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.
On Monday, January 23, 2012, Ulster County Executive Mike Hein will host a public forum with New York City Department of Environmental Protection about area concerns including turbid releases into Esopus Creek. The County Executive will be joined by other upstate leaders, NYC DEP representatives and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation senior staff. The event will offer attendees the opportunity to have their voices heard and to ask important questions. The forum is scheduled for 6:00PM on January the 23rd at the John Quimby Theater at Ulster County Community College in Stone Ridge.
Ulster County and Riverkeeper submitted a formal petition to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation concerning the releases from New York City’s Ashokan Reservoir. The petition calls upon DEC to meet its regulatory obligations and uphold water quality standards in the lower Esopus Creek. The DEC is criticized for relying on the Interim Protocol to authorize releases instead of using the SPDES permit program. In October, DEC issued an Interim Ashokan Release Protocol to govern discharges from the Ashokan Release Channel. Unlike a SPDES permit, the interim protocol did not contain any formal provisions for environmental review or public comment. The petition from UC and Riverkeeper reminds DEC of requirements spelled out in state Reservoir Release Regulations.
Yesterday, DEP stated through a spokesperson that it cannot make a public forum before year’s end, reported Adam Bosch of the Times Herald-Record. On Thursday, Ulster County Executive Mike Hein emerged from a meeting with the DEP and announced the prospect of a public forum in December to address ongoing issues with DEP operations in Ulster County. DEP said it did not agree to the abrupt timeline for the forum but is nevertheless willing to participate in a public forum. Read more…