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Fourth annual Watershed Clean Up Day

Two local high schoolers who joined the cleanup at Ashokan Reservoir last year.
September 19, 2017 11:45 am

SHOKAN — The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced that it will team up with school groups, business leaders, environmental advocates, local nonprofits and watershed citizens to remove litter and recyclables from public recreation areas at eight water supply reservoirs in the Catskills and Hudson Valley. Hundreds of volunteers are expected to participate in DEP’s fourth Reservoir Cleanup Day Oct. 1. The volunteers will remove debris from areas that are generally used for fishing and boating access. Reservoir Cleanup Day is made possible with support from the Catskill Watershed Corporation.

This year’s cleanup follows another successful effort in 2016, during which more than 250 volunteers removed 259 bags of debris and recyclables from reservoir shorelines. The haul weighed an estimated 3,342 pounds. In many cases, the debris had blown onto reservoir property from nearby roadsides or was left behind at access areas used by the public for fishing and boating.

DEP’s Reservoir Cleanup Day is among dozens of similar events happening across the state as part of the American Littoral Society’s annual New York State Beach Cleanup, which organizes volunteers to remove debris from beaches, lakes and other popular bodies of water. DEP is among the government agencies, businesses and foundations that sponsor the statewide effort. In 2016, a total of 6,645 people participated in cleanup events throughout New York, removing 66,830 pounds of debris along 233 miles of shoreline.

“The volunteers who join us for Reservoir Cleanup Day each year deserve much credit for keeping our natural resources pristine and free of debris,” DEP Acting Commissioner Vincent Sapienza said. “Approximately 100,000 people are registered to enjoy fishing, boating and other activities on DEP reservoirs and lands in the watershed. The vast majority are careful to leave no trace, but we know the occasional coffee cup or sandwich wrapper gets left behind. Events like Reservoir Cleanup Day are meant to remove that litter and educate the next generation to preserve and protect these scenic, treasured places.”

“The American Littoral Society is proud to have DEP as a sponsor and to promote Reservoir Cleanup Day,” said Don Riepe, director of the northeast chapter for the American Littoral Society. “This is an important event that highlights the need to keep our waters and shorelines free of debris. DEP has been a leader in this cause, and we are happy to continue our partnership.”

Cleanups this year will happen at Ashokan, Cannonsville and Pepacton reservoirs in the Catskill Mountains, and at East Branch, Kensico, Lake Gleneida, Muscoot and New Croton reservoirs in the Hudson Valley. Each cleanup at these locations will begin at noon and is expected to finish no later than 3 p.m. Volunteers will meet at central locations designated for each reservoir, which are listed below. DEP will have tents or signs posted at each of the locations to help volunteers find them.

To help reach volunteers, DEP has worked with local nonprofits, schools and community groups for the cleanup effort at each reservoir. Those who wish to volunteer can also reach out to DEP by calling 800-575-LAND or by emailing Pre-registration is highly encouraged. Registration links for each cleanup can be found by visiting DEP’s watershed Facebook page at

Ashokan Reservoir – Volunteers will meet at the “Frying Pan” parking area just off Route 28A.

Cannonsville Reservoir – Volunteers will meet at the Dryden Brook Boat Launch Area on Route 10 in Walton. Those interested in joining this cleanup can click here to register.

Pepacton Reservoir – Volunteers will meet at the Shavertown Boat Launch Area near the intersection of Route 30 and BWS Road 4.

Muscoot Reservoir – Volunteers will meet at the end of Old Bedford Road in Goldens Bridge.

Kensico Reservoir – Volunteers will meet at the old Kensico Laboratory near Aerator Road and Westlake Drive in Valhalla.

Lake Gleneida – Volunteers will meet near the Sybil Ludington Statue on Route 6.

East Branch Reservoir – Volunteers will meet near the boat mooring area No. EB5, which is located on Milltown Road, across the street from Burdick Road.

New Croton Reservoir – Volunteers will meet at boat storage area No. 20 on Route 100, about one-quarter mile west of Muscoot Farms.

DEP and volunteers will keep a tally of the type and quantity of debris that is collected at each site throughout the day. Data will be reported back to the American Littoral Society at the end of the event.