SHOKAN — The Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program (AWSMP) Stakeholder Council has approved four grant awards totaling $219,243 to complete stream projects in the Ashokan Reservoir watershed. Awards were made to the Ulster County Department of Public Works (DPW), Town of Woodstock, Trout Unlimited, and the U.S. Geological Survey. The Ashokan Reservoir is located in northwest Ulster County and is fed by the upper Esopus Creek and Bushkill streams.
The AWSMP awarded $80,000 to the Ulster County DPW to complete engineering for an expanded bridge carrying Watson Hollow Road over the Maltby Hollow Brook in the Town of Olive. The bridge replacement is a high priority action recommended in the 2017 Local Flood Analysis (LFA) for the hamlet of West Shokan. The new bridge design will account for future climate risks and the feasibility of passing a 1 in 500-year return frequency stream flow. Significant bank erosion occurred at the bridge during Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. Irene was a 1 in 50-year return event in the Bushkill watershed. Ulster County DPW will provide cost-share to complete bridge engineering.
An award of $500 to the Ashokan Pepacton Watershed Chapter of Trout Unlimited (TU) is to search for “heritage strain” brook trout in a local stream. To be a heritage strain, brook trout must have evolved in the Catskill region over thousands of years and remain genetically isolated from stocked brook trout. TU anglers will volunteer to capture small fin clips from brook trout. The clips will be submitted for genetic analysis to the New York State Museum. Fin clipping is done with a permit and is not lethal to the fish. According to the Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture, only 9.7 percent of suitable watersheds in New York State still harbor brook trout populations. To date, little sampling or analysis has taken place to locate heritage brook trout in the Ashokan watershed or Catskills. New York State currently manages heritage brook trout populations in the Adirondack and Tug Hill regions.
The U.S. Geological Survey was awarded $38,743 to study sediment in stream flows in portions of the Ashokan watershed. The study will examine what type of sediment is transported in the water column as streams rise and recede during high flow events. The results will help stream managers match the type of sediment found at watershed outlets to the sources of sediment found higher in the watershed. Typically, studies like this match sediment to land use sources such as agriculture or urban runoff. This study focuses on sediment types that erode from the bed and banks of stream channels.
An award of $100,000 was made to the Town of Woodstock for design and permitting of an expanded bridge carrying Mink Hollow Road over the Beaver Kill stream near Lake Hill. The town is matching AWSMP funds to $633,000 in ‘Bridge NY’ funding to repair and replace local bridges and culverts awarded in November.
All of the funded projects are scheduled for completion by September 2019.
The AWSMP has awarded $4.6 million for 90 stream projects in the Ashokan watershed since 2010.
Stream management implementation funds are provided by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection and administered by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County for the AWSMP. CCEUC supports stream project implementation in collaboration with the Ulster County Soil and Water Conservation District.