Posts Tagged ‘Riparian’

CSBI Ready for Fall Plantings

Posted on: October 14th, 2020 by Brent Gotsch
AWSMP Plant Mate­r­i­al Cen­ter, Fall 2020. Pho­to by Bob­by Tay­lor.

If some­one were to step into the back­yard of the Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram (AWSMP) you could for­give them for think­ing they were on the grounds of a plant nurs­ery. That’s because our back­yard is home to the Catskill Streams Buffer Ini­tia­tive (CSBI) Plant Mate­r­i­al Cen­ter (PMC). The PMC is the loca­tion that holds all the plants that we use to reveg­e­tate stream­banks here in the Ashokan Water­shed. CSBI seeks to inform and assist landown­ers with bet­ter stew­ard­ship of their ripar­i­an (stream­side) area through pro­tec­tion, enhance­ment, man­age­ment, or restora­tion. CSBI recent­ly received a large deliv­ery of plants that AWSMP staff helped unload and sort in the PMC.

The plants in these pho­tos will be used in eight plant­i­ng sites this fall and com­ing spring where approx­i­mate­ly 79,156 square feet of stream­bank are slat­ed to be reveg­e­tat­ed. To date 65 landown­ers have had projects com­plet­ed on their prop­er­ties. Over 10,000 trees and shrubs have been plant­ed and over 18,510 feet of stream (or 3.5 miles) have been reveg­e­tat­ed. All told 13.153 acres have been restored since 2009.

Not just any plants are used in these projects. Ripar­i­an plants that are native to the Catskill region are uti­lized for sev­er­al rea­sons. Ripar­i­an plants have strong and robust root sys­tems that grow deep into the soil and inter­lock with roots sys­tems of adja­cent plants. This helps keep the plants firm­ly root­ed in the soil dur­ing floods and has the added ben­e­fit of min­i­miz­ing stream­bank ero­sion. Native Catskill Moun­tain region plants fill an impor­tant eco­log­i­cal niche that non-native plants usu­al­ly do not fill. They pro­vide habi­tat for an assort­ment of oth­er plants and ani­mals includ­ing pol­li­na­tors like bees and but­ter­flies. They pro­vide cov­er for ani­mals help­ing to shield them from preda­tors and shade the stream, keep­ing the water cool for sev­er­al fish species that thrive in cold­er water, such as native brook trout. Fur­ther­more, native ripar­i­an plants are more suit­ed for their envi­ron­ment and require less main­te­nance than non-native orna­men­tal veg­e­ta­tion.

Sev­er­al of the native ripar­i­an plants that are used will be famil­iar to most peo­ple. These include tree species such as red maple (Acer rubrum), sug­ar maple (Acer sac­cha­rum), red oak (Quer­cus rubra), white oak (Quer­cus alba), paper birch (Betu­la papyrifera) and sycamore (Pla­tanus occi­den­tal­is) to name just a few. It also includes shrubs such as win­ter­ber­ry (Ilex ver­ti­cil­late), witch hazel (Hamamelis vir­gini­ana), mead­owsweet (Spi­raea lat­i­fo­lia), elder­ber­ry (Sam­bu­cus nigra), choke­ber­ry (Aro­nia arbu­ti­fo­lia), and but­ton­bush (Cepha­lan­thus occi­den­tal­is) among many oth­ers. In addi­tion, there are sev­er­al dif­fer­ent types of sedges, which are a type of grass that likes to grow in wet, ripar­i­an areas. The PMC cur­rent­ly holds 61 dif­fer­ent species of native plant and there are cur­rent­ly over 2,000 plants in the PMC. The vast major­i­ty will be plant­ed this fall. Any plants not used will be cov­ered in mulch and over­win­tered until the spring where they will be used in plant­i­ng projects for that sea­son.

Projects for this sea­son are already sched­uled, but if you’re inter­est­ed in par­tic­i­pat­ing in the CSBI pro­gram in a future sea­son and have stream­side prop­er­ty in the Ashokan Water­shed, con­tact the CSBI Coor­di­na­tor, Bob­by Tay­lor at 845–688-3047 or at bobby.taylor@ashokanstreams.org.

AWSMP Plant Mate­r­i­al Cen­ter, Fall 2020. Pho­to by Brent Gotsch.
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Birding in the Ashokan Watershed

Posted on: June 17th, 2020 by Irene Foster

Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon)

Belt­ed King­fish­er (Megac­eryle alcy­on)

 

Are you look­ing for a fun, safe activ­i­ty to try now that the weath­er is nicer and reopen­ing is ramp­ing-up? If so, con­sid­er stream­side bird­ing in the Ashokan Water­shed. In the Ashokan Water­shed there are many oppor­tu­ni­ties to hang out near streams while you are pic­nick­ing, hik­ing, or just relax­ing.  While you are there, you can spot many types of wildlife, espe­cial­ly birds. Also, you can look for birds while obey­ing social dis­tanc­ing rec­om­men­da­tions.

Common Merganser (Mergus merganser)

Com­mon Mer­ganser (Mer­gus mer­ganser)

 

Some com­mon bird species you are like­ly to encounter are the red-winged black­bird, belt­ed king fish­er, great blue heron, Cana­da geese, and sev­er­al species of ducks such as mal­lards, wood ducks, and the com­mon mer­ganser.  In addi­tion to those com­mon aquat­ic birds, there are many song­birds that rely on the ripar­i­an areas for their habi­tats.  The ripar­i­an zone is the area along the sides of streams. If you are spend­ing time on the Eso­pus Creek, you might catch a glimpse of bald eagles, who work their way upstream from the reser­voir in search of food.

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)

Wood Duck (Aix spon­sa)

 

To go bird­ing, you do not need to be an expert on ornithol­o­gy (the study of birds) or have any fan­cy equip­ment. How­ev­er, if you want some help get­ting start­ed and learn­ing more about bird­ing, there are many smart­phone apps that can help you. Bird­ing apps offer a wide vari­ety of fea­tures such as iden­ti­fy­ing birds, iden­ti­fy­ing bird songs, track­ing which bird species you find, or view­ing oth­er bird sight­ings that have been logged near you.

A female and male pair of Mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos)

A female and male pair of Mal­lard ducks (Anas platyrhyn­chos)

 

If you are look­ing for more infor­ma­tion on iden­ti­fy­ing stream­side birds, check out the Cor­nell Lab of Ornithol­o­gy.

Some more resources on bird­ing are the Young Bird­ers Net­work through the New York State Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion, the Audubon Guide to North Amer­i­can Birds, or this Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram Newslet­ter from 2014 that has more bird species to look for and sug­ges­tions of where to look for them.

If you would like to learn more about a com­mon water­shed and back­yard bird species, the Amer­i­can Robin, you can view Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Program’s new video on our YouTube chan­nel.

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

Great Blue Heron (Ardea hero­dias)

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National Invasive Species Awareness Week 2018 — Japanese Knotweed

Posted on: February 26th, 2018 by Samantha Kahl

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 http://www.nyis.info

Pho­to of Japan­ese Knotweed leaves & flow­ers cour­tesy of http://www.nyis.info

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

 

 

 

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