Available for Public Review and Comment: Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Modification of the CATALUM SPDES Permit, and Draft Permit. This includes Proposed Action in Lower Esopus Creek as part of the revised Ashokan Reservoir Release Protocol. Written public comments will be accepted on the Draft EIS until March 16, 2021. A virtual public comment hearing on the permit application and the Draft EIS will be held before at 4:00 P.M. on Thursday, February 4, 2021, through the Webex Events electronic webinar platform. Information on how to provide public comment and participate in the Virtual Public comment hearing can be found here.
Water Keeps Time, a documentary about the Esopus Creek directed by Katie Cokinos and Guy Reed, with Alex Rappoport, videographer and editor. The history and community of Saugerties, New York, interpreted through its relationship to the Esopus Creek and Hudson River. (2020, 32min)
DEP PRESS RELEASE:
Department of Environmental Protection and U.S. Geological Survey Announce Installation of New Stream Gauge in Lower Esopus at Lomontville
Gauge in Lower Esopus Creek Will Provide Important Data for Future Stream Projects
Data on Flow and Turbidity is Viewable on USGS Website
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) today announced that a new stream gauge was installed this month along the lower Esopus Creek at Lomontville, roughly 6 miles below Ashokan Reservoir. The gauge will provide flow and turbidity data, which will be posted in near-real time to the USGS and DEP websites. As part of the installation project, the ability to measure turbidity was also added to an existing gauge further downstream in Mount Marion, and that data will also be posted on the USGS and DEP websites.
The Lomontville gauge was among the terms of a consent order signed in late September by DEP and the state Department of Environmental Conservation. The order required the gauge at Lomontville to be installed within a year. The City and USGS installed it within roughly six weeks. The new stream gauge is part of a national network – including roughly 40 gauges throughout the Catskills – that constantly gathers scientific data to better understand the hydrology of local streams. The gauges also help forecast stream flows, which enhanced an important flood-warning network that protects life and property across the region.
“Scientific data collected by the new gauge will help stakeholders along the lower Esopus better understand how the creek reacts to normal flows and extreme storms, including the resulting fluctuations in turbidity at different points along the creek,” DEP Commissioner Carter Strickland said. “The gauge will also provide valuable information when water is released from Ashokan Reservoir to help ecology and support recreation, enhance flood protection ahead of large storms, and protect the water supply. That information will be easily accessible to the public, underscoring DEP’s commitment to be transparent about all its operations in the Catskills and Hudson Valley.”
“Data from the Lomontville stream gauge will provide critical information to better understand the water resources and suspended sediment transport in the Lower Esopus Watershed,” said Ward Freeman, Director of the New York Water Science Center for USGS. “This will be part of a network of almost 8,000 USGS stream gauges across the nation used by water-resource professionals to better manage and protect the resource. This stream gauge will also provide supplemental data useful in National Weather Service River forecast operations at the Mt. Marion forecast point downstream.”
The long-term data provided by the stream gauge will help in the development of a stream management plan for the creek and will enhance the environmental review that is about to begin. DEP has committed to fund the development of the plan, as well as provide $2 million for stream projects to improve the flow and the banks of the lower Esopus. Understanding the flow of the creek will help with the design of those stream projects. The gauge will also complement DEP’s weekly water-quality monitoring of two other sites along the lower Esopus – just above the Sawkill Creek and at the Saugerties Beach – that provide important data about creek conditions downstream of the reservoir.
The New York State Department of Health extended the public comment period until November 15th for draft mid-term revisions of the 2007 Filtration Avoidance Determination for New York City. The document covers the Catskill Turbidity Control program, which includes use of the Ashokan release channel to discharge water into the lower Esopus Creek. The draft revised FAD is available for review on the DOH website: http://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/water/drinking/nycfad/docs/mid_term_revisions_nyc_2007fad_review.pdf
New York Department of Environmental Conservation announced the consent order agreement with New York City Department of Environmental Protection for the management of the Ashokan Release Channel and mitigation of impacts of turbid discharges into lower Esopus Creek.
The press release is available as PDF: State-DEC-News-Release
Kayak Tour of the Tidal Lower Esopus
9/14 11AM; Saugerties
Riverkeeper and the Lower Esopus Watershed Partnership are hosting a kayak tour of the tidal Lower Esopus in Saugerties to share information about the natural history and environmental issues facing the creek. Tour guides include Riverkeeper’s Kate Hudson, and Lower Esopus Watershed Partnership’s Mary McNamara. The tour will include the tidal Lower Esopus creek, and lunch on the grounds of the Saugerties Lighthouse (note: the lighthouse will not be open to the public that day). The tour is suitable for those who have experience in a kayak. Participants may bring their own kayak or canoe, or rent one from I Paddle New York. Space is limited. RSVP required to Dan Shapley at email@example.com. Pack a lunch, water and sun protection. Meet at Tina Chorvas Park in Saugerties, NY.
Kayak Tour, Esopus Bend Nature Preserve
9/21 9AM; Saugerties
Esopus Creek Conservancy is sponsoring a guided kayak and canoe tour of Esopus Bend Nature Preserve in conjunction with the annual Ulster County Creek Week. Participants will paddle the tranquil waters of the Esopus Creek above the dam in Saugerties, visiting the coves and wetlands of Esopus Bend Nature Preserve, and the shoreline to the south. Meet 9AM. at the Saugerties Village Beach parking lot on Rte. 9W, just north of the Esopus Creek bridge, at the foot of Partition Street in the Village of Saugerties. Participants will put-in at the beach. Bring your own kayak or canoe. All participants MUST wear a personal floatation device (life vest). Rain or thunderstorms will cancel the paddle. Children are welcome and encouraged if accompanied by a responsible adult, but please do not bring pets. Pre-registration is required. This ECC Environmental Education paddle is free and open to the public, but limited to a maximum of ten watercraft. For additional information about upcoming ECC Nature Walks and Paddles, please visit www.esopuscreekconservancy.org. Contact the paddle leader, Steve Hart (firstname.lastname@example.org) to register, or for additional information.
Kids Fishing Day at the Ashokan Reservoir
9/22 9AM – 2PM; Ashokan Reservoir in West Hurley
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection and state Department of Environmental Conservation will host a fishing event for children and their parents. Poles and bait will be supplied, but feel free to bring your own. As part of the state’s “I Fish NY Program,” the New York State fishing license requirement is waived for adults who want to fish during this event. Come and relax, bond with your children, and enjoy the beautiful scenery and fantastic fishing the Ashokan Reservoir has to offer! DEP and DEC staff will be available to teach participants how to fish and assist as needed. If adults don’t have a free DEP Access Permit, applications will be available at the event or they can be obtained online anytime at:http://www.nyc.gov/html/dep/html/recreation/access.shtml. The free event will be held at the Woodstock Dike on the Ashokan Reservoir. A parking lot is located on a gravel road off Route 28, just east of the West Hurley Post Office. For more information on the event, you may contact DEP at 845-340-7873.
See full listing of Ulster County’s Annual Creek Week: http://ucenvironment.org/ulster-county-creek-week/
NYC DEP increased the Ashokan Release Channel flow rate from 15MGD to 150 MGD to mitigate the impact of a NYS DEC requested whitewater release from Shandaken Tunnel Portal this weekend for an event on the upper Esopus Creek sponsored by the Kayak and Canoe Club of New York. Releasing water from the reservoir in advance and during the whitewater release from the tunnel will mitigate any potential spills from the reservoir since reservoir level is close to 100% capacity.
The Ashokan Release Channel was increased from 95 to approximately 150 MGD. The increases were executed in two 15 to 30 MGD steps with the final step at 8:30AM. Releases are expected to return to the minimum on Monday.
The current release channel turbidity is 4.00 ntu.