Birch Creek

Birch Creek

Birch Creek is locat­ed in the north­east­ern most part of the Ashokan Water­shed. Its head­wa­ters begin above Crump Road in the Town of Shan­dak­en on the south­ern slopes of Hal­cott Moun­tain. Below Crump road, the main stem flows approx­i­mate­ly 8 miles, entire­ly through the town of Shan­dak­en, even­tu­al­ly drain­ing into the Eso­pus Creek at Big Indi­an. The drainage area is approx­i­mate­ly 12.8 sq. miles. Birch Creek is joined by sev­er­al trib­u­taries along the way includ­ing Cathe­dral Brook, Gig­gle Hol­low, Rose Moun­tain Brook, and Rochester Hol­low. In fact, most of the Bel­leayre Ski Resort is locat­ed with­in Birch Creek’s water­shed and the runoff from Belleayre’s snow­pack drains into Cathe­dral Brook.

Like many of the Ashokan Water­shed streams and creeks, Birch Creek has an out­stand­ing pop­u­la­tion of wild trout includ­ing Rain­bow, Brown and native Brook Trout. The major­i­ty of brook trout can be locat­ed in the head­wa­ters of Birch Creek and its trib­u­taries, where­as brown and rain­bow trout often inhab­it the low­er stream reach­es below Upper Birch Creek Road. There are sev­er­al recre­ation­al access loca­tions along this stream: NYSDEC access at the Pine Hill day use area, NYCDEP Pub­lic Use Par­cel along Low­er Birch Creek Road, and access near the top of the water­shed along Upper Birch Creek Road which includes both DEC and NYCDEP land. Hand­i­cap fish­ing access for stocked trout is avail­able at the end of Upper Birch Creek Road at the for­mer Doc Ris­er estate.

Birch Creek was assessed in 2011 by Ulster Coun­ty Soil & Water Con­ser­va­tion Dis­trict staff with assis­tance from interns from the Stu­dent Con­ser­va­tion Asso­ci­a­tion and Ulster Coun­ty Com­mu­ni­ty Col­lege. The assess­ment focused on record­ing loca­tions of bank ero­sion, sus­pend­ed sed­i­ment source areas, poten­tial pri­vate prop­er­ty ripar­i­an buffer restora­tion loca­tions, native plant mate­r­i­al source areas, and infra­struc­ture threats.  This inven­to­ry of stream fea­tures and cor­ri­dor con­di­tion is being used in con­junc­tion with his­tor­i­cal data to devel­op a stream man­age­ment plan for the creek that will describe the stream health and con­di­tion in order to offer rec­om­men­da­tions for future management.

Map of Birch Creek

Click to view larg­er image.

The Birch Creek was assessed in 2012. A full report on Birch Creek con­di­tions and rec­om­men­da­tions will be avail­able on this web­site when it becomes available.