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: â€œWe need a solution as absolutely soon as possible, because Iâ€™m worried about whatâ€™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,â€ 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: â€œIn 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.
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.