The Lower Esopus Ashokan Reservoir Release Workshop
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
6:30 – 8:30 pm
@ Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County
In their new Kingston Plaza location at 232 Plaza Road
Thank you to all who were able to attend the LEWP-sponsored Lower Esopus Positive Action Workshop at the end of January. We are in the process of confirming and revising the priority projects that were identified during the workshop. One of the major activities we have been pursuing since then is the removal of log/ debris jams along the stream. LEWP is helping coordinate a funding application that is being submitted by Ulster County Soil and Water Conservation District in early April. This funding is for debris sites that did not meet the imminent threat criteria required for funding through the Emergency Watershed Protection Program.
For many of you, the biggest concern is with water quality and quantity associated with releases from the Ashokan Reservoir. LEWP is holding a workshop to provide updates on this issue, including details of NYSDEC/ NYCDEP’s Interim Release Protocol; and to document your concerns and identify community action steps. Please save the date and email RSVP to Candace Balmer firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please join us on Monday, January 30, 2012, from 6:00 to 9:00 pm at the Kingston Holiday Inn to help develop positive actions to improve the lower Esopus Creek. Presented by LEWP, the Lower Esopus Watershed Partnership
As we have begun to characterize the creek and its watershed, we have learned more about why and how it responds to various forces. We can use this knowledge to implement specific activities that will benefit the watershed and our communities. Through positive action we not only improve our surroundings, we demonstrate and reinforce our ability to get results.
Together, we will explore, prioritize and detail actions associated with:
• Diverting storm water runoff
• Managing woody debris
• Enhancing streamside buffers
• Exploring municipal land use control options
• Improving emergency preparedness
We will also discuss actions associated with NYC DEP releases from Ashokan Reservoir.
We need you! Let’s create some doable activities and move into action!
Refreshments start at 5:30 PM
Monday, January 30th; 6:00 – 9:00 PM
Kingston Holiday Inn, 503 Washington Avenue,
(just off the traffic circle)
The Lower Esopus Watershed Partnership in cooperation with Riverkeeper prepared comments on the Interim Ashokan Release Protocol. The comments from municipalities and other stakeholders along the lower Esopus were compiled into a letter and submitted to the DEC. The letter calls for a deadline by which time the interim protocol would be replaced by a SPDES permit. Limits on turbidity are also recommended. The letter is available here for download as a PDF.
LowerEsopusStakeholderCommentsInterimAshokanReleaseProtocol 12-15-11.pdf (108.9 KiB, 1,079 hits)
Comments to DEC by lower Esopus stakeholders on the Interim Ashokan Release Protocol
The Ashokan Release Channel was increased today from 80 to approximately 600 MGD. The increases were made in approximately 40 MGD increments starting at 0900hrs and completed at 1600hrs.
1100hrs to 1600hrs steps were completed in 1/2hr increments.
In October, the DEC and DEP agreed upon an Interim Ashokan Reservoir Release Protocol (Protocol), which is available here for download.
Interim Release Protocol (135.8 KiB, 913 hits)
DEC/DEP Interim Ashokan Release Protocol
Water Quality Monitoring for Releases (68.7 KiB, 828 hits)
Water Quality Monitoring Plan for Release Channel Operations
The Lower Esopus Watershed Partnership, as part of the Ashokan Release Working Group, is compiling comments on the protocol from participating municipalities to provide DEC and DEP with feedback.
The protocol includes provisions for community beneficial releases, flood mitigation releases, and turbidity control releases. The interim protocol is driving recent reservoir releases as the DEP aims for a 90% Conditional Seasonal Storage Objective outlined in the protocol to create a void in the reservoir for flood mitigation and turbidity control. Since storms Irene and Lee filled the reservoir with turbid runoff, recent releases in the lower Esopus Creek have been noticeably turbid with fine colloidal clay sediment.
As a part of its obligation to assess impacts from recent turbid releases and its promise to conduct clear water releases in the future, NYC DEP announced that it is organizing a technical committee within the existing Ashokan Releasee Working Group to focus on these issues. This committee will be given the tasks of developing release protocols and impact assessments for operation of the Ashokan Waste Channel. John Vickers of the DEP made the announcement at the recent LEWP Informational Seminar in Saugerties. Bill Kimble of the Daily Freeman reported on the meeting and the announcement. The technical committee will include DEP personnel and representatives from downstream municipalities, LEWP, Ulster County, Riverkeeper, Hudsonia, NYPIRG, Ashokan Foundation, Federated Sportsman of Ulster County, NYS DEC, US EPA, and NYS DOH.
On Thursday evening, February 10th, the local press and area residents attended an informational seminar hosted by the Lower Esopus Watershed Partnership and the Town & Village of Saugerties. Formal powerpoint presentations were made by representatives of LEWP, Ulster County, and DEP. A representative of the DEC was also present to answer questions as part of a panel. In the audience were elected officials including Mayor Bill Murphy of Saugerties, Town Supervisor Greg Helmoortel and a staff member from the office of Assemblyman Pete Lopez. Residents who owned property or businesses along the creek ask questions and expressed their concerns about the prolonged turbid releases from the Ashokan Reservoir. The Daily Freeman reported on the meeting. This was the second informational seminar this week focusing on creek turbidity issues. The first was held on Tuesday, February 8th at Town Hall in the Town of Ulster.
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.