open! Stream Explor­ers is an excit­ing day-long sci­ence-based pro­gram for youth in grades 3 through 7 resid­ing in the Ashokan Reser­voir Water­shed (this includes the Towns of Hur­ley, Olive, Shan­dak­en and Wood­stock in Ulster Coun­ty and the Towns of Hunter and Lex­ing­ton in Greene Coun­ty). This year’s event will be held on Sat­ur­day, June 5 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Ashokan Cen­ter locat­ed at 477 Beaverkill Road in Olive­bridge, NY. Reg­is­ter online today at www.tinyurl.com/streamexplorers2021.

Stream Explor­ers is a fun-filled day full of stream-themed activ­i­ties. Par­tic­i­pants will use sci­ence mod­els to learn how streams work and to assess stream health. We will play water­shed-relat­ed games, learn how nature fil­ters water, and explore the Eso­pus Gorge. A hearty bag-lunch and morn­ing and after­noon snacks will be pro­vid­ed. Youth are encour­aged to be pre­pared for a vari­ety of weath­er con­di­tions so dress in lay­ers, bring an all-weath­er jack­et and wear closed-toed shoes. It is also encour­aged to bring a pair of water-proof muck boots. Bring sun­screen and insect repel­lant. Watch our video on a pre­vi­ous Stream Explor­ers Youth Adven­ture to see some of the activities.

We have sev­er­al mea­sures in place to keep par­tic­i­pants safe from Covid-19. We are lim­it­ing reg­is­tra­tion to the first 40 par­tic­i­pants. Youth will be fur­ther divid­ed into small­er groups of 10 and inter­ac­tion with oth­er groups will be lim­it­ed. It will be manda­to­ry for all par­tic­i­pants to wear a mask while indoors or with­in 6 feet of one anoth­er. If mate­ri­als are to be shared, par­tic­i­pants will be required to wear gloves (that will be pro­vid­ed) and com­mon sur­faces will be dis­in­fect­ed reg­u­lar­ly. Unlike in pre­vi­ous years we will not be eat­ing a buf­fet lunch in the din­ing hall. Bag lunch­es will be sub­sti­tut­ed and we will eat with our subgroups.

Space is lim­it­ed and we expect to fill up quick­ly so reg­is­ter as soon as pos­si­ble at www.tinyurl.com/streamexplorers2021. Any ques­tions relat­ed to the Stream Explor­ers Youth Adven­ture can be direct­ed to Matt Savat­gy at mjs593@cornell.edu or Brent Gotsch at bwg37@cornell.edu or call 845–688-3047 ext. 103. 

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Esopus Creek News Now Available

Posted on: March 14th, 2021 by Leslie_Zucker

The win­ter edi­tion of the Eso­pus Creek News is now avail­able online and for the first time, is acces­si­ble for read­ers with a print impair­ment. The AWSMP worked with Stephanie Black­man Design in Chich­ester, NY to make our newslet­ter more acces­si­ble. If you expe­ri­ence any issues read­ing the newslet­ter, please let us know. We are work­ing to improve acces­si­bil­i­ty of our pub­li­ca­tions for all residents. 

This issue of the newslet­ter reports on the “Christ­mas Day” 2020 flood in the water­shed, flood­ing resources for home­own­ers, stream restora­tion plans, how to rec­og­nize a new inva­sive pest in the water­shed, recent town-led stream cul­vert improve­ment projects, and some infor­ma­tion on how streams han­dle a wide range of flows. We hope you enjoy this edi­tion of the Eso­pus Creek News newsletter!

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Informational Sessions for Proposed Hydroelectric Generation Station Scheduled

Posted on: March 12th, 2021 by Brent Gotsch
Pro­posed pump stor­age lay­out. Source: Pre­mi­um Ener­gy Holdings

Recent­ly, Pre­mi­um Ener­gy Hold­ings has pro­posed plans to con­struct a pumped stor­age hydro­elec­tric gen­er­at­ing sta­tion near the Ashokan Reser­voir. Two info ses­sions on this top­ic have been sched­uled for next week. One ses­sion will be host­ed by the Phoeni­cia Library on Tues­day, March 16 start­ing at 7:00 p.m. and oth­er will be host­ed by the Town of Olive on Thurs­day, March 18 start­ing at 6:30 p.m. Both will be held online. Links to more infor­ma­tion on the meet­ings are below.

March 16, 2021 at 7:00 p.m.:  https://www.facebook.com/events/1131783397242805

March 18, 2021 at 6:30 p.m.:  https://town.olive.ny.us/news/ashokan-pumped-storage-project-meeting/?fbclid=IwAR3y_ix7TtEWy6PT0KRI3eVWZVr8VYvQGO64dYZiYyT626P_S5k3Ka_Uom4

Town of Olive Home­page (has links to pro­pos­al):  https://town.olive.ny.us/

Town of Shan­dak­en Page (has addi­tion­al infor­ma­tion on pro­pos­al):  https://www.shandaken-ny.com/news/re-underground-hydroelectric-plant-proposal-at-ashokan-reservoir-raises-concerns/

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Catskill Visitor Use Survey Open Through March 19

Posted on: March 9th, 2021 by Brent Gotsch

The NYS Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion (NYSDEC) and the Catskill Advi­so­ry Group have devel­oped a sur­vey to help bet­ter deter­mine the cur­rent and future needs of the Catskill Park. The sur­vey seeks to deter­mine how peo­ple are cur­rent­ly using the Catskill Park and the chal­lenges that the region faces. Ques­tions con­cern­ing trail use, over­crowd­ing, park­ing, and access will help to deter­mine where need­ed invest­ment should be made. This includes stream access and recreation.

The Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram (AWSMP) requests every­one who lives in or vis­its the Water­shed take the sur­vey. This will help ensure that the need­ed invest­ments in tourism, eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment, and sus­tain­abil­i­ty are made so every­one in the region can ben­e­fit. The sur­vey is open through March 19.

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