Posts Tagged ‘Ashokan Watershed Month 2019’

Thank You for Helping us Celebrate Ashokan Watershed Month

Posted on: October 3rd, 2019 by Brent Gotsch
AWSMP staff kayak on the lake of Kenneth Wilson Campground and a section of the Little Beaver Kill during Ashokan Watershed Month 2019.

AWSMP staff kayak on the lake of Kenneth Wilson Campground and a section of the Little Beaver Kill during Ashokan Watershed Month 2019.

 

The Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program would like to thank everyone for participating in our inaugural Ashokan Watershed Month. Earlier this year, AWSMP staff developed a series of ambitious and creative programs that we hoped would be of interest to a wide cross-section of the people who visit, live, and work in the Ashokan Reservoir Watershed. Now that it’s all over we believe that it was a resounding success!

Will Lytle reads from his new AWSMP funded children's book "Little One and the Water" at the Golden Notebook in Woodstock during Ashokan Watershed Month 2019.

Will Lytle reads from his new AWSMP funded children’s book “Little One and the Water” at the Golden Notebook in Woodstock during Ashokan Watershed Month 2019.

 

The programs that were offered included:

  • An En Plein Air Streamside Painting class where participants learned how to use water colors to paint a stream scene while learning about the stream features they were painting.
  • The NYC Department of Environmental Protection (NYC DEP) gave a presentation on Understanding Ashokan Reservoir Operations and explained how they are going to upgrade their infrastructure in the coming years.
  • AWSMP partnered with Rail Explorers to host a Sunset Rail Pedal along the Esopus where participants got to see the Esopus Creek from a wholly different perspective.
  • At Kenneth Wilson Campground we hosted a Watershed Paddle where participants got to learn about streams while floating on the water itself.
  • AWSMP hosted Dr. Dorothy Peteet of Columbia University and NASA who gave a presentation on Paleoclimate of the Catskills.
  • Both the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and the Ashokan-Pepacton Chapter of Trout Unlimited gave a presentation on the fisheries of the Esopus Creek and the history of fly fishing the area, respectively.
  • Ulster County and NYC DEP gave participants a sneak peek of the Ashokan Reservoir Rail Trail and a new appreciation for wetlands during our Importance of Watershed Wetlands walk.
  • AWSMP had not one, but two Book Signings and Readings of “Little One and the Water,” an environmentally themed children’s book funded by AWSMP.
  • Finally, we rounded out the month with a Riparian Buffer Planting on the Beaver Kill in the Town of Woodstock where volunteers helped revegetate a stream project site and followed it up with a Closing Party at the Phoenicia Diner.

 

A scene from "The Importance of Watershed Wetlands" walk and talk from Ashokan Watershed Month 2019.

A scene from “The Importance of Watershed Wetlands” walk and talk from Ashokan Watershed Month 2019.

 

While we may be done with Watershed Month programming you can still take part in the Ashokan Watershed Adventure, a self-guided tour of important sites throughout the watershed. Booklets with information about each of the sites are available at our office or can be downloaded. Those who do the adventure can still pick-up their prizes while they last.

Once again, thank you all for helping us celebrate what makes our watershed so unique. Be sure to check our website and social media accounts often to see future programming and happenings from AWSMP!

 

Volunteers and AWSMP help plant native riparian vegetation on the site of stream restoration project along Mink Hollow during Ashokan Watershed Month 2019.

Volunteers and AWSMP help plant native riparian vegetation on the site of a stream restoration project along Mink Hollow Rd. during Ashokan Watershed Month 2019.

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Help AWSMP plant a Riparian Buffer then join us for a Party!

Posted on: September 25th, 2019 by Brent Gotsch
Help AWSMP plant a riparian buffer this weekend and join us for the Ashokan Watershed Month Closing Party!

Help AWSMP plant a riparian buffer this weekend and join us for the Ashokan Watershed Month Closing Party!

 

The Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program (AWSMP) hopes you had great time celebrating Ashokan Watershed Month with us. Now we need your help with our last program to close out the celebrations!

Join us this Saturday, September 28, and help us plant a riparian buffer at the site of a stream restoration project in the Town of Woodstock. Meet us at the intersection of Mink Hollow Road and Van Hoagland Road near Lake Hill, NY at 10:00am. AWSMP staff will direct you where to park. From 10:00am to approximately 2:00pm we will be planting native riparian plants along a streambank. Water and some light refreshments will be on hand.

After the planting is over we hope that you can join us at the Phoenicia Diner, located at 5681 State Route 28 in Phoenicia for a Closing Party. We will be located outside in the Phoenica Diner’s “Lot.” Participants will be given a voucher to help pay for food from the Phoenicia Diner’s Airstream Food Truck. The Closing Party will be approximately one hour in length.

Participants in the planting will also receive an Ashokan Watershed Month reusable tote bag. Anyone is welcome to participate in the Planting and Closing Party but registration is required. We look forward to seeing you on Saturday to get your hands dirty helping the environment and to celebrate the end of Ashokan Watershed Month!

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Watershed Residents Rode the Rails with AWSMP and Rail Explorers

Posted on: September 13th, 2019 by Brent Gotsch
One of the many happy families participating the "Sunset Rail Pedal along the Esopus" program. Photo by Chet Karwatowski

One of the many happy families participating in the “Sunset Rail Pedal along the Esopus” program. Photo by Chet Karwatowski

 

Ashokan Watershed residents had the opportunity to experience the Esopus Creek like few others have before. On Thursday, September 12, participants came out to the Rail Explorers Catskill Division in Phoenicia to have the unique experience of riding a Rail Explorers rail car and also learn about the Esopus Creek. After some opening remarks from AWSMP and a safety talk from Rail Explorers, participants set out on the 8-mile round trip tour on railroad tracks that mostly parallel the Esopus Creek. During a regular Rail Explorers tour, participants make only one stop to turn the cars around for the return journey. AWSMP worked with Rail Explorers to find two additional stops so educators could talk about stream management topics.

Participants in the "Sunset Rail Pedal along the Esopus" listen to Aaron Bennett of the Ulster County Department of the Environment talk about flood mitigation actions occurring near the Route 28 Bridge (in background) in Mount Tremper. Photo by Chet Karwatowski

Participants in the “Sunset Rail Pedal along the Esopus” listen to Aaron Bennett of the Ulster County Department of the Environment talk about flood mitigation actions occurring near the Route 28 Bridge (in background) in Mount Tremper. Photo by Chet Karwatowski

 

The first stop was roughly across the the Route 28 Bridge in Mount Tremper where Aaron Bennett of the Ulster County Department of the Environment spoke about the flood mitigation activities going on there. He explained about how the NYS Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) is working with the the Town of Shandaken to help make that area less susceptible to flooding. NYSDOT is replacing the Mount Tremper Bridge with a larger and wider span that will lower flood elevations in the area. To do this they are working with the Town of Shandaken and the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (NYC DEP) to acquire properties in that area so this project can be completed. The bridge is expected to be replaced beginning next year and be completed in 2021. The new bridge will be constructed immediately downstream of the old one so no detour will be necessary during construction.

Adam Doan of the Ulster County Soil and Water Conservation District talks about stream assessment protocols during the "Sunset Rail Pedal along the Esopus" program.

Adam Doan of the Ulster County Soil and Water Conservation District talks about stream assessment during the “Sunset Rail Pedal along the Esopus” program.

 

At the turnaround location, Adam Doan of the Ulster County Soil and Water Conservation District spoke about the stream assessment work that AWSMP does. He explained how AWSMP technicians walk a stream and collect data and how that data is used to make management recommendations. He also talked about the Catskill Streams Buffer Initiative (CSBI) program and how qualifying landowners can access free native riparian plants to revegetate their streambanks. Adam described studies and restoration projects done in the Stony Clove Creek (a tributary to the Esopus Creek) to improve stream stability and water quality.

Adam Doan Presents along Esopus Creek

Adam Doan of the Ulster County Soil and Water Conservation District talks about erosion, road-stream crossings, and the washout of the rail tracks during Tropical Storm Irene during the “Rail Pedal Along the Esopus” program.

 

On the return leg of the trip, both Adam and Aaron talked about the washout of the train tracks that occurred near the Phoenicia Plaza on Route 28 and the process of erosion. They explained the importance of good road-stream crossings and how AWSMP technicians have assessed public crossings in the watershed. They also mentioned the importance of wood in the floodplain and the habitat and stability that it provides to the stream.

Finally, at the end of the trip, participants were invited to a short reception at the nearby Empire State Railway Museum where each participant received a reusable tote bag and additional educational material.

This program was a part of Ashokan Watershed Month which continues throughout the month of September. Upcoming programs include a “Watershed Paddle” at Kenneth Wilson Campground and a Book Signing and Reading in Woodstock. Please visit out Ashokan Watershed Month webpage for additional information about this and other upcoming events.

Sunset over Esopus Creek

A sunset over the Esopus during the “Sunset Rail Pedal along the Esopus” program.

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Ashokan Watershed Residents Learn about Watershed Infrastructure

Posted on: September 10th, 2019 by Brent Gotsch
Adam Bosch, Director of Public Affairs for the NYC Department of Environmental Protection, gives a presentation on NYC watershed infrastructure during the "Understanding Ashokan Reservoir Operations" program.

Adam Bosch, Director of Public Affairs for the NYC Department of Environmental Protection, gives a presentation on NYC watershed infrastructure during the “Understanding Ashokan Reservoir Operations” program.

 

Did you know the largest public works project in the Catskills in more than 50 years is being planned? Attendees learned this and more about how water makes the 92-mile journey from upstate New York to New York City during the “Understanding Ashokan Reservoir Operations” program hosted by AWSMP on Monday, September 9. That evening, NYC Department of Environmental Protection (NYC DEP) Director of Public Affairs Adam Bosch gave a detailed presentation on the history of NYC’s watershed, current operations, and the future plans that NYC DEP has to upgrade that infrastructure.

He started off with a historical overview of NYC’s water supply, from the earliest wells that the city used, to the engineering marvels that are the Catskill and Delaware Systems. He went on to describe the important work done by hundreds of NYC DEP employees that work to ensure that clean water is delivered to NYC residents. These include scientists that analyze thousands of water samples each year to ensure there are no harmful pathogens in the water, police forces that protect the water supply, maintenance crews that ensure the infrastructure is in good working order, engineers who design new infrastructure projects, and other efforts.

Of particular note, he talked about how NYC DEP plans to rehabilitate the Catskill Aqueduct, which extends about 74 miles from the Ashokan Reservoir to the Kensico Reservoir in Westchester County. Historically, this aqueduct has had a capacity of 660 million gallons of water a day but has been reduced to approximately 590 million gallons a day due to a buildup of biofilms. Biofilms are harmless bacteria that have filaments that feed off of the naturally occurring iron and manganese in the water. Their growth has created friction in the aqueduct that slows the flow of water. Between 2019 and 2020, NYC is planning on periodically shutting down the aqueduct and sending crews down to remove the biofilm.

He ended his presentation by talking about the Ashokan Century Program. This will be an approximately 10-year, $1 billion project to begin in 2023. It will be the largest public works project in the Catskills in more than 50 years. It will include upgrades in and around the Ashokan Reservoir including the rehabilitation of the Olivebridge dam and dikes, the spillway, dividing weir bridge, intake chambers, and J. Waldo Smith Monument.

Anyone interested in the presentation can view it by clicking this link.

This program was part of Ashokan Watershed Month, which is a series of programs running throughout the month of September. Our next program, the “Sunset Rail Pedal along the Esopus,” will be this Thursday, September 12. Other upcoming programs include a “Watershed Paddle” on Saturday, September 14 as well as a “Book Signing and Reading” also on September 14. Please visit our webpage devoted to Ashokan Watershed Month for more information on these and other upcoming programs for the month.

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