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.