Posts Tagged ‘Ashokan Watershed’

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.

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 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 or 845–688-3047 ext. 100.

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.


New Video on Stream Channel Stability

Posted on: May 6th, 2020 by Tim Koch

The AWSMP office might be physically closed, but our education staff have been hard at work generating online stream based content for both youth and adults.

AWSMP Educators Matt Savatgy, Brent, Gotsch, Tim Koch, and Amanda Cabanillas.

AWSMP Educators (from left to right) Matt Savatgy, Brent Gotsch, Tim Koch, and Amanda Cabanillas during a snowshoe stream walk in 2019.


AWSMP Stream Educator Tim Koch has just released a new video on stream channel stability: what it is, and why it is important to maintain and improve the stability of our rivers and streams. This 9-minute video is meant for landowners, municipal officials, conservation advisory council members, and anyone else interested in or involved in stream management.


This video can also be viewed directly from AWSMP’s YouTube Channel.

AWSMP Watershed Youth Educator Matt Savatgy and Program Assistant Amanda Cabanillas are currently producing a series of educational videos and at-home activities for students. Follow along at home as they discuss different types of rocks, assess a culvert, and investigate stream features in a channel cross-section.


Screenshot of CCE Ulster Youth Education Video Series Website

Screenshot of CCE Ulster Youth Science Education Video Series Website


The online science series can be found at the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County website and on the AWSMP website under Videos.

Check back with us in the coming weeks, especially if you are a streamside landowner or own property in the Special Flood Hazard Area as Resource Educator Brent Gotsch will be producing a series of short videos on floodplains, floodproofing, and all things flood insurance. In these upcoming videos, Brent will teach viewers how to read a flood insurance rate map (FIRM) and the workings of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) among other flood related topics.

As always, our education and technical staff are available to answer any stream, floodplain, or riparian buffer related questions! Call the AWSMP office main line at (845) 688-3047 for assistance or email

Leprechaun Bees in Search of Native Plant Gold!

Posted on: March 23rd, 2018 by Leslie_Zucker

It’s spring now and because St. Patrick’s Day just passed, we are taking a look at one of nature’s smallest leprechauns…. Augochloropsis metallica, a type of Sweat Bee. Native and metallic green, metallica is smaller than a Honey Bee!

Augochloropsis metallica (head)

Augochloropsis metallica (head)

Since these bees are so small, it takes a keen eye to spot them. Augochoropsis metallica is found throughout the United States, from Ontario to Florida, and as far west as Arizona! They are usually around from March until November, with their fluorescent emerald green bodies shimmering in the daylight.

Augochloropsis metallica (back)

Augochloropsis metallica (back)

Augochloropsis metallica (side)

Augochloropsis metallica (side)

These beautifully tiny native bees have been sighted in two locations around the Ashokan Watershed, Stony Clove Creek in Greene County, and in Oliverea of Ulster County! What makes this bee so special is that it plays a crucial role in pollinating our native plants, providing a fighting chance for our native plant species to stand up against invasive plant species.

A zoomed-in focus of Augochloropsis metallica sightings!  Note:  Stony Clove Creek & Oliverea!

A zoomed-in focus of Augochloropsis metallica sightings! Note: Stony Clove Creek & Oliverea!

If you want to try and see the emerald metallica bee, make sure to plant native plants in and around your yard!

To purchase your plants locally, the Ulster County Soil and Water Conservation District will be holding their annual Bare Root Seedling Sale in April! Orders must be placed by Friday, March 30th using this order form, with pick-up dates being held on Wednesday April 18th at Ulster County Fairgrounds in New Paltz and Friday April 20th at Ulster County Department of Public Works in Kingston. If you miss the deadline, left-over single stem stock is usually available for walk-up purchase at the two locations listed above.

Happy planting, and thank you for supporting the bees!


Stream Explorers, Register Now!

Posted on: March 19th, 2018 by Leslie_Zucker

Stream Explorers of the Ashokan Watershed, Grades 3 through 7, are invited to take part in this year’s Stream Explorers Youth Adventure on Saturday, April 14th! The Youth Adventure will run from 8:30am to 4:30pm at the Ashokan Cen­ter in Olive­bridge, NY. Stream Explorers can expect to enjoy a fun-filled, action-packed day in the outdoors learning about how streams work, investigating stream ecosystems, and learning to use science tools to assess stream health! A hearty lunch, as well as morning and afternoon snacks will be provided.

The Earlybird registration deadline has ended, but regular registration is still available.

Space is limited, so don’t delay!

Register by April 6th here and check out our brochure for more information!

National Invasive Species Awareness Week – Emerald Ash Borer

Posted on: February 28th, 2018 by Leslie_Zucker

Happy Wednesday! On this third day of National Invasive Species Awareness Week, we’re taking a closer look at the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB).

According to the NYS DEC, The EAB is a beetle from Asia that was first found in Michigan in 2002. Sadly, the EAB infests and eventually kills North American Ash tree species, making every native Ash tree susceptible to infestation.

Let’s get a closer look!

The EAB is very small, measuring, at most, 0.5 inches long and 0.125 inches wide. The adults have a shimmering emerald green body with a copper or purple abdomen on it’s underside. You’ll often see these pests from May through September, but their prime activity months are June and July. If you pass by an Ash tree, you will most likely see D-shaped exit holes in the branches and trunk of trees. Other signs of infection include the yellowing and browning of tree leaves and less tree canopy present. Within 2 to 4 years, the Ash trees will succumb to the EAB infestation.

ID the Emerald Ash Borer. photo courtesy of NYIS

ID the Emerald Ash Borer.
photo courtesy of NYIS

Emerald Ash Borer Larva inside an Ash tree. photo courtesy of Emerald Ash Borer Information Network

Emerald Ash Borer Larva inside an Ash tree.
photo courtesy of Emerald Ash Borer Information Network

Emerald Ash Borer Damage to an Ash tree. photo courtesy of Woodworking Network

Emerald Ash Borer Damage to an Ash tree.
photo courtesy of Woodworking Network

The EAB is found throughout the Eastern to Central United States and Eastern Canada. In New York, the first infestation of EAB was sighted in Cattaraugus County in 2009. It then spread to the Hudson River Valley, and continued on to more than 30 counties. Infestations were most recently found in Franklin and St. Lawrence Counties in 2017.

Map of Emerald Ash Borer Locations. courtesy of NYS DEC

Map of Emerald Ash Borer Locations.
courtesy of NYS DEC

 What can you do?

Review this EAB Early Detection Brochure. If you believe you have an Emerald Ash Borer infestation and are outside of the known infestation areas, call the Department of Forest Health Information line (1-866-640-0652).


Keep up with us this week in honor of National Invasive Species Awareness Week and check back tomorrow to learn about a different Invasive Species!

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National Invasive Species Awareness Week 2018 – Japanese Knotweed

Posted on: February 26th, 2018 by Leslie_Zucker

February 26th marks the beginning of National Invasive Species Awareness Week! Throughout this week, until March 2nd, we will be exploring different invasive species present within our watershed. To start off this week, we must first ask ourselves, “What is an invasive species?”. An invasive species is a species that is non-native to an ecosystem and has the potential to cause environmental harm to an area. Invasive species often out-compete native species, giving native species little chance for survival; this includes both terrestrial and aquatic plants and animals.

Japanese Knotweed within the Watershed

Japanese Knotweed within the Watershed

The first invasive species we’ll look at is Japanese Knotweed. This monster of a plant came to the U.S. as an ornamental plant in the 1800’s from Eastern Asia. Knotweed is identified by its large heart-shaped leaves, hollow bamboo-like stalks, and clusters of white or cream colored flowers. It is often found near streams or rivers and it can withstand low-light, high temperatures, drought, and poor soil quality, making this invasive resilient to many different types of environments. Knotweed can grow up to 15 feet tall, with deep rhizomes (roots) extending into the ground, making it very difficult and timely to eradicate.

Photo of Japanese Knotweed leaves & flowers courtesy of

Photo of Japanese Knotweed leaves & flowers courtesy of

Collaboration and coordination from as many people and organizations as possible is the best way to tackle Japanese Knotweed. In order to control it, one must be diligent. The Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership (CRISP) recommends continuous manual removal of Knotweed approximately 2-3 times each year for at least 3 years, or until it is eradicated. According to New York Invasive Species Information (NYIS), mowing or cutting of Japanese Knotweed will actually spread the plant, rather than contain it. For those who would like to use herbicides on large volumes of Knotweed, call your local CCE or Soil and Water Conservation District office to get more information on chemical regulations and safety precautions in your region.


Videos regarding Invasive Species in New York State:

Prevent the Spread of Invasive Species

Get to Know Invasive Plants


Follow us this week as we uncover more invasive species in our Ashokan Watershed! FacebookTwitterInstagram




AWSMP Tries Out the W.A.V.E.

Posted on: September 29th, 2017 by Leslie_Zucker

The importance of water quality has always been a top priority for watershed residents and the stream management program as it works with communities to manage streams. So how do we measure the effects of stream management on water quality? One method is macroinvertebrate sampling. Macroinvertebrates are insects present within our streams that are visible to the naked eye: Stoneflies, Mayflies, and Caddisflies, just to name a few!

Recently, AWSMP staff members Samantha Kahl with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County, and Allison Lent, Stream Assessment Coordinator, and Tiffany Runge, Watershed Technician with Ulster County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) got outside to monitor aquatic insects and do the WAVE! Actually, it’s W.A.V.E. — Water Assessments by Volunteer Evaluators. This program is run by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Volunteers are trained to take macroinvertebrate samples from streams for identification at the DEC office. This practice helps determine stream segments that are potentially impaired (e.g. polluted or disturbed). Macroinvertebrates are sensitive to water quality, so if pollution-tolerant species are present and others are not, we may have an impaired stream segment that needs further monitoring. If a variety of sensitive species are abundant, it’s usually a good indicator for high water quality.

Case-making Caddisfly larva found attached to a rock in a segment of Woodland Creek.

Case-making Caddisfly larva found attached to a rock in a segment of Woodland Valley Creek.

Our purpose of going into the field was to get a sense of the water quality at a potential Woodland Valley Creek restoration site. Knowing the water conditions prior to restoration provides a better sense of how restoration efforts affect the stream, allowing project managers to mitigate future restoration projects if need be. Our purpose also included testing out W.A.V.E. program sampling methods. The Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program is interested in starting a W.A.V.E. program for local communities to take part in. Feel free to fill out this short survey regarding your availability for a potential W.A.V.E. program start-up; any feedback is appreciated! And don’t forget to check back soon for more event and volunteer information at our website.

Tiffany Runge, Watershed Technician (left), and Allison Lent, Stream Assessment Coordinator (right), of the Ulster County Soil and Water Conservation District sorting through leaf litter for macroinvertebrate sampling on the banks of Woodland Creek.

Ulster County SWCD’s Tiffany Runge (left) and Allison Lent (right) sort through leaf litter looking for macroinvertebrates on the banks of Woodland Valley Creek.

Out With The Invasive, In With The Native

Posted on: September 12th, 2016 by Leslie_Zucker

On Saturday, September 10th the Catskill Interpretive Center (CIC) held a volunteer invasive pull event on their property. The area is to be prepared for a Riparian Buffer Demonstration project lead by the Catskill Streams Buffer Initiative (CSBI). The CIC received funding from the Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program (AWSMP) and CSBI to remove the invasive species, replace them with native trees and shrubs, and create educational material to inform the community on the importance of streamside buffers.

Bobby Taylor, CSBI Coordinator, teaching the volunteers how to identify common riparian invasive plant species.

Our day started off with a short pre-event rain storm that helped to cool off the previous mugginess of the day. Once all of the volunteers gathered, CSBI coordinator Bobby Taylor held an educational talk about invasive species’ role in the environment and different important management options. We were pleased to learn just how much our participants already know about invasives and how passionate they are about limiting invasive species spread and managing them on their own properties. Our conversations touched on just how easily invasive species outcompete native species and decrease biodiversity and how they can drastically affect native organisms that rely on native habitat. It is always inspiring to interact with community members who are dealing with and care about the same issues we are tackling.

With shovels, pickaxes, uprooters, bugspray, and sheer determination in hand, the volunteers set out with one mission; to get those pesky plants out! And boy did that determination go a long way! We were utterly blown away at how great of a team the volunteers made and how much material we were able to clear. As our day wound down we had a lovely picnic lunch, provided by the CIC, and got to sit down with the volunteers and get to know them a bit. Our productive day ended with good food and great company!

Volunteers identify and pull invasive species at the Riparian Buffer Demonstration project site at the CIC.

At the root of the pull project and the impending riparian restoration in the fall, is the importance of stream buffers to water quality, habitat, and floodplain stability.  A small ephemeral stream, one that has flowing water during and following a rain fall or snow melt event, runs through the back of the CIC property; adjacent to the stream is the special zone called the floodplain. These floodplains are highly susceptible to invasive species because seeds and fragments of plant material can so easily be carried by flowing water and deposited downstream.

This issue is far from only being a streamside problem. Many people, groups, and even government agencies deal with invasive species management on a daily basis. It takes all members of a community to really stop the invasion and eliminate the future introduction of nonnative and invasive species. Our amazing group of volunteers was not only hardworking, but also enthusiastic about environmental protection, continuing their own fight against invasives on their properties, and helping to educate others to do the same.

CSBI, AWSMP,the CIC, and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation wants to thank all those who participated and made our Invasive Pull Event a success on all levels!

If you would like to learn more about invasive species, what you can do, or about the support available to streamside landowners please visit the CSBI website at or contact CSBI Coordinator Bobby Taylor at If you would like to learn more about the Ashokan Watershed please visit AWSMP’s website at or contact us at 845 688 3047.