Public input sought for impact assessment

Impact Assessment Questionnaire Now Available For Public Input.

Kingston, NY- The Ashokan Release Working Group announced today the availability of an Impact Assessment Questionnaire for residents and businesses along the Lower Esopus. The Questionnaire was developed to gather information about impacts or changes that individuals observed or experienced along the stream that they believed may be related to releases of turbid water from the Ashokan Reservoir that occurred from October 7, 2010 through February 1, 2011. The questionnaire may be filled out on-line by visiting the Working Group’s website at http://ashokanrwg.org. Paper copies will be mailed to property owners along the creek and are available at the town and village halls along the lower Esopus and at the Ulster County Department of the Environment, 17 Pearl Street PO Box 1800, Kingston, NY 12402. Questions regarding the content of the questionnaire can be referred to the Ulster County Department of the Environment at 845-338-7287.

The Ashokan Release Working Group, formed in January over concerns about water releases from the Ashokan Reservoir, will use the information gathered from these questionnaires as part of the assessment of the impacts of this past release and to help inform decisions regarding potential future releases. The Working Group urges land owners and others who have observed or experienced impacts to complete the questionnaire. Paper copies should be returned to the Ashokan Release Working Group care of Ulster County Department of the Environment, 17 Pearl Street PO Box 1800, Kingston, NY 12402 by May 31, 2011.

The Ashokan Release Working Group consists of representatives from the Ashokan Foundation, City of Kingston, County of Ulster, Esopus Creek Conservancy, Lower Esopus Watershed Partnership, New York City Department of Environmental Protection, New York Public Interest Research Group, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, New York State Department of Health, RCAP Solutions, Riverkeeper, Towns of Hurley, Marbletown, Olive, Saugerties and Ulster, United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Village of Saugerties. One of the goals of the Working Group is to assist with the development, implementation and review of an assessment of ecological, physical and economic impacts of the releases.

Ashokan Release Working Group Mission:
The Ashokan Release Working Group (ARWG) will, through a collaborative consensus building process:
·Assist with the development, implementation and review of an assessment of ecological, physical and economic impacts of the releases that occurred from October 7, 2010 through February 1, 2011.
·Develop a protocol for, and ongoing monitoring and evaluation of, releases from the Ashokan Reservoir to advance the protection and improvement of water quantity and quality and provide flood hazard reduction benefits of the lower Esopus Creek.
·Ensure the release protocol is protective of the ecological, physical and economic interests of the lower Esopus and its adjoining communities while remaining protective of the NYC water supply

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