Ashokan Watershed Month: September 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.

Multi-tiered waterfall at Halcott Falls

Halcott Falls, photo by Tim Koch


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

Watercolor of a stream by Joyce Washor

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 
AWSMP Office
3130 Route 28, Shokan, NY

Aerator at the Ashokan Reservoir in the Catskill Mountains

Site of DEP operations at the Ashokan Reservoir


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

Watershed Paddle

Saturday, September 14 
Kenneth Wilson Campground
859 Wittenberg Road, Mount Tremper, NY

Two people kayaking on Catskill Mountain Lake

Photo: Aaron Bennett

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

Saturday, Sept.14 
Golden Notebook
29 Tinker Street, Woodstock, NY

Child Standing in Stream

Illustration by Will Lytle


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

Tying a Royal Wulff fly pattern

Tying a Royal Wulff

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

Hikers on the Ashokan Rail Trail

Hikers walk a forested section of the Ashokan Rail Trail


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 bookThorneater 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

Riparian planting volunteer in the Catskills

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.