Posts Tagged ‘fluvial geomorphology’

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

Join AWSMP for Praxis Conference on June 4

Posted on: May 12th, 2021 by Leslie_Zucker
Roy Schiff, Principal Water Resources Engineer and Scientist with SLR.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County Stream Educator Tim Koch will team up with Roy Schiff of SLR International (formerly Milone & Macbroom Inc) to present at the inaugural Praxis virtual conference on June 4th. The Praxis conference focuses on the practical application of theory and research to improve communities. Tim and Roy, Principal Water Resources Engineer & Scientist with SLR, will present on a geomorphic approach to culvert assessment and prioritization efforts in order to help communities mitigate flood and erosion risks. Roy was involved with the research and development of a geomorphic assessment tool. Tim has integrated the tool into a Multi-Objective Stream Crossing Assessment Protocol (MOSCAP) used to assess and prioritize over 1,000 culverts and bridges throughout Ulster County, New York. Their presentation and break-out session will focus on the research-based development of the tool, implementation of the MOSCAP in Ulster County, and information on how people can implement MOSCAP in their communities.

Tim Koch, Stream Educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County and the Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program

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.

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

Acclaimed Scientist to discuss Stream Management in the Catskills

Posted on: October 11th, 2019 by Leslie_Zucker

Dave Rosgen, Ph.D. teaches a class about fluvial geomorphology.

Dave Rosgen, Ph.D. teaches a class about fluvial geomorphology.


The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYC DEP) will host a public lecture by Dave Rosgen, Ph.D., who is widely regarded as one of the foremost stream management experts in the world. His talk, “Living with Mountain Rivers in a Changing Climate” will focus on making river communities resilient to more frequent flooding as a result of climate change. He will share best management practices for river management including his approach to river restoration known as Natural Channel Design. This approach works with the natural tendencies of rivers to reach equilibrium within the landscape they pass through.

Rosgen is a professional hydrologist and geomorphologist with 49 years of experience working in rivers. He has designed and implemented more than 70 large scale river restoration projects. His work has been featured in national publications such as National Geographic and the New York Times and he has authored more than five dozen reports, journal articles and federal agency manuals and books. He has taught short courses in watershed management and river restoration for river managers throughout the country for the past 25 years.

Since the mid-1990s, DEP has provided nearly $200 million to fund restoration of nearly 50 miles of stream in the Catskills, including more than 400 individual projects. The projects, many of which have used Rosgen’s methods, are coordinated through unique partnerships with local agencies. In Ulster County, this is done through the Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program (AWSMP) which is a partnership between Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County and the Ulster County Soil and Water Conservation District. These collaborations have yielded wide-ranging benefits to local communities and to water quality.

The talk will be held at the Overlook Lodge of Belleayre Mountain, 181 Galli Curci Road in Highmount, NY on October 21, from 7:00-9:00pm. It is free of charge and open to the public. Space is limited and registration is encouraged.