Posts Tagged ‘esopus creek’

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

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.

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 The historical practice of dredging has been replaced by engineered sediment management.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

Happy New Year! (but not New Water Year)

Posted on: January 4th, 2022 by Tim Koch

Welcome to the first week of 2022, at least according to your desk calendar.

For hydrologists, we are already one quarter of the way through the 2022 water year, which began on October 1, 2021.

In the United States, hydrologic water years run from October 1st through September 30th, and are named by the calendar year in which it ends. So, the 2021 water year ended on September 30th 2021 and the 2022 water year began on October 1st, 2021.


There are a couple hydrological things happening in early autumn that warrant celebrating New Water Year’s Day on October 1st.

The first involves snow. Particularly in high mountain settings, snow that falls from October through December might not melt and become stream flow until spring the following year. If water years were aligned with the calendar, the annual water budget would not be balanced. The hydrologic income (i.e., annual precipitation) would not equal hydrologic expenditures. A simplified water budget can be expressed as:

P = RO + ET + ΔS


P = precipitation,

RO = runoff (stream flow),

ET = evapotranspirtation (combined evaporation and transpiration from plants), and

ΔS = change in soil storage (groundwater).

The second reason for celebrating New Water Year’s Day on October 1st instead of January 1st is stream flow. On average, early autumn is when stream flow is at its lowest. The blue line in the image below shows the mean daily discharge of the Esopus Creek at Allaben for water years 2014-2021 (October 1, 2013 to September 30, 2021). The vertical red lines represent October 1st of each year.

It is clear in this chart that early autumn is typically when the Esopus Creek is at its lowest flow of the year. The hot summer growing season, when evaporation and transpiration were at their peaks, has depleted the groundwater storage. Stream baseflow decreases in response to the lowering of the groundwater table. This makes October 1st the perfect time to celebrate New Water Year’s Day.

Monday’s Bankfull Flows

Posted on: December 4th, 2020 by Tim Koch

Monday November 30th, 2020 was a rainy day in the Ashokan watershed. A home rain gauge in Boiceville measured approximately 4 inches over the course of the day.

In response to the significant precipitation the Beaver Kill, Little Beaver Kill, Bushkill, and Esopus Creek at Cold Brook reached bankfull discharge. Bankfull discharge is the stream flow that completely fills the channel in a geomorphically stable stream. Any flow that exceeds bankfull will put water onto the adjacent floodplain.

Cross section of a geomorphically stable stream where the entire channel is filled during a bankfull flow.

Streams that have berms or levees, are incised, or otherwise unstable do not have such a clear relationship between bankfull discharge and channel geometry.

In the Northeast, a bankfull or greater flow happens once every 1.5 years, on average. However, “on average” means that some years see multiple bankfull events while others have none. Monday’s event was the second time in 2020 that the Little Beaver Kill has equaled or exceeded its bankfull discharge of 909 cubic feet per second (cfs).

2020 Hydrograph of the Little Beaver Kill. From USGS.

Bankfull flow events are important because over time, these flows move more sediment than any other discharge, larger or smaller. This is because bankfull flows happen regularly, every 1.5 years on average, as opposed to big floods that move a lot of sediment but are more infrequent.

Due to the geomorphic importance of bankfull discharge events, the AWSMP regularly visits stream restoration sites, culvert replacement projects, and other stream reaches following bankfull events to take photographs and monitor any changes observed in the channel.

AWSMP staff from the Ulster County Soil & Water Conservation District inspect a restoration site on Woodland Creek following a bankfull flow in November 2019. Photo by Tim Koch.

Plein-air Streamside Painting Kicked Off Ashokan Watershed Month

Posted on: September 5th, 2019 by Tim Koch

Plein-air painting participants show off their work on the banks of the Esopus.

Plein-air painting participants show off their work on the banks of the Esopus.

Ashokan Watershed Month officially kicked off yesterday with the Plein-air Streamside Painting workshop. Plein-air means “outdoors” in French, and yesterday 16 participants met at the Full Moon Resort in Big Indian to paint the Esopus Creek, en plein-air.

AWSMP Stream Educator Tim Koch kicked things off with a discussion of the stream features in the scene and how stream process may inform painting technique. For example, pools are stream features with deep, flat water that readily reflect the sky and any overhanging riparian vegetation. Riffles on the other hand are shallow and turbulent features where portraying movement is a key element of stream painting. Many streams have repeating riffle-pool sequences that create a visually appealing pattern – perfect for painting.

AWSMP Stream Educator Tim Koch gets excited talking about stream features.

AWSMP Stream Educator Tim Koch gets excited talking about stream features.

Local artist and painting instructor Joyce Washor then led students through the concepts of limited color theory, scene composition, perspective, and water color brush techniques.

Artist Joyce Washor demonstrates the "wet on wet" water color painting technique.

Artist Joyce Washor demonstrates the “wet on wet” water color painting technique.

Using Joyce’s pencil sketch as a guide, each student brought the Esopus Creek scene to life in their unique way.


Despite the threat of rain, a great time was had by all integrating stream science and art.

Next up for Ashokan Watershed Month is a presentation on Ashokan Reservoir Operations given by Adam Bosch, Director of Public Affairs for the NYC DEP. This popular talk will be held at the AWSMP Office on Monday, September 9th from 6-8pm. Visit AWSMP’s Ashokan Watershed Month webpage to register.