Ashokan Watershed Weekend 2020
The Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program presented Ashokan Watershed Weekend over several weekends in 2020. Ashokan Reservoir Watershed residents learned more about the watershed’s creeks and streams, how they behave, and what we can do to benefit (and benefit from) streams. Generally, the Ashokan Watershed overlaps the towns of Shandaken, Olive, Woodstock, and Hurley in Ulster County, and Lexington and Hunter in Greene County.
Landowner Days: Living in the Watershed
On Wednesday, August 19 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 was geared for current or potential landowners and other interested individuals.
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 discussed 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 had the opportunity to ask questions about the programs and AWSMP presenters provided guidance on where to seek additional information.
Previous Watershed Weekend Events
In past Ashokan Watershed Weekend events, the public participated in webinars where they learned about the basics of stream science and the programs and services offered by the Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program. There was also a guided hike up Kanape Brook where participants learned about stream geomorphology and the impact that North American Beavers have on streams.
On August 7, AWSMP hosted a “bike hike” along the Ashokan Rail Trail. AWSMP staff led the bike ride along the trail, teaching participants about the Ashokan Watershed, the Ashokan Reservoir and the New York City drinking water supply system. They also learned about the plants and animals along the trail and took a close look at Butternut Creek, and how it crosses the trail and empties into the reservoir.
Ashokan Watershed Month 2019
In 2019, The Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program (AWSMP) designated September as Ashokan Watershed Month in order to celebrate the unique characteristics that make this watershed so special for those who live and visit here. In lieu of our one-day watershed conference, we put together a month full of events that were educational and fun for the entire family. Event descriptions can be found below.
Ashokan Watershed Adventure
Various locations throughout the Ashokan Watershed. Pick up a printed Ashokan Watershed Adventure Guide at the AWSMP office (3130 Route 28, Shokan, NY) or download a pdf version.
Let’s go on an Ashokan Watershed Adventure! AWSMP staff have traveled high and low throughout the watershed and designated 11 spots that we think everyone should see. We’re challenging you to visit as many of the sites as you can. Stop by our office or download an Ashokan Watershed Adventure Guide describing the various sites.
For more information, call the AWSMP office: 845-688-3047
En Plein Air Streamside Painting
Wednesday, September 4
Full Moon Resort
12 Valley View Road, Big Indian, NY
Participants joined artist Joyce Washor and learned how to use watercolors to paint a stream en plein air (French for “outdoors”). Joyce taught them how to best create a natural outdoor scene (a stream in this case) while AWSMP staff educated participants about the different stream features they will paint. Registered participants were provided with a set of art supplies. Cost: $10.
Alien Invaders Strike the Catskills!
Sunday, Sept. 8
Catskill Visitors Center
5096 Route 28, Mt. Tremper, NY
“Alien Invaders” was a talk about the invasive plants and forest pests that plague the Catskills with Cary Institute Forest Ecologist Gary Lovett and Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership Coordinator John Thompson. Cost: Free
Understanding Ashokan Reservoir Operations
Monday, September 9
3130 Route 28, Shokan, NY
Ever wonder how water makes the 92-mile journey from Ashokan Reservoir to New York City? This was your opportunity to find out! Adam Bosch of the NYC Department of Environmental Protection explained how NYC manages its water supply system and gave a detailed rundown of operations at Ashokan Reservoir. Participants learned how DEP currently operates its vast infrastructure and about the Ashokan Century Program, an approximately $1 billion program to refurbish and upgrade the infrastructure at Ashokan Reservoir starting in the mid-2020s. Cost: Free
Sunset Rail Pedal along the Esopus
Thursday, September 12
Rail Explorers Catskills Division
70 Lower High Street, Phoenicia, NY
AWSMP hosted a sunset railcar pedal with Rail Explorers along the Esopus Creek. Participants learned about the Esopus Creek and flood mitigation projects underway in the area. There were approximately 2 hours of pedaling and 4 stops during the event. Cost: Free
Saturday, September 14
Kenneth Wilson Campground
859 Wittenberg Road, Mount Tremper, NY
This was a chance to hop inside a kayak or canoe for a paddle around the lake at Kenneth Wilson Campground and portions of the Little Beaver Kill, and learn about streams while on the water! All equipment was provided. Cost: Free!
Book Signing and Reading — Little One and the Water
29 Tinker Street, Woodstock, NY
Beloved local illustrator and author Will Lytle (Thorneater Comics) was on hand at the Golden Notebook to sign copies of his new children’s book featuring the Little Beaver Kill, a stream that runs near Woodstock. A child explores the stream starting at its outlet all the way to its source. The Little Beaver Kill was evaluated by the Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program as one of the healthiest streams in the watershed. Will met with stream specialists in several meetings and walked its entire length to ensure the accuracy of its ecosystem, including the major flora and fauna, in his depictions. Will read portions of his book Little One and the Water. The book was produced as part of the Catskill Waters initiative, a community forum for sharing stories about water stewardship organized by Keiko Sono. Cost: Free
Paleoclimate of the Catskills
Wednesday, Sept. 18
Santa Fe Woodstock
1802 Route 28, Woodstock, NY
The climate is changing, but what was it like in the distant past and how can that inform what the future climate might be? Dr. Dorothy Peteet, Senior Research Scientist at Columbia University and NASA discussed the history of abrupt climate change and patterns of drought revealed by local landscapes. Can wetlands and streams capture and store carbon? We learned more about this important and timely topic. Cost: Free
Esopus Creek Fish and Fly Fishing Demonstration
Friday, Sept. 20
Catskills Visitor Center
5096 Route 28, Mount Tremper, NY
Did you know the Esopus Creek is considered the birthplace of American dry fly fishing? We learned about the Esopus Creek fishery from USGS biologist Scott George. Members from Trout Unlimited were available to instruct participants on how to tie a fly appropriate for the Esopus Creek and cast using a fly rod. For anyone interested in learning more about fish and fishing the Esopus Creek, this was the event to attend. Cost: Free
The Importance of Watershed Wetlands
Friday, Sept. 20
Ashokan Rail Trail
AWSMP Office, 3130 Route 28, Shokan, NY
Participants got an early look at the Ashokan Rail Trail with Ulster County staff while they learned about the importance of wetlands for clean water. DEP wetlands scientist Laurie Machung and Frank Parisio discussed how DEP is protecting wetlands near the Ashokan Reservoir. Several types of wetlands and Butternut Creek were visible from the rail trail. Cost: Free
Little Beaver Kill Book Signing and Video Release
Sunday, Sept. 22
Catskills Visitor Center
5096 Route 28, Mount Tremper, NY
Catskill Waters presented Little One and the Water, a children’s illustrated book, along with author Will Lytle (Thorneater Comics) and an accompanying video on Little Beaver Kill—the subject of the book. Thorneater Comics is known for his poignant black and white drawing style in a wide array of formats from comic strips in the Woodstock Times to murals in Kingston. As a part of Catskill Waters, a public outreach and educational initiative funded by the Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program (AWSMP), he authored Little One and the Water based on the Little Beaver Kill, an actual stream that runs near Woodstock. The Little Beaver Kill was evaluated by AWSMP as one of the healthiest streams in the Ashokan watershed. Thorneater met with the stream specialists in several meetings and walked its entire length to ensure the accuracy of its ecosystem, including the major flora and fauna, in his depictions. A documentary of the Little Beaver Kill stream assessment will be screened, followed by Q&A. Limited copies of the book will be given away for free.
Also on display: Portraits and Stories, a series of paper silhouette profiles of the watershed residents, created by Jenny Lee Fowler. They will be displayed with matching audio recordings of the sitters’ stories.
No registration required. Cost: Free
Riparian Planting and Ashokan Watershed Month Closing Party
Saturday, September 28
Planting near Van Hoagland Road, Lake Hill, NY
Social Hour at Phoenicia Diner, 5681 Route 28, Phoenicia, NY
Volunteers helped us send-off Ashokan Watershed Month with a riparian buffer planting at a stream restoration site in beautiful Mink Hollow. A social hour at the Phoenicia Diner followed the planting. Cost: Free
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County provides equal program and employment opportunities. Please contact the stream program office at 845-688-3047 if you have any questions.
Ashokan Watershed Conference 2017
April 29, 2017 at the Ashokan Center, Olivebridge, NY
The 2017 conference focused on how to effectively manage and plan our communities in the face of a rapidly changing and unpredictable environment.
9:00-9:15 Opening Remarks
Opening remarks by David Warne, Assistant Commissioner, Bureau of Water Supply, NYC Department of Environmental Protection
9:15-10:15 Climate Change and Sustainable Development in Eastern New York
Keynote address by Dr. Kieran Donaghy of Cornell University’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future
10:30-12:00 Sustainable Economic Development Panel Discussion
Discussion with guest panelists from local municipal and non-profit organizations.
12:00-1:00 Lunch (cost included with registration)
1:00-2:30 Afternoon Session #1
Planning for Sustainable Communities Part 1*
Experienced attorneys and professors from Pace University’s Land Use Law Center: Sustainable economic development and tools at the disposal of land use planners to help guide planning decisions.
Fisheries biologists from the USGS and NYSDEC: Current status of the fisheries in the Esopus Creek and how environmental change is impacting fisheries.
Demystifying the Ashokan Reservoir
DEP operations staff: What exactly goes on inside the buildings around the Ashokan Reservoir, and other Reservoir and watershed operations.
2:45-4:15 Afternoon Session #2
Planning for Sustainable Communities Part 2*
Part 2 of the presentation from earlier in the afternoon.
Natural area managers from the Catskills and Adirondacks: What invasive pests and plants you should be aware of, management practices that prevent the spread of invasives, and how to respond if invasives are detected.
Managing for Sustainable Ecotourism
The Catskill Center for Conservation and Development: How communities can leverage their natural resources for sustainable economic development and the positive and negative impacts of ecotourism.
*Four hours of municipal continuing education credit awarded for conference attendance attending both morning and afternoon sessions titled “Planning for Sustainable Communities.”
Stream Explorers! Youth Conference
As part of the 2017 Conference, we also offered a co-occurring “Stream Explorers” youth conference (also on April 29, 2017 at the Ashokan Center). The “Stream Explorers” conference was designed for children ages 8-14 or grades 3-8. The youth conference featured hands-on outdoor activities taught by CCE educators during the morning, and an afternoon gorge hike adventure in the afternoon. Children attended for free.
Ashokan Watershed Conferences are organized by the Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program and a team of dedicated stakeholders. The conference is sponsored by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County, the Ulster County Soil & Water Conservation District, and the NYC Department of Environmental Protection.
For more information, contact the AWSMP office at (845) 688-3047.
477 Beaverkill Road, Olivebridge, NY (Directions)
Nestled in the beautiful Catskill Mountains near the Ashokan reservoir, The Ashokan Center (above) has been helping to educate people in nature, history and the arts since 1967.
Who should attend?
- Streamside Landowners and Watershed Residents
- Students and Professionals
- Town & Village Municipal and Planning Boards
- Town Supervisors and Highway Superintendents
- Floodplain Administrators
Ashokan Watershed Conference 2015
The 2015 conference, Back to the Future: Creating a New Watershed Legacy, was about where we are today because of the past, and where we will be tomorrow because of the present.
Sponsored by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County, Ulster County Soil and Water Conservation District, and NYC Department of Environmental Protection.