Around the Watershed: News and Events

Register for Toddlers and Tributaries

Posted on: July 27th, 2022 by Leslie_Zucker

Join AWSMP for our 2022 Toddlers & Tributaries event! This event is designed for children ages 18 months to 5 years old. As a part of our program, participants will engage in watershed science-based activities and crafts in a safe, controlled outdoor setting.

The event takes place on Monday, August 15th 2022 from 9am-11am and is free of charge. It will be held at the Kenneth L. Wilson Campground located at 859 Wittenberg Rd, Mt Tremper, NY.

This event 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.

  • Parents/guardians and children must wear close-toed shoes as gear will not be available for use. 
  • Parents/guardians must always be within arm’s reach of their child for the duration of this event.
  • Parents/guardians must comply to a 1-1 ratio between children and parents/guardians if they plan on bringing additional children.

Registration for this event is required. Please visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/8ZXY282 to register!

The Trib Now Available

Posted on: August 1st, 2022 by Leslie_Zucker

The summer edition of The Trib is now available, with news on stream management from around the Ashokan Reservoir watershed. This newsletter contains links to new publications for stream managers. Learn about a big stream restoration project underway on the Stony Clove Creek north of Lanesville. See a listing of other news and summer events. The full length print edition of the Esopus Creek News will return this fall. To sign up for either the email or print version, contact info@ashokanstreams.org.

Three people examine a stream channel with measuring tape and clipboards in hand
The AWSMP stream assessment field crew conducting a “Stream Feature Inventory” on the Panther Kill stream.

Now Hiring for AWSMP

Posted on: July 27th, 2022 by Leslie_Zucker

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County (CCEUC) is seeking a science education and communications professional to fill the role of Watershed Educator in Ulster County. 

The primary focus of the Watershed Educator’s work will be to develop and deliver stream and floodplain education programs to adult audiences, including members of the general watershed public, landowners, and local municipal officials. 

The Watershed Educator’s primary work location will be the Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program (AWSMP) office in Shokan, NY. Half the position’s time will be spent working to deliver the AWSMP in the NYC Water Supply Watershed in the Catskills region of northwest Ulster County. The remainder of time will be worked on projects outside the NYC Watershed from CCEUC’s primary office in Kingston, NY. Partial work from home arrangements are possible, but the Educator must be able to travel easily within Ulster County.

Click here to learn more and apply by August 22: https://cornell.wd1.myworkdayjobs.com/en-US/CCECareerPage/job/New-York-State-Other/Watershed-Educator—Shokan–NY_WDR-00032596

Stream Restoration Underway in Stony Clove Creek above Jansen Rd

Posted on: July 18th, 2022 by Leslie_Zucker

A section of the Stony Clove Creek that is a substantial source of fine sediment has become the latest in a series of stream restoration projects to be constructed by the Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program.

The project is located about a mile north of Lanesville in Greene County along State Route 214. The Stony Clove Creek is the largest tributary to the upper Esopus Creek, which supplies water to the Ashokan Reservoir, a component of New York City’s drinking water supply. 

The construction bid was won by Kingston Equipment Rental, Inc., also known as Baker Brothers Excavating. 

Construction extends along 1,600 feet of stream length and will cost just over $2 million, making this one of the largest stream restoration projects completed in the Ashokan watershed.

Construction of the Stony Clove Creek stream restoration project began in June and will end by September 2022 if high flows don’t cause delays. 

Fine sediments found on site cloud drinking water and lead to additional treatment costs and health hazards. Fines can also deposit on stream bottoms and smother habitat for aquatic organisms.

The project designers used Ground Penetrating Radar to determine the depth of stream-deposited soils throughout the project site. At some locations “lacustrine” (or glacial lake) clay was found only six inches below the ground surface.

Designers chose a new course for the channel where clay was found over four feet below the surface, aligning with the path of a historically stable channel. The Ulster County Soil and Water Conservation District hired SLR Engineering to develop the project design.

Joe Simorelli of Kingston Equipment Rental uses a survey grade Global Positioning System and red paint to mark the future path of the stream channel.

The design for this site was challenging because of the fast water velocities combined with abundant sediment deposition. But a wide valley at the site gave project designers more room to work when choosing a new channel alignment.

A truck operated by Kingston Equipment Rental delivers very large rocks needed to withstand fast stream velocities without moving and stabilize the stream bed.

The stream channel will be reshaped and relocated by project end. Grading will soften the steepest banks to arrest active slope failures. Instream rock riffles and large wood revetments will be installed to stabilize the channel bed and banks.

These features naturally occur in Catskill streams and provide structure for fish habitat. The final important step will be to plant and restore native trees and shrubs to “bioengineer” long-term bank protection.

Ulster County SWCD stream project manager Adam Doan looks at a pipe that will carry the entire stream flow past the active construction zone to protect downstream waters from sediment that could be generated during construction activities.

After the stream flow is diverted into a bypass pipe around the construction site, Cory Beesmer with Kingston Equipment Rental scoured the remaining pools of water with a bucket in hand looking for slimy sculpin, longnose dace, and trout left behind. The stranded fish were rescued and transported downstream.

Cory Beesmer holds a rescued brown trout.

The downstream end of the restored stream channel will hook into a section of the Stony Clove Creek featuring a highly stable transverse sediment bar and overhanging vegetation that shades and cools the stream during summer heat.

The Stony Clove Creek at the downstream end of the project about a mile north of Lanesville in Greene County along State Route 214.

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

For more information about this stream restoration project, contact the AWSMP at (845) 688-3047.

AWSMP Hosts a Multi-Objective Stream Crossing Assessment Protocol (MOSCAP) Training

Posted on: June 13th, 2022 by Tim Koch

Here at AWSMP, the stream becomes a classroom where information flows freely.

On May 23 – 26, CCE Educator Tim Koch led a multi-day training on the Multi-Objective Stream Crossing Assessment Protocol (MOSCAP), a unique culvert and bridge assessment methodology developed and piloted in the Ashokan Reservoir watershed. Fourteen participants from county, regional, and state agencies learned field methods that integrate geomorphic compatibility, aquatic organism passage, and structural condition into culvert and bridge assessments.

MOSCAP training attendees assessing a culvert on an unnamed tributary of the Little Beaver Kill. MOSCAP surveys simultaneously assess geomorphic compatibility, structural condition, and aquatic organism passage.

To apply these methods, the class waded into streams at road-crossing locations, working their way through an entire MOSCAP field assessment at several sites. The assessments included measuring structure dimensions and making observations about stream channel and floodplain conditions. Data collected in the field are used to prioritize the road-stream crossings that would have the greatest positive impact if replaced. This includes improvements to stream channel stability, structural resilience, and improved upstream passage for aquatic and riparian organisms.

Trainees measured the active width of the stream channel and make observations about the size and distribution of sediment as part of a MOSCAP assessment.

The skills learned in this training will help area professionals assess and maintain road crossings over streams while protecting water quality, habitat, and building resilience to floods.

Another MOSCAP field methods training is being planned for later this year, and MOSCAP training documents are currently available upon request. Contact Tim Koch by email at tk545@cornell.edu

Funding Available for Community Stream Stewardship Projects

Posted on: June 2nd, 2022 by Leslie_Zucker

The Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program is now accepting Stream Management Implementation Program (SMIP) funding applications through June 24, 2022. Eli­gi­ble appli­cants include local, county, state, or fed­eral gov­ern­ment agen­cies, 501©(3) orga­ni­za­tions, sec­ondary school dis­tricts, col­leges or uni­ver­si­ties. For-profit firms or institutions may submit funding applications in the Research, Assessment and Monitoring category only.

A total $700,000 is available for award through June 30, 2023 in the categories of: Planning; Education; Research, Assessment, and Monitoring; Stream-Related Public Infrastructure Improvement; Flood Hazard Mitigation; and Stream Restoration.

Separate funding is available for implementation projects recommended in a completed and town-accepted Local Flood Analysis. Applications are accepted in this category at any time.

To download the SMIP application form and instructions, visit: https://ashokanstreams.org/projects-funding/

The next SMIP funding round will be announced in September 2022.

Birds are on the move!

Posted on: May 5th, 2022 by Leslie_Zucker

You may have noticed the new sounds and activities of birds in recent days. That’s because bird migration is fully underway and birds are arriving in the watershed daily. To get a sense of how bird migration is progressing visit the BirdCast Migration Dashboard at https://dashboard.birdcast.info/region/US-NY-111. They estimate overnight from Wednesday to Friday, 10,900 birds crossed Ulster County!

The site provides a species list of expected nocturnal migrants, but you can see and hear for yourself who is arriving with a trusty pair of binoculars and a bird identification website or book. To build your identification skills, try the All About Birds guide at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Trails or woodlands with streams are perfect places to watch birds. Some birds prefer streamside habitat and a higher diversity of birds may be found near streams. You can protect habitat for our feathered friends by planting Catskill native species near streams. Native plants and birds evolved together and need each other!

To learn more and get free advise on how to restore or enhance habitat near streams, call the stream program office at 845-688-3047 or contact bobby.taylor@ashokanstreams.org. The Catskill Streams Buffer Initiative helps enrolled landowners develop streamside planting plans and provides free plants and planting assistance.

Yellow Warbler perched on branch
The Yellow Warbler favors brushy habitat near water.

Special thanks to Audubon member Larry Federman for alerting us to the BirdCast dashboard!

Esopus Creek News Just Released!

Posted on: March 3rd, 2022 by Leslie_Zucker

A new edition of the Esopus Creek News newsletter is in the mail to watershed residents. You can read a digital version of the newsletter here. In this issue we talk about methods for managing sediment where it causes problems by accumulating in stream channels. The historical practice of dredging has been replaced by engineered sediment management. Newer methods let the stream do as much of the work as possible. This lowers the cost of managing sediment over the long-term, particularly where sediment interferes with bridges and culverts. We give the Phoenicia Main Street bridge as an example. This edition also includes information on risk and flood insurance for property owners at some distance from the active stream channel. They may not want to give up worrying about flood damage! And we recognize local towns and Ulster County for the great work they accomplished managing streams and reducing flood risks in 2021. For youth we feature a student video chock full of fun facts about streams that all ages can enjoy. Plus, learn more about one of the most adorable stream-loving animals: otters!

River Otter by Eric Johnston

Stream Management Funding Available

Posted on: February 17th, 2022 by Leslie_Zucker

Government agencies, non-profit organizations, schools, and universities may now apply to the Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program (AWSMP) for stream management grants through March 9, 2022. 

Grant categories include education, research, planning, infrastructure improvement, and stream restoration. Projects must be located in the Ashokan Reservoir watershed. For more information and application materials, visit the Stream Management Implementation Program grant website https://ashokanstreams.org/projects-funding/.

Funding for the Stream Management Implementation Program is provided by the NYC Department of Environmental Protection and administered by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County. The Ulster County Soil and Water Conservation District provides technical assistance.

For more information or to schedule a site visit, contact the AWSMP at (845) 688-3047 or info@ashokanstreams.org.

A stream restoration site in woodland valley
A stream restoration site in Woodland Valley.

Register Now for Snow Shoe Stream Walk!

Posted on: January 13th, 2022 by Leslie_Zucker
People snow shoeing on a woodland trail

Register now for a Winter Snowshoe Stream Walk with the Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program (AWSMP) along the Little Beaver Kill, located at the Kenneth Wilson Campground Nature Trail, 859 Wittenberg Road, Mount Tremper, NY 12457. 

There will be two snowshoe sessions at 10:00 am to 12:30 pm and 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm on Saturday, February 5, 2022. If there is not enough snow for snowshoeing on this date then the “no-snow date” will be Saturday, February 12, 2022.

Participants will meet at the Kenneth Wilson Campground parking area by 10:00 am (first session) or 1:00 pm (second session).

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. Participants must be at least 8 years of age or older to attend, and children must be accompanied by an adult

Covid-19 safety protocols will be in place. Outdoor masking is not required where physical distancing can be maintained. Proof of vaccination or a negative rapid test the day of the event is required for participation. Contact Dani White if you have any special needs at daw287@cornell.edu or 845–688-3047 ext. 100.

Stream partially covered with snow and ice

Snowshoes and walking poles will be provided, though participants are encouraged to bring their own gear. Those with limited or no experience snowshoeing are encouraged to attend. Instruction on how to snowshoe properly and safely will be given before venturing out on the trail.

Each walk session will be approximately 2 hours in length on NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) Wild Forest land. During the walk, educators from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County will share information about local streams and protecting water resources, and we will investigate signs of local wildlife. There will be frequent stops to point out interesting features of the stream or to discuss environmental topics.

The event is free of charge but space is limited. Please register early to hold your spot. Reg­is­ter online or contact Dani White at the AWSMP office at daw287@cornell.edu or 845–688-3047 ext. 100.

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