Ulster County Executive Mike Hein is calling on NYC DEP to use another firm to study the turbidity impacts on Esopus Creek instead of the engineering company it has contracted in the past. More in the Daily Freeman.
Ice on the creek that has formed over a high volume flow might be going through some adjustments when lower flows begin.
Beginning at 1pm on Friday January 28, 2011, the high-volume flows from the Ashokan Release Channel switched from the turbid West Basin to begin releasing cleaner water from the East Basin. This will continue for three days to help flush out turbidity from the Lower Esopus Creek, after which lower flows are expected. As water levels drop, the creek ice is expected to readjust, which may cause cracking and ice instability.
The clear water flush of the creek is a short term solution, but it is a first step to having clean water releases for stream health. This will need to be followed up with monitoring to understanding the harm done to the Lower Esopus Creek and downstream communities by the prolonged, high-concentration turbid water releases from the West Basin of the Ashokan Reservoir.
After dumping high-volumes of turbid water into the Lower Esopus Creek for over one hundred days, NYC DEP finally announced that it stopped dumping and started releasing clean water. Read more in the Daily Freeman
Ulster County Executive Michael Hein’s office released an Issue Brief which outlines the County Executive’s position on NYC DEP’s pollution of the Lower Esopus. The Brief provides a helpful summary of the turbidity issue and a course of action to correct the issue. In the Brief, the County Exec insists that the NYC DEP must:
Download entire Issue Brief here:
UC Esopus Brief.pdf (650.8 KiB, 586 hits)
Issue Brief from Ulster County Executive Hein on the NYC DEP Pollution of the Lower Esopus
At the working group meeting on January 14, the NYC DEP announced that it will shut of the discharges of turbid water from the Ashokan Reservoir in 30 days. If they meet the deadline they’ve set for themselves, the Esopus Creek should start to return to its normal color and clarity in mid-February. More news on this announcement in the Daily Freeman.
The NYC DEP continues to discharge turbid water from the Ashokan Reservoir without a study or review of the downstream environmental impacts. Fish and macroinvertebrates could be harmed by prolonged turbid conditions in the creek. Spider Barbour, Town of Saugerties representative to the Lower Esopus Watershed Partnership, addressed the urgency of the situation: “We need a solution as absolutely soon as possible, because I’m worried about what’s going to happen in the spring with all these fish and other animals, microorganisms and aquatic insects such as dragon flies and damsel flies, because those are important food sources for the amphibians and birds and all of these other parts of the food chain along the creeks,” he said. Read more in the Daily Freeman.
As the outcome of a meeting with LEWP on December 17, the NYC DEP announced plans to make clear water releases from the Ashokan Reservoir for downstream benefits. Mary McNamara, outreach coordinator for LEWP, commented on the historic nature of this announcement: “In the history of the Ashokan Reservoir…there have never been clear water releases for the health of the receiving water bodies.” LEWP will be part of a working group that will advise the DEP about managing reservoir releases. DEP’s announcement was encouraging news, but concerns remain over the ongoing turbid releases in the lower Esopus Creek. Read entire article in the Daily Freeman.
The NYS DEC is paying more attention to the way NYC DEP manages its Ashokan Reservoir after LEWP outlined concerns in a letter to state regulators. These concerns became more urgent with ongoing turbid releases from the reservoir which started in October. Read more at Times Herald-Record.
In response to a letter from LEWP, NYS DEC Regional Director William Janeway acknowledged that a planned release regime from the Ashokan Reservoir could improve aquatic health and alleviate downstream problems. Read full article in the Daily Freeman.
The Lower Esopus Creek Watershed Partnership is advocating for DEP to change the way it operates its Ashokan Reservoir in order to improve conditions on the Lower Esopus Creek. Since the Ashokan Dam cuts off the lower Esopus from its headwaters, the health of the creek downstream of the dam depends on how DEP manages the reservoir. To improve the health of the Lower Esopus, LEWP recommends that DEP make minimum daily releases from the Ashokan Reservoir into the lower creek. Read more at the Times Herald-Record. While calling attention to the role LEWP is playing as an advocate for a reservoir release strategy, the article is a little misleading as to the timing of LEWP’s letter, which was sent in July, months before DEP started releasing turbid water from the reservoir. The turbid discharges did not prompt LEWP’s letter, but these unprecedented releases make more urgent the need for a reservoir release plan, which LEWP advocated in the letter.