Around the Watershed: News and Events

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.

Ashokan Quarry Trail Fall Foliage Watershed Walk, October 3rd

Posted on: September 10th, 2020 by Brent Gotsch
View from the Quarry Trail
A view from the Ashokan Quar­ry Trail

Join the Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram (AWSMP) for a water­shed walk along the Ashokan Quar­ry Trail in Olive­bridge, NY. This excit­ing pro­gram is open to any­one, but is designed for youth and fam­i­lies. Par­tic­i­pants under the age of 8 must be accom­pa­nied by a par­ent or guardian. Cor­nell Coop­er­a­tive Exten­sion of Ulster Coun­ty edu­ca­tors will lead a hike along the trail to learn about the Ashokan Water­shed and the his­to­ry of the Yale Quar­ry area. We will also spend time learn­ing about the plants and ani­mals along the trail. A focus point will be a panoram­ic view of the east­ern sec­tion of the Ashokan Water­shed in its fall splen­dor approx­i­mate­ly 1 mile up the trail.

Due to NYS phys­i­cal dis­tanc­ing guide­lines, the walk will be lim­it­ed to 12 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. Reg­is­tra­tion is required.

We will meet at the Ashokan Quar­ry Trail park­ing lot a lit­tle before 9:00 a.m. for check-in and will return by 12:00 p.m. The group will spend approx­i­mate­ly 3 hours on the trail and will walk about 2 miles round-trip at a leisure­ly pace. Par­tic­i­pants will need to wear hik­ing boots or closed-toe shoes, bring sun screen and insect repel­lent if using. The wear­ing of face masks is manda­to­ry when stopped for edu­ca­tion or con­ver­sa­tion or when pass­ing oth­ers on the trail. It is also rec­om­mend­ed that each per­son bring plen­ty of water and a snack. For more infor­ma­tion about the hike, call the AWSMP office at (845) 688‑3047 or email Matt Savat­gy at mjs593@cornell.edu.

Once you reg­is­ter, please review our safe­ty pledge and sign the insur­ance and pho­to release waiv­er and return them to Lin­da at lg457@cornell.edu

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.

 

Love Your Stream Video and Art Project

Posted on: August 26th, 2020 by Brent Gotsch

Bushnellsville Creek

Bush­nellsville Creek

 

We all love our streams in the Ashokan Water­shed! To show appre­ci­a­tion for our watershed’s streams, fam­i­lies or indi­vid­u­als are invit­ed to sub­mit a short video, pho­tographs or art­work depict­ing an activ­i­ty by or on a local stream. This could include fish­ing, boating/tubing, paint­ing, bird watch­ing or just about any activ­i­ty on or near the water. AWSMP staff will com­pile the videos/photographs/artwork and share them with oth­ers at an event streamed online on Feb­ru­ary 24, 2021 start­ing at 7:00 p.m. After we share the videos/photographs/artwork, AWSMP staff will be on hand to answer any ques­tions you have about streams.

Guide­lines for sub­mis­sion:

  • Sub­mit only orig­i­nal video, pho­to­graph, or art­work
  • Video sub­mis­sions must be no more than 5 min­utes in length
  • Orig­i­nal video, pho­to­graph or art­work must show an activ­i­ty on or near­by a stream
  • Orig­i­nal video, pho­to­graph, or art­work must have a stream fea­tured promi­nent­ly
  • Activ­i­ties shown must be on the stream or in very close prox­im­i­ty. Some exam­ples of stream-relat­ed activ­i­ties include:
  • Fish­ing
  • Boating/Kayaking/Canoeing/Tubing
  • Swim­ming
  • Snor­kel­ing
  • Bird Watch­ing
  • Drawing/Sketching/Painting
  • Pho­tog­ra­phy
  • Explo­ration of stream (ex: turn­ing over rocks to find and exam­ine macroin­ver­te­brates)
  • View­ing fall foliage
  • Any oth­er activ­i­ty where the stream is a cen­tral fea­ture of the activ­i­ty
  • The stream shown must be with­in the Ashokan Reser­voir Water­shed. If you’re not sure if your stream is in the Ashokan Water­shed please vis­it the AWSMP web­site and look at the map. Any stream list­ed on that web­page is accept­able. Unnamed trib­u­tary streams not list­ed on the web­page but still with­in the bound­aries of the Ashokan Water­shed are also accept­able.
  • Lim­it of 2 sub­mis­sions per individual/household

 

Dead­line to sub­mit orig­i­nal video, pho­to­graph or art­work is Feb­ru­ary 17, 2021 by 5:00 p.m. All sub­mis­sions should be sent to Brent Gotsch at bwg37@cornell.edu. If video or images are too large to email con­tact Brent and he will send you a link where you can upload your sub­mis­sion.

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.

How Antecedent Moisture Conditions Impact Flooding

Posted on: August 4th, 2020 by Tim Koch

The amount of pre­cip­i­ta­tion that falls dur­ing a storm obvi­ous­ly has an impact on the flood dynam­ics of rivers and streams. When it rains a lot, rivers and streams can flood dra­mat­i­cal­ly. Flood­ing from Trop­i­cal Storm Irene in 2011 is an all too famil­iar exam­ple.

Flooding in Boiceville as a results of Tropical Storm Irene

Flood­ing in Boiceville as a results of Trop­i­cal Storm Irene

Anoth­er impor­tant but less well known influ­ence on flood­ing is the antecedent mois­ture con­di­tion.

To under­stand what antecedent mois­ture con­di­tion is and how it impacts floods we need to briefly dis­cuss the water bal­ance:

     P = RO + ET + ΔS

where,

     P = pre­cip­i­ta­tion,
     RO = runoff,
     ET = evap­o­tran­spi­ra­tion, and
     ΔS = change in ground­wa­ter or soil stor­age.

This gen­er­al­ized equa­tion is say­ing that all the water that falls as rain either (1) runs off the sur­face and becomes flow in a stream, (2) is evap­o­rat­ed or tran­spired (i.e., used by plants), or (3) is stored in the ground, often in the pore spaces between soil par­ti­cles.

Soil can be thought of as a giant sponge that can absorb large amounts of water. Antecedent mois­ture con­di­tion is how wet or dry that soil stor­age sponge is when it starts to rain.

If the soil stor­age sponge is already sat­u­rat­ed before the storm hits, only a small per­cent­age of the rain­fall can be absorbed, mean­ing a large por­tion of the rain­fall total will become runoff. For exam­ple, pri­or to TS Irene in 2011 the antecedent mois­ture con­di­tion was rel­a­tive­ly high, as can be seen in the stream gage hydro­graph at Allaben (below). The orange tri­an­gles rep­re­sent the aver­age flow for that day (approx 20–30cfs). In the week lead­ing up to Irene, flow in the Eso­pus Creek was well above aver­age (blue line, 100–200 cfs), indi­cat­ing that soil mois­ture lev­els were already high when the storm hit.

Hydrograph of Esopus Creek at Allaben prior to TS Irene in 2011.

Hydro­graph of Eso­pus Creek at Allaben pri­or to TS Irene in 2011.

Con­verse­ly, if the soil stor­age sponge is most­ly dry when the storm hits a larg­er per­cent­age of the pre­cip­i­ta­tion can poten­tial­ly be absorbed, or stored in the soil sponge rather that becom­ing runoff.  Less runoff can some­times mean less dra­mat­ic flood­ing.

Today, as we await the arrival of Trop­i­cal Storm Isa­ias, antecedent mois­ture con­di­tions are rel­a­tive­ly low, with flow in the Eso­pus at Allaben hov­er­ing near the approx­i­mate aver­age val­ue for ear­ly August (20–30 cfs), far less than what it was pri­or to Irene. There is more room for water in the sponge.

Antecedent moisture conditions prior to the arrival of TS Isaias.

Antecedent mois­ture con­di­tions pri­or to the arrival of TS Isa­ias.

This does not mean that flood­ing can’t hap­pen when antecedent mois­ture con­di­tions are low. Even with a dry soil stor­age sponge, the rate of pre­cip­i­ta­tion is also an incred­i­bly impor­tant com­po­nent of flood dynam­ics. If rain falls faster than it can infil­trate into the soil, water will run off regard­less of antecedent mois­ture con­di­tions, which can cause dam­ag­ing flash floods.

The soil stor­age sponge also has a lim­it­ed capac­i­ty and can become sat­u­rat­ed quick­ly.

Please refer to our recent post on the Flash Flood Watch issued for the Ashokan Water­shed for infor­ma­tion on how to pre­pare for a flood.

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.

 

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.

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

What is a Stream Feature Inventory (SFI)?

Posted on: July 7th, 2020 by Tim Koch

Hold on tight for a bit of reverse engi­neer­ing:

The Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram (AWSMP) is a col­lab­o­ra­tion between Cor­nell Coop­er­a­tive Exten­sion of Ulster Coun­ty, the Ulster Coun­ty Soil & Water Con­ser­va­tion Dis­trict, and the New York City Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion.

All of the AWSM­P’s stream man­age­ment activ­i­ties are under­tak­en in coor­di­na­tion with a local Stake­hold­er Coun­cil. The Stake­hold­er Coun­cil uses rec­om­men­da­tions from Stream Man­age­ment Plans to guide their deci­sion mak­ing. Man­age­ment plans con­tain a com­pre­hen­sive review of stream char­ac­ter­is­tics, data, maps, and rec­om­mend­ed man­age­ment strate­gies.

The large amount of data and obser­va­tions required to write a man­age­ment plan for a stream come from a Stream Fea­ture Inven­to­ry (SFI). This is where the rub­ber meets the road, or, where the wad­ing boots meet the stream bed.

Dur­ing a SFI, AWSMP staff from the Ulster Coun­ty Soil & Water Con­ser­va­tion Dis­trict walk a stream from top to bot­tom, col­lect­ing data on erod­ing stream banks, log­jams, and infra­struc­ture. These data are then ana­lyzed and ulti­mate­ly used to write a stream man­age­ment plan.

Join AWSMP Stream Edu­ca­tor Tim Koch as he joins the assess­ment crew on a SFI of the Elk Bushkill Creek in the Town of Shan­dak­en. This SFI is part of a larg­er effort by AWSMP to assess mul­ti­ple head­wa­ter trib­u­taries of the Eso­pus Creek, includ­ing McKin­ley Hol­low Creek and Lit­tle Peck Hol­low Creek. These trib­u­taries may be con­tribut­ing exces­sive sed­i­ment loads to the upper Eso­pus  Creek in the Oliv­erea val­ley. Excess sed­i­ment sup­ply leads to aggra­da­tion, or sed­i­ment “fill­ing in” the stream, which can sub­se­quent­ly trig­ger bank ero­sion and raise flood ele­va­tions.  SFI’s of the Eso­pus Creek head­wa­ters may help to locate and pri­or­i­tize restora­tion project sites aimed at reduc­ing the sed­i­ment sup­ply reach­ing the val­ley.

Stay tuned in the com­ing months for a SFI report on the Eso­pus Creek Head­wa­ters and for a new stream man­age­ment plan for the Lit­tle Beaver Kill in the Town of Wood­stock.