Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Watershed Detectives Club Is Off To A Great Start

Posted on: October 22nd, 2020 by Brent Gotsch
A scene from the inau­gur­al ses­sion of the 2020 Water­shed Detec­tives Pro­gram held at the Ashokan Cen­ter. Pho­to by Matt Helf­frich

The ongo­ing COVID-19 pan­dem­ic has forced many events and activ­i­ties to be can­celled or switched to an online for­mat and for good rea­son. Tra­di­tion­al school­ing for many stu­dents in the water­shed has moved online ful­ly or in a hybrid of online and lim­it­ed in-per­son teach­ing. Most after­school activ­i­ties on school grounds have been can­celled indef­i­nite­ly. Sad­ly, because of this there is a dearth of oppor­tu­ni­ties for extracur­ric­u­lar activ­i­ties around most sub­jects, though espe­cial­ly sci­ence edu­ca­tion. While the con­cern about the safe­ty of in-per­son edu­ca­tion is war­rant­ed, there are ways to hold in-per­son edu­ca­tion that reduces the risk of expo­sure to the virus. In an effort to pro­vide alter­na­tive pro­gram oppor­tu­ni­ties and to get stu­dents safe­ly engaged in a stream-based and water­shed cur­ricu­lum, AWSMP has relaunched our pop­u­lar Water­shed Detec­tives Pro­gram with added safe­ty fea­tures.

Water­shed Detec­tives has tra­di­tion­al­ly been an after­school pro­gram held at the Ben­nett Inter­me­di­ate School in Boiceville for grades 4–6. This year, instead of being held on school grounds the pro­gram is being offered at the Ashokan Cen­ter in near­by Olive­bridge, NY and for stu­dents in grades 4–8. Hold­ing the pro­gram at the Ashokan Cen­ter allows for good phys­i­cal dis­tanc­ing between stu­dents and access to the Ashokan Center’s numer­ous trails, streams and forests for learn­ing and dis­cov­ery. Sev­er­al safe­ty pro­to­cols have been put in place along with strict san­i­ta­tion pro­ce­dures to reduce the pos­si­bil­i­ty of infec­tion. While the loca­tion has changed the same great pro­gram­ming is tak­ing place where stu­dents will learn about the impor­tance of streams, water­sheds, and ripar­i­an areas.

“It has def­i­nite­ly been a chal­lenge get­ting this year’s pro­gram up and run­ning, but we have a sol­id plan in place in an effort to keep things run­ning smooth­ly,” says Matt Savat­gy, AWSMP Youth Edu­ca­tor and leader of the Water­shed Detective’s Pro­gram. “The kids are real­ly enjoy­ing being togeth­er, out­doors with their friends and are active­ly engaged in learn­ing to become stew­ards for our water­shed.”

Cur­rent­ly, the pro­gram is full. How­ev­er, AWSMP hopes to have more youth and adult pro­grams in the com­ing months. Please reg­u­lar­ly check our web­page for upcom­ing events and pro­grams offered both online and in-per­son.

The 2020 Water­shed Detec­tives Emblem
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CSBI Ready for Fall Plantings

Posted on: October 14th, 2020 by Brent Gotsch
AWSMP Plant Mate­r­i­al Cen­ter, Fall 2020. Pho­to by Bob­by Tay­lor.

If some­one were to step into the back­yard of the Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram (AWSMP) you could for­give them for think­ing they were on the grounds of a plant nurs­ery. That’s because our back­yard is home to the Catskill Streams Buffer Ini­tia­tive (CSBI) Plant Mate­r­i­al Cen­ter (PMC). The PMC is the loca­tion that holds all the plants that we use to reveg­e­tate stream­banks here in the Ashokan Water­shed. CSBI seeks to inform and assist landown­ers with bet­ter stew­ard­ship of their ripar­i­an (stream­side) area through pro­tec­tion, enhance­ment, man­age­ment, or restora­tion. CSBI recent­ly received a large deliv­ery of plants that AWSMP staff helped unload and sort in the PMC.

The plants in these pho­tos will be used in eight plant­i­ng sites this fall and com­ing spring where approx­i­mate­ly 79,156 square feet of stream­bank are slat­ed to be reveg­e­tat­ed. To date 65 landown­ers have had projects com­plet­ed on their prop­er­ties. Over 10,000 trees and shrubs have been plant­ed and over 18,510 feet of stream (or 3.5 miles) have been reveg­e­tat­ed. All told 13.153 acres have been restored since 2009.

Not just any plants are used in these projects. Ripar­i­an plants that are native to the Catskill region are uti­lized for sev­er­al rea­sons. Ripar­i­an plants have strong and robust root sys­tems that grow deep into the soil and inter­lock with roots sys­tems of adja­cent plants. This helps keep the plants firm­ly root­ed in the soil dur­ing floods and has the added ben­e­fit of min­i­miz­ing stream­bank ero­sion. Native Catskill Moun­tain region plants fill an impor­tant eco­log­i­cal niche that non-native plants usu­al­ly do not fill. They pro­vide habi­tat for an assort­ment of oth­er plants and ani­mals includ­ing pol­li­na­tors like bees and but­ter­flies. They pro­vide cov­er for ani­mals help­ing to shield them from preda­tors and shade the stream, keep­ing the water cool for sev­er­al fish species that thrive in cold­er water, such as native brook trout. Fur­ther­more, native ripar­i­an plants are more suit­ed for their envi­ron­ment and require less main­te­nance than non-native orna­men­tal veg­e­ta­tion.

Sev­er­al of the native ripar­i­an plants that are used will be famil­iar to most peo­ple. These include tree species such as red maple (Acer rubrum), sug­ar maple (Acer sac­cha­rum), red oak (Quer­cus rubra), white oak (Quer­cus alba), paper birch (Betu­la papyrifera) and sycamore (Pla­tanus occi­den­tal­is) to name just a few. It also includes shrubs such as win­ter­ber­ry (Ilex ver­ti­cil­late), witch hazel (Hamamelis vir­gini­ana), mead­owsweet (Spi­raea lat­i­fo­lia), elder­ber­ry (Sam­bu­cus nigra), choke­ber­ry (Aro­nia arbu­ti­fo­lia), and but­ton­bush (Cepha­lan­thus occi­den­tal­is) among many oth­ers. In addi­tion, there are sev­er­al dif­fer­ent types of sedges, which are a type of grass that likes to grow in wet, ripar­i­an areas. The PMC cur­rent­ly holds 61 dif­fer­ent species of native plant and there are cur­rent­ly over 2,000 plants in the PMC. The vast major­i­ty will be plant­ed this fall. Any plants not used will be cov­ered in mulch and over­win­tered until the spring where they will be used in plant­i­ng projects for that sea­son.

Projects for this sea­son are already sched­uled, but if you’re inter­est­ed in par­tic­i­pat­ing in the CSBI pro­gram in a future sea­son and have stream­side prop­er­ty in the Ashokan Water­shed, con­tact the CSBI Coor­di­na­tor, Bob­by Tay­lor at 845–688-3047 or at bobby.taylor@ashokanstreams.org.

AWSMP Plant Mate­r­i­al Cen­ter, Fall 2020. Pho­to by Brent Gotsch.
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AWSMP Hosts Successful Fall Foliage Walk

Posted on: October 6th, 2020 by Brent Gotsch
AWSMP Edu­ca­tor Matt Savat­gy teach­es about water­sheds dur­ing a hike on the Ashokan Quar­ry Trail

Last week on the morn­ing of Octo­ber 3rd, the Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram (AWSMP) host­ed a fall foliage walk on the recent­ly opened Ashokan Quar­ry Trail in Olive­bridge, NY. AWSMP has a goal of host­ing safe, social­ly dis­tanced, in-per­son events if con­di­tions allow. While it may have been a lit­tle ear­ly to expe­ri­ence the fall col­ors at their peak, there was per­fect autumn weath­er and all ten par­tic­i­pants had an excel­lent time.

The Ashokan Quar­ry Trail opened ear­li­er this year and is an easy 2‑mile loop that can be com­plet­ed and enjoyed by hik­ers of all abil­i­ty lev­els. Key points of inter­est includ­ed the on-site quar­ry where stone used in the con­struc­tion of the Ashokan Reser­voir was har­vest­ed, an aban­doned rail­road grade and load­ing sta­tion, and a scenic vista where sev­er­al local moun­tain peaks could be viewed.  Along the route, AWSMP edu­ca­tors taught par­tic­i­pants about water­shed sci­ence, for­est ecol­o­gy, the his­to­ry of the site and its impor­tance in the con­struc­tion of the Ashokan Reser­voir.

AWSMP nor­mal­ly attends many com­mu­ni­ty events and func­tions through­out the year in the Ashokan Water­shed. How­ev­er, due to the ongo­ing COVID-19 pan­dem­ic, many of those events have been can­celled or post­poned. In an effort to keep in touch with our stream­side landown­ers and every­one who enjoys and ben­e­fits from the Ashokan Water­shed, AWSMP has shift­ed the major­i­ty of its edu­ca­tion and out­reach pro­gram­ming to an online for­mat. AWSMP edu­ca­tors have post­ed a num­ber edu­ca­tion­al videos to our YouTube page so be sure to check those out.

When New York entered Phase 4 of reopen­ing ear­li­er this year, AWSMP insti­tut­ed sev­er­al out­door, social­ly dis­tanced events. If con­di­tions and pub­lic health direc­tives allow, AWSMP hopes to have more of these types of events this win­ter as well as next spring and sum­mer.

Please vis­it the AWSMP web­site for the most up-to-date list­ings of events (online and in-per­son) and stay in touch through our Face­book, Twit­ter, and Insta­gram accounts.

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Watershed Detectives Afterschool Program

Posted on: October 1st, 2020 by Brent Gotsch
Water­shed Detec­tives After­school Pro­gram

The Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram is excit­ed to announce that Matt Savat­gy and edu­ca­tion staff from Cor­nell Coop­er­a­tive Exten­sion of Ulster Coun­ty will be offer­ing his Water­shed Detec­tives Club as an in-per­son, after­school pro­gram at the Ashokan Cen­ter in Olive­bridge, Tues­day after­noons, begin­ning Octo­ber 13th (see above ad). We will be spend­ing our time doing fun, “hands-on” sci­ence and nature activ­i­ties while learn­ing about our local water­shed and streams.

We have put togeth­er an approved, New York State com­pli­ant safe­ty plan for this pro­gram that includes spe­cial pre­cau­tions for COVID-19. Our trained staff will be con­duct­ing the pro­gram using phys­i­cal dis­tanc­ing meth­ods. Face masks are required when we are indoors and when we are with­in 6 feet of each oth­er out-of-doors.

The pro­gram is free of charge to Onte­o­ra School Dis­trict stu­dents, but space is very lim­it­ed and will be filled on a first come, first served basis. To reg­is­ter for the pro­gram, con­tact Lin­da Gonnel­la at lg457@cornell.edu. Please con­tact Matt Savat­gy if you have any ques­tions about the pro­gram at mjs593@cornell.edu or at (845)-657‑7383.

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Stream Management Funds Available

Posted on: September 16th, 2020 by Leslie_Zucker

The Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram is now accept­ing appli­ca­tions for stream projects in the Ashokan Reser­voir water­shed.

Appli­ca­tions must be sub­mit­ted to the pro­gram office by Wednes­day, Octo­ber 14. Elec­tron­ic sub­mis­sions are accept­ed. For more infor­ma­tion and appli­ca­tion mate­ri­als, vis­it the web­site https://ashokanstreams.org/projects-funding/.

Eli­gi­ble appli­cants include local, coun­ty, state or fed­er­al gov­ern­ment agen­cies; 501©3 orga­ni­za­tions; and sec­ondary school dis­tricts, col­leges, or uni­ver­si­ties. For-prof­it orga­ni­za­tions are eli­gi­ble to apply in the Research, Assess­ment, and Mon­i­tor­ing cat­e­go­ry only.

Please review pri­or­i­ty needs iden­ti­fied by the AWSMP in stream man­age­ment plans, the pro­gram’s annu­al action plan, and research agen­da before apply­ing.

Fund­ing is avail­able for pri­or­i­ty projects to:

- Improve water qual­i­ty and enhance stream sta­bil­i­ty
- Pro­tect or improve stream infra­struc­ture
- Enhance stream access and recre­ation
- Plan and imple­ment flood haz­ard mit­i­ga­tion
- Increase pub­lic knowl­edge and skills for stream stew­ard­ship
- Pro­tect and enhance aquat­ic and ripar­i­an habi­tat and ecosys­tems

Please note: Replace­ment or repair of fail­ing infra­struc­ture due to aging or decay is not eli­gi­ble for fund­ing. Only the por­tion of costs asso­ci­at­ed with the enlarge­ment or improve­ment of struc­tures to meet stream man­age­ment objec­tives is eli­gi­ble for fund­ing.

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

For more infor­ma­tion or to sched­ule a meet­ing or site vis­it, con­tact AWSMP at (845) 688‑3047.

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Watershed Animal Spotlight: Bald Eagle

Posted on: September 1st, 2020 by Brent Gotsch

Bald Eagle Title Slide

 

 

Catch­ing a glimpse of a bald eagle soar­ing through the air can be incred­i­bly excit­ing. This expe­ri­ence is becom­ing increas­ing­ly com­mon here in the Ashokan Water­shed. The reser­voir and its sur­round­ing forests and streams pro­vide ide­al habi­tat for these large birds of prey.

Your best chances of spot­ting an eagle local­ly are while walk­ing on the prom­e­nade at the Ashokan dam, explor­ing the open-water sec­tions of the Ashokan Rail Trail or by spend­ing time along the Upper Eso­pus Creek. It is not unusu­al to see a bald eagle silent­ly glid­ing above the water’s sur­face in search of a meal.

If you are for­tu­nate enough to encounter one, it is an expe­ri­ence you are like­ly to not soon for­get. To learn more about these majes­tic birds, check out our bald eagle resource page. The site includes videos, fact sheets, activ­i­ty pages, relat­ed links, and a quiz. For more infor­ma­tion about the Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram, vis­it ashokanstreams.org.

 

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Living in the Watershed Presentation August 19th

Posted on: August 14th, 2020 by Brent Gotsch

The sub-basins of the Ashokan Watershed

The sub-basins of the Ashokan Water­shed

 

The Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram (AWSMP) is pleased to announce an addi­tion to its Ashokan Water­shed Week­end slate of pro­grams this sum­mer. On Wednes­day, August 19 start­ing at 7:00 p.m. there will be an online Zoom pre­sen­ta­tion of the pro­grams and ser­vices avail­able to landown­ers in the Ashokan Reser­voir Water­shed and the greater Catskill and Delaware por­tions of the New York City Drink­ing Water Sup­ply Water­shed. This pro­gram is geared for cur­rent or poten­tial landown­ers, but oth­er inter­est­ed indi­vid­u­als are wel­come to attend.

Landown­ers in the NYC Water­shed have access to a wide vari­ety of assis­tance pro­grams that aren’t avail­able in oth­er areas of the state. Dur­ing this help­ful pro­gram, some of the part­ners who deliv­er NYC’s Water­shed Pro­tec­tion Pro­gram will dis­cuss resources avail­able to landown­ers who are man­ag­ing streams, flood­plains, waste­water, forests and agri­cul­tur­al lands, and who want to improve and pro­tect their prop­er­ty while ben­e­fit­ing the envi­ron­ment. Landown­ers will have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to ask ques­tions about the pro­grams and AWSMP pre­sen­ters will pro­vide guid­ance on where to seek addi­tion­al infor­ma­tion.

The pro­gram is free to attend, but reg­is­tra­tion is required. For more infor­ma­tion or to reg­is­ter for the event please vis­it https://tinyurl.com/AshokanLandowners.

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Flash Flood Watch in Effect for Ashokan Watershed

Posted on: August 4th, 2020 by Brent Gotsch

High flows on the Esopus Creek in September 2018.

High flows on the Eso­pus Creek in Sep­tem­ber 2018.

 

The Nation­al Weath­er Ser­vice has cur­rent­ly issued a flash flood watch for the Ashokan Water­shed and much of the rest of the region. Trop­i­cal Storm Isa­ias is cur­rent­ly track­ing up the east­ern seaboard and bring­ing heavy rains and dam­ag­ing winds in its path. While the region has been abnor­mal­ly dry this sum­mer and the rain itself is wel­come, the poten­tial inten­si­ty of the down­pours could cause local­ized flood­ing.

Our Water­shed is no stranger to floods but it is still a good idea to be pre­pared. Through­out the day today, mon­i­tor the Nation­al Ocean­ic and Atmos­pher­ic Admin­is­tra­tion’s (NOAA) weath­er radio and/or local weath­er sta­tions to get updat­ed infor­ma­tion about con­di­tions. You can also mon­i­tor local stream gages by going to the Unit­ed States Geo­log­i­cal Sur­vey (USGS) web­site. The Allaben and Cold­brook stream gages are two major gages on the Eso­pus Creek.

If pos­si­ble, please stay home. High winds could top­ple trees and pow­er lines mak­ing roads impas­si­ble. In addi­tion, flood waters across road­ways are par­tic­u­lar­ly dan­ger­ous and lead to a high num­ber of injuries and fatal­i­ties each year because water depths are often deceiv­ing. Remem­ber, it only takes one foot of mov­ing water to move most pas­sen­ger cars and six inch­es of mov­ing water to knock a per­son over. If you come across a flood­ed road­way always Turn Around Don’t Drown!

If your local­i­ty issues evac­u­a­tion orders please evac­u­ate to your near­est emer­gency shel­ter imme­di­ate­ly and fol­low all instruc­tions from local offi­cials and emer­gency respon­ders.

For more infor­ma­tion on flood pre­pared­ness and what to do in an emer­gency you can view the AWSMP Flood Emer­gency Pre­pared­ness Guide. Also be sure to check out resources from FEMA’s Ready.gov web­site and the NY Exten­sion Dis­as­ter Edu­ca­tion Net­work (NY EDEN) web­site.

 

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Join AWSMP for a Series of Youth Hikes This Summer

Posted on: July 16th, 2020 by Brent Gotsch

Join AWSMP for series of youth hikes this summer

Join AWSMP for a series of youth hikes this sum­mer

 

The Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram (AWSMP) presents the Sum­mer Youth Hike Series on Tues­days this sum­mer begin­ning July 21st 2020. Mid­dle and High School youth age 10 and up liv­ing in the Ashokan Water­shed are invit­ed to join in a series of trail hikes to learn more about the Ashokan Watershed’s creeks and streams. Hikes will be led by Cor­nell Coop­er­a­tive Exten­sion Ulster Coun­ty edu­ca­tors and fea­ture a local stream/watershed pro­fes­sion­al to share their expe­ri­ence and exper­tise.

The first hike is Tues­day, July 21 and meets at DEC’s McKin­ley Hol­low Road trail­head park­ing lot at 10 a.m. and returns at 2 p.m. Reg­is­ter now online or call Lin­da Gonel­la at 845–688-3047 ext. 0 or email her at lg457@cornell.edu.

A series of hikes are planned for Tues­days from July 14th through August 11th. Each hike will meet at a trail­head at 10 a.m. and con­clude by 2 p.m. Youth are required to bring a lunch, water and be dressed for the weath­er. Par­tic­i­pants will be asked to phys­i­cal­ly dis­tance dur­ing hikes and wear face cov­er­ings when stopped for group dis­cus­sion. Masks will be pro­vid­ed for those who need them.

These hikes are free to res­i­dents of the Ashokan Water­shed. Gen­er­al­ly, the Ashokan Water­shed over­laps the towns of Shan­dak­en, Olive, Wood­stock, and Hur­ley in Ulster Coun­ty, and Lex­ing­ton and Hunter in Greene Coun­ty.

For more infor­ma­tion, call the AWSMP office at (845) 688‑3047 or email Matt Helf­frich at mdh268@cornell.edu.

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Hike with a Bike for Ashokan Watershed Weekend on August 7

Posted on: July 16th, 2020 by Brent Gotsch

Join AWSMP for a socially distanced bike hike on the Ashokan Rail Trail on August 7.

Join AWSMP for a social­ly dis­tanced bike hike on the Ashokan Rail Trail on August 7.

 

Let’s go hik­ing on a bike! As part of its Ashokan Water­shed Week­end series of events, AWSMP will be host­ing a “bike hike” along the Ashokan Rail Trail on August 7 from 8:30 am to 12:00 pm.

This excit­ing new pro­gram is open to any­one, but is designed for youth and fam­i­lies. Par­tic­i­pants must be at least 8 years old (youth under the age of 14 must be accom­pa­nied by an adult). AWSMP staff will lead a bike ride along the trail to learn about Ashokan Water­shed, the Ashokan Reser­voir and the New York City drink­ing water sup­ply sys­tem. We will also spend time learn­ing about the plants and ani­mals along the trail and will stop to study how But­ter­nut Creek cross­es the trail and emp­ties into the reser­voir. Due to NYS phys­i­cal dis­tanc­ing guide­lines, the ride will be lim­it­ed to 10 indi­vid­u­als. All par­tic­i­pants must agree to fol­low pub­lic health poli­cies out­lined for the event.

This event, which is free of charge, is open to res­i­dents of the Ashokan Water­shed. Gen­er­al­ly, the Ashokan Water­shed over­laps the towns of Shan­dak­en, Olive, Wood­stock, and Hur­ley in Ulster Coun­ty, and Lex­ing­ton and Hunter in Greene Coun­ty.

We will meet at the Boiceville Rail Trail park­ing lot at 8:30 am and will return by 12:00 pm. The Boiceville Trail­head is locat­ed at 5080 Route 28A in Boiceville. The Trail­head entrance is off Route 28A approx­i­mate­ly 16.5 miles west of the NYS Thruway Exit 19 Traf­fic Cir­cle. Cold Brook Road is direct­ly across Route 28A from this entrance.

The group will spend approx­i­mate­ly 3 hours on the trail and will ride about 6 miles round-trip at a leisure­ly pace. Par­tic­i­pants will need to bring their own bike and wear a hel­met while rid­ing. The wear­ing of face masks is manda­to­ry when stopped for edu­ca­tion or con­ver­sa­tion. It is also rec­om­mend­ed that each rid­er bring plen­ty of water and a snack.

Space is lim­it­ed so reg­is­ter today. Be sure to fill out your safe­ty pledge and insur­ance and pho­to waiv­er and return them to Lin­da at lg457@cornell.edu

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