Category Archives: News

Coastal Storm, 12/18/23

On December 18, 2023, the water level at Saugerties (Turkey Point, Hudson River tide gauge station) peaked at 5:24 PM at 8.0′ above MLLW. This was 4′ above the normal high tide. The high water was driven by a combination of tidal surge and run-off from rainfall totals of 3.5 to 4.5 inches. By comparison, winter storm Elliot (bomb cyclone) on December 23rd, 2022, reached a slightly higher level of 8.3′ above MLLW, was primarily surge from the ocean, and unaccompanied by much precipitation. Note that the level of water in the tidal Esopus Creek when the tide is high is minimally affected by the shape or depth of the channel bottom. No matter how deep the channel is, the tide reaches an elevation established by the water surface elevation in the Hudson River.

Storm tide forecasted for Monday, 12/18

For Monday, December 18th, the Stevens Flood Advisory System is forecasting a storm surge of 3 to 4 feet atop the evening’s high tide, which may cause moderate flooding along low-lying waterfront properties. High tide along the tidal Esopus Creek in Saugerties will be 6:15 PM. The water level may reach or exceed the Moderate Flood Level of 7.2′ above Mean Low Low Water (MLLW). By comparison, last year’s winter storm Elliot on December 23rd, was at Major Flood Level and reached 8.3′ above MLLW. Although lower than last year’s storm tide, it will likely enter yards on Lighthouse Drive and Ferry Street in Saugerties.

Tivoli Bays South (and Saugerties)

Stevens Flood Advisory System:

To receive alerts, register for email flooding notifications from the Stevens Flood Advisory System.

Public Workshop for the Draft Stream Management Plan

December 5th, 2023

Let your voice be heard for the future of the Lower Esopus Creek!

Join Ulster County and the Lower Esopus Creek Advisory Council for a community workshop, hosted both in-person and virtually, on Tuesday, December 5 to learn more about the current conditions of the Lower Esopus Creek and hear updates about the Stream Management Plan, which is currently under development.

The workshop will be held from 6:00-8:00 PM both in-person at the Ulster County Restorative Justice Center, 733 Broadway, Kingston, NY, 12401, as well as on Zoom.

Please indicate which workshop format you plan to attend (in-person or virtual) when registering.

Public Survey for Stream Management Plan

We invite you to take a survey to help shape our community’s vision for the lower Esopus Creek. Take the online survey and offer your views on issues like recreational access, natural habitats, and educational opportunities. Ulster County and an advisory council of local organizations are collaborating on a Stream Management Plan for the Lower Esopus. Public input is an important part of the planning process. The public survey is available here: https://loweresopussmp-ulstercounty.hub.arcgis.com/pages/survey

For reference, here is an interactive map of the lower Esopus Creek: https://loweresopussmp-ulstercounty.hub.arcgis.com/datasets/ulstercounty::lower-esopus-mainstem/explore

Proposed changes to Ashokan release protocol

NYCDEP has requested a modification to the Ashokan Reservoir Interim Release Protocol (IRP).  High level changes include:

  1. the removal of the protocol to allow for Operational Releases;
  2. Modification of the Spill Mitigation Release Protocol which would require DEP to reduce the discharge to the Community Release levels should the turbidity of the Release Channel discharge meets or exceeds 20 NTU.  However, language has also been included to allow Ulster County to submit a written request to DEC and DEP for DEP to continue or restart discharge mitigation releases to achieve the void target as identified in the Conditional Seasonal Storage Objective (CSSO) when the turbidity meets or exceeds 20 NTU.

Comments can be submitted before November 2nd to:

Ken Kosinski, P.E.
Director, Bureau of Flood Protection and Dam Safety
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
625 Broadway, Albany NY 12233

Draft Ashokan Interim Release Protocol

Public hearing March 3rd, comment period extended

A second public hearing on the permit application and the Draft EIS, including Ashokan Reservoir operations and releases, will be held at 4:00 P.M. on Wednesday, March 3, 2021, through the Webex Events electronic webinar platform. For instructions for attending the hearing, visit: https://www.dec.ny.gov/enb/122281.html

The deadline for written comments has been extended to June 16, 2021. All interested parties may submit written comment concerning the Draft EIS and permit applications to the DEC Contact Person listed below by June 16, 2021. Comments sent by regular mail must be postmarked no later than June 16, 2021. E-mail comments must be received by 5:00 p.m. June 16, 2021.

DEC CONTACT PERSON: Kristen Cady-Poulin, Environmental Analyst, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233, Phone: 518-402-9167, E-mail: DEPPermitting@dec.ny.gov

For more information, please visit the DEC website at https://www.dec.ny.gov/enb/122281.html

Public review and comment period for ashokan releases

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.

DEP & USGS announce installation of stream gauge at Lomontville

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.

Online data from the Lomontville gauge can be accessed by clicking here. Data from the gauge in Mount Marion can be found by clicking here.