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The Nature of Things

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Archive for the 'Department of Environmental Protection' Category

Boats now allowed in winter on Kensico and New Croton reservoirs

December
1

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection is expanding access to two of its reservoirs in Westchester County.

From the NYCDEP:

Environmental Protection Commissioner Cas Holloway today announced the expansion of recreational opportunities at Kensico and New Croton reservoirs in Westchester County. The expansion follows three public hearings on the proposed amendments to rules for recreational use of water supply lands and waters. Previously, boat access for fishing during winter months was not allowed on these two reservoirs, which were closed from December 1 to April 1. Starting today, new regulations allow boat access for fishing on these reservoirs year round. The amended regulations also give DEP the option to prohibit the use of certain fishing equipment, such as felt-soled waders that increase the threat of invasive species like didymo—also known as “rock snot”—which may impair stream ecosystems.

“New York City’s reservoirs offer some of the best fishing opportunities in the country,” said Commissioner Holloway. “Opening Kensico and New Croton reservoirs for families and visitors to enjoy during the winter months will allow as many people as possible to take advantage of this great resource, and has the added benefit of encouraging tourism and economic activity.  Mayor Bloomberg is committed to working with our upstate partners to create recreational and economic opportunities that are compatible with maintaining high water quality, and opening the Kensico and New Croton reservoirs to fishing year round achieves both goals.”

The city’s water supply comprises dozens of streams, 19 reservoirs and two controlled lakes open for fishing. Kensico Reservoir is 3.2 square miles and is stocked with lake trout and brown trout. New Croton Reservoir is 3.0 square miles and has smallmouth bass, brown trout and lake trout. In 2006, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation extended the black bass fishing season from December 1st through the Friday proceeding the 3rd Saturday in June for catch-and-release fishing. In 2008, DEP revised its recreation rules to allow year-round boating for fishing on all its east of Hudson reservoirs except Kensico and New Croton, to be more consistent with the new state regulations.

Boating for the purposes of fishing is allowed on New York City reservoirs to those with DEP access permits and boat tags. Anglers must store their fishing boats at designated storage areas and all boats must be approved, registered and steam-cleaned by DEP or a designee. For more information on fishing on New York City reservoirs, visit NYCDEP.

DEP attempts to open as much land as possible for recreation and bases decisions to do so on potential water quality impacts, whether the land is easily accessible to the public and input from the community. In May, DEP opened five additional square miles of Cannonsville Reservoir for recreational boating, which built upon last year’s decision to launch a three-year pilot program to expand recreational boating opportunities at Cannonsville Reservoir. In April, DEP announced plans to open 12,000 more acres for recreation throughout the rest of the year on a rolling basis. The 12,000 acres will bring the total number of acres open to recreation to 71,000. Also in April, DEP opened 24.5 acres, including 440 feet of river frontage, on the Beaverkill River, a famous trout fishing destination.

Kensico Reservoir, placed into service in 1915, can hold up to 30.6 billion gallons. It receives most of its water from the city’s west-of-Hudson reservoirs through the Catskill and Delaware aqueducts. The New Croton Reservoir, placed into service in 1905, is the largest in the Croton system and can hold up to 19 billion gallons.

DEP manages the city’s water supply, providing more than 1 billion gallons of water each day to more than 9 million residents, including 8 million in New York City, and residents of Ulster, Orange, Putnam and Westchester counties. Approximately 1,000 DEP employees live and work in the watershed communities as scientists, engineers, surveyors, and administrative professionals, and perform other critical responsibilities. For more information, visit NYCDEP or follow us on Facebook.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Wednesday, December 1st, 2010 at 11:54 am |
| | 2 Comments »

NYC wants to keep buying land

January
26

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection announced that the city filed a permit application with the state to continue purchasing land in its watershed. Since 1997, the city has sought to buy land around its reservoirs to protect the quality of its drinking water. Read the full announcement after the break. Read more of this entry »

Posted by Mike Risinit on Tuesday, January 26th, 2010 at 11:30 am |
| | 3 Comments »

Southeast eagles update

April
23

When you’re a young eagle – just weeks old — you’re nothing but bill, along with some gray fuzz. That’s what the two young eagles visible in the nest in Southeast looked like this week when I stopped by for a peek.

The last time I looked was April 5 and mom was still sitting on the nest. This Monday, an adult was sitting above the nest in the pine tree and the young were poking their heads up and down.

I’m almost positive three eaglets were in the nest, but the third one refused to show his head during the few minutes I was watching. Peter Nye, head of the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s endangered species unit, said he’s heard the Southeast pair did have three young this year. He said it will be easier to confirm once the birds are a bit bigger and more visible.

Previously on TNOT: They’re back.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Thursday, April 23rd, 2009 at 10:50 am |
| | 3 Comments »

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Spend your summer with the NYCDEP

April
20

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection is looking for nine college students or graduating high school seniors (who are going on to college) for its summer internship program. The interns will be assigned to various upstate locations in the department’s Bureau of Water Supply.

Interns will be placed in assignments that focus on engineering and scientific disciplines and will include tasks in water supply and wastewater treatment operations, water quality, watershed protection, and administration.

The internships will run from early June to late August. Those interested should submit résumés to: New York City Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Water Supply, P.O. Box 358, Grahamsville, NY 12740 by May 1, 2009.

Read the full announcement after the break.

NYC DEP Announces Internship Opportunities for College Students
Program Envisions Development of Personnel Resources to Lead the Water Supply in the Future

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced today that its Bureau of Water Supply (BWS) is sponsoring a summer internship program for nine college students and graduating high school seniors who are presently enrolled in accredited college programs. The interns are expected to be assigned to six different DEP facilities in Delaware, Schoharie, Sullivan and Ulster Counties. The internships run from early June 2009 until late August 2009, depending upon the academic calendar of each intern.

Interns will be placed in assignments that focus on engineering and scientific disciplines and will include tasks in water supply and wastewater treatment operations, water quality, watershed protection, and administration.

“This program is designed to encourage watershed area college students to consider a career with DEP. New York City is committed to maintaining filtration avoidance of its Catskill/Delaware water supply over the long haul. Hiring employees with local roots to become future leaders at DEP is one way to strengthen our partnership with watershed communities,” said Paul Rush, DEP’s Deputy Commissioner of the Bureau of Water Supply.

State Senator John Bonacic said, “When local students intern at the DEP, they bring with them their personal knowledge of living in the Catskills and Hudson Valley. Nobody is more committed to a clean environment than the people of the Catskills and Hudson Valley, which is why we choose to live here.”

Students interested in this opportunity should submit résumés to: New York City Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Water Supply, P.O. Box 358, Grahamsville, NY 12740 by May 1, 2009.

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection has a long history of working closely with communities and strengthening its ongoing education and outreach programs to promote stewardship of New York City’s water resources. With this internship program, DEP will provide students with the opportunity to explore, study, and participate in the important work performed, largely by watershed residents, to provide drinking water to nine million people.

DEP is responsible for operating and protecting the City’s water supply system, one of the largest in the world, which serves nearly eight million residents of the City and one million people in Westchester, Putnam, Orange and Ulster Counties, as well as the millions of tourists and commuters who visit the City every year. The watershed of the City’s 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes includes parts of eight counties on both sides of the Hudson River – Delaware, Greene, Schoharie, Sullivan and Ulster in the Catskill Region, and Dutchess, Putnam and Westchester Counties east of the Hudson.
Read more of this entry »

Posted by Mike Risinit on Monday, April 20th, 2009 at 12:15 pm |
| | Comments Off on Spend your summer with the NYCDEP

Signs, signs, everywhere

February
4

If you’re thinking of going ice fishing on either the East Branch Reservoir or the Bog Brook Reservoir in Southeast, don’t says the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. The ice may be too weak to support anglers.

“DEP is lowering the elevations of Bog Brook and East Branch Reservoirs due to reconstruction of the connection tunnel gatehouse between them. The Bureau of Water Supply is concerned that the ice is not safe for ice fishing due to the falling elevation of the reservoirs and signs have been posted indicating such,” DEP spokesman Michael Saucier said.

Hence, the red-and-white signs proclaiming “No public access.” Elevation is a reference to the rise and fall of a reservoir’s water level. My colleague, TJN photographer Frank Becerra, noticed this sign on the East Branch and wondered what it was all about.

More on ice fishing.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Wednesday, February 4th, 2009 at 1:29 pm |
| | Comments Off on Signs, signs, everywhere

Slithering eels

September
26

Did you know eels can crawl over land to get to water? Well, they can. Check out this eel information page from the Fish and Wildlife Service. Then view the video below as the eels head straight for the Hudson River once they’re dumped out of a bucket. The fish flopping around in the sand at the end is a brown bullhead.

Download:

Both the eels and the bullhead were “borrowed” from the Hudson by Tom Lake of the state’s Hudson River Estuary Program for educational purposes and were being returned to their home. After the break is a story I wrote earlier this year about eels. Read more of this entry »

Posted by Mike Risinit on Friday, September 26th, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
| | 1,515 Comments »

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Environmental internship

March
13

Want to spend your summer helping deliver water to some 9 million people?

No, we’re not talking about hefting bottled water but rather getting an inside look at how NYC’s system supplies drinking water. The New York City Department of Environmental Protection is looking for 10 college students or graduating, college-bound high school seniors for internship slots.

The interns “will be placed in assignments that focus on engineering and scientific disciplines and will include tasks in water supply and wastewater treatment operations, water quality, watershed protection, and administration.” Assignments will be at DEP facilities in Delaware, Greene, Schoharie, Sullivan and Ulster Counties

Interested students should submit their resumes to NYCDEP, BWS, P.O. Box 358, Grahamsville, NY 12740 by April 25.

See the announcement here. (Having trouble opening previous link? Right-click on it and choose “Open in new window.)

Posted by Mike Risinit on Thursday, March 13th, 2008 at 2:03 pm |
| | 2 Comments »

Stop ice fishing

February
20

For those ice fishing on the West Branch and Boyds Corner reservoirs in Carmel and Kent: STOP! That’s the word from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, which owns the drinking water reservoirs. tjndc5-5b5f98iumx5jogb9ezi_layout1.jpg

Ice fishing on those water bodies is prohibited until March 5 because the city will be raising and lowering their water levels, making any venture onto the ice unsafe.

The photo by TJN photographer Frank Becerra shows Steve See of Mahopac fishing on the West Branch in 2005.

Read on for the full text of the NYCDEP‘s announcement. Read more of this entry »

Posted by Mike Risinit on Wednesday, February 20th, 2008 at 12:36 pm |
| | 45 Comments »

Fix the leak

August
15

New York City’s reservoirs, which spread across Westchester, Putnam and the Catskill Mountains, are part of the region’s landscape – providing wildlife habitat, picturesque views and, of course, drinking water. Most of Westchester and part of Putnam gets its drinking water from the city’s system, including the part of the Delaware Aqueduct that’s leaking in different spots in Orange and Ulster counties.

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli today told the city’s Department of Environmental Protection to step up its plans to fix the leaks in order to avoid a catastrophe.

“The bridge collapse in Minneapolis and the steam pipe explosion in Manhattan are tragic reminders that we must repair and maintain our infrastructure. If the leaks in the tunnel lead to a complete collapse, New York would lose half its drinking water supply in an instant. DEP has to speed up plans to repair the tunnel, and it has to develop an emergency response plan in the event that the tunnel does collapse. Repairing the tunnel will be costly, but not as costly as shutting down half the City’s water supply,” he said as part of his audit report released today.

Pasted below is a TJN story about the city’s plan to fix the leaks.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

City:
State:
Section: NEWS
Page: 1A
From:
Source: STAFF
Edition: GWPR
Publication: The Journal News

New York City prepares to fix aqueduct

President Franklin D. Roosevelt was steering the country through World War II as drinking water began rushing through the Delaware Aqueduct. The last time someone climbed inside to inspect the tunnel supplying half of New York City’s water and much of Westchester County’s was as the Cold War was escalating.

Almost 50 years later, the city is preparing again to send workers and equipment deep into the Hudson Valley’s bedrock. Their mission will be to plug cracks in the concrete-lined tunnel through which up to 36 million gallons of water flows each day. But years of preparation, starting in the summer, come first – along with finding ways to keep the city’s water consumers fully supplied.

“Most people think of water as a given,” said Al Lopez, a deputy commissioner of the city’s Department of Environmental Protection.

The agency oversees the city’s almost 2,000-square-mile watershed, its 24 reservoirs, and some 400 miles of aqueducts and tunnels. Lopez is in charge of the Bureau of Engineering, Design and Construction. In total, he said, this project is as massive as any other undertaken by the city in its quest for water.

“They open the taps, and they expect water to come out,” he said. “We’re doing everything we can so we don’t change that attitude.”

Contractors will begin working where the Delaware Aqueduct crosses the Hudson River during its journey from the Catskill Mountains to the Kensico Reservoir in Valhalla. The work is a series of steps positioning the city to one day shut off the aqueduct and patch its leaks. But unlike closing your home’s main water valve for a few hours, you can’t just cut much of the water flowing to some 9 million people without somehow making up the difference.

“Currently, there is not sufficient supplemental water supply to NYC to allow any portion of the 85-mile Delaware Aqueduct to be taken out of service for an extended period of time,” according to the DEP’s report outlining its Tunnel and Shaft Rehabilitation Project. “Alternative water supply sources are being developed … however, these sources would not be available for a minimum of eight to 10 years.”

The rehabilitation is aimed at a 45-mile stretch from the outlet of the city’s Rondout Reservoir in the mountains to the West Branch Reservoir on the Kent-Carmel border. Six portals leading from the surface to the aqueduct will be improved. Some are scheduled for new electrical service or new monitoring instruments. New pumps will be placed in others or roads constructed around them. The goal is to have equipment and other measures in place for when the aqueduct needs to be drained and workers descend to make repairs – instead of rushing because of some emergency.

“This move makes sense, strategically. It recognizes the vulnerabilities of the system and attempts to get a head start on any remedial work that needs to be done down the line,” said Eric Goldstein, senior attorney for the Manhattan-based Natural Resources Defense Council.

The first step comes near the Dutchess County hamlet of Chelsea on the Hudson River, between Interstate 84 and Poughkeepsie. Others will follow, including a site in Putnam Valley off Route 301. But the shaft near Chelsea, which heads more than 600 feet underground, is the key to the project, the DEP’s Lopez said.

“Shaft 6 is the trigger, because it gives us the capability of dewatering the tunnel,” said Lopez, referring to the DEP’s plans to pump water out of the Delaware Aqueduct and into the Hudson River when the time comes to send in workers.

The leaks, which are on the west side of the Hudson River in Ulster and Orange counties, were first detected in 1990 and, according to the DEP, are not worsening. The DEP launched an AUV, or autonomous underwater vehicle, in 2003 to learn more about them. It floated through the 45-mile section, taking more than 160,000 digital photographs. Lopez said the mini-submersible is being readied for another run.

“There is no question we can do the repairs. It’s a question of looking at the cracks, deciding if you want to line it or fill it,” Lopez said.

If the aqueduct failed, said James Tierney, the watershed inspector general for state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, the result would be “an absolute catastrophe.” People would have to leave parts of the city and Westchester, he said, because there would be no water for fighting fires, flushing toilets, cooking, etc.

“At least what we’re finding here is, the size of the leak isn’t growing,” Tierney said. “It means they have to do it (the repairs), but it gives them breathing room.”

The Shaft 6 work is expected to take four years and cost $239 million. Shutting down the Delaware Aqueduct, according to the DEP, wouldn’t occur before 2011, when the city’s Croton filtration plant is expected to be operating. The Croton System, which sprawls across northern Westchester and Putnam counties, would then be used more and could supply up to 290 million gallons of the city’s daily demand – compared to its contribution now of no more than 100 million.

On average, 600 million gallons flow through that stretch of aqueduct every day. Along with conservation, the city is considering “a range of options,” said Anne Canty, deputy commissioner for Intergovernmental Affairs and Communications, to make up the potential deficit. Canty said possibilities include storing excess water in the Magothy Aquifer, a layer of rock and sand beneath Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island, and pumping it out when needed.

This is all part of the city’s Dependability Study – an effort to repair major components of its water system “and, yet ensure that there is a sufficient supply of drinking water” for consumers in the city and upstate.

“Everyone hopes that DEP is able to get control of this leak before things get more serious,” said Goldstein, of the NRDC. “You don’t want to be shopping for an umbrella when it’s pouring rain.”

Reach Michael Risinit at mrisinit@lohud.com or 845-228-2274.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Wednesday, August 15th, 2007 at 5:30 pm |
| | Comments Off on Fix the leak

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About this blog
The Nature of Things provides a chance to talk about the wild denizens that share the Lower Hudson Valley with us and the natural settings that make this place home for everyone. From Long Island Sound to the Hudson River to the Great Swamp and beyond, almost anything related to the environment is fair game in this blog.

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About the authors
SBenischekJournal News staff writer Greg Clary writes Earth Watch, reporting on environmental issues in the lower Hudson region. Clary has been a reporter, editor and columnist at the Journal News since 1988 and has covered police and courts, transportation, municipal government, development and the environment in the Lower Hudson Valley, among other topics.
Laura IncalcaterraLaura Incalcaterra covers the environment, open space and zoning and planning issues for The Journal News. A Boston College graduate, Laura grew up in Rockland, attended East Ramapo schools and has worked for The Journal News since 1993. Laura has written features and covered North Rockland, crime, government and a host of other issues.
SBenischekMike Risinit covers Patterson and Kent in Putnam County, as well as environmental topics touching on the Hudson River and the Great Swamp. Risinit has been a reporter at The Journal News since 1998.
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