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DISTRICT REMINDERS

  • Round 22 Stream Management Implementation Program (SMIP) Grant Applications due September 15th - The GCSWCD Schoharie Watershed Advisory Committee (SWAC), in conjunction with NYCDEP, are seeking qualified applications for stream management implementation projects. Funding is offered to implement projects, programs, or management efforts that serve to protect water quality within the Schoharie Reservoir watershed. Funding categories include: Education & Outreach, Highway & Infrastructure, Stream Restoration, Habitat & Recreation, Planning & Assessment, and Local Flood Analysis. For more information, click here or contact by e-mail or call 518-622-3620.
 
  • Catskill Streams Buffer Initiative (CSBI) is accepting applications from streamside landowners - Would you be interested in having some native trees and shrubs installed next to the stream on your property? Landowners with streamside property located within the Schoharie Reservoir watershed can request a site visit to have a streamside assessment and learn more about restoration opportunities through CSBI. Participants of this program work with GCSWCD to develop a planting plan to enhance or restore their riparian buffer with native trees and flowering shrubs along the stream to improve wildlife habitat and help protect streambanks from erosion during future storm events. For more information, click here or contact Laura by e-mail or call 518-622-3620.
  • Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) - GCSWCD staff are available to help farmers interested in participating in the Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) program. This state program was designed to enhance farm operations while protecting natural resources. As part of the program, staff evaluate current agricultural practices, offer conservation plans to address concerns, and connect the farm with available financial or technical assistance. Participation in AEM is a requirement for NYS Grown & Certified. To learn more about the AEM program, contact Michelle by e-mail or call 518-622-3620.

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Streamside Forest Restoration on the East Kill

Riparian buffer planting on the East Kill, a tributary to the Schoharie Reservoir, part of the New York City drinking water supply (left). Tree tubes were installed to prevent excessive deer browse and increase the chance of survival (right).
Hunter, NY— This past spring, GCSWCD and Catskill Steams Buffer Initiative (CSBI) completed a streamside planting next to the East Kill which flows into the Schoharie Creek and is part of the Schoharie Reservoir watershed.

The 0.28 acre planting area had been cleared to create an access road for construction of a new bridge. Prior to planting, the streambank at this location was stabilized with riprap placed on the bridge abutments to protect the bank from scour. With the construction complete, an opportunity existed to fill in the gap in vegetation and re-establish the streamside forest buffer.

To enhance the diversity of native species in the riparian area, the land adjacent to the stream, 24 different species were selected based on their ability to tolerate a range of soil conditions.

CSBI provides technical assistance to streamside landowners in the Schoharie Reservoir watershed and develops plans with recommendations for those who choose to improve the health of their riparian areas. Healthy riparian areas with a variety of native plants benefit streams and landowners. Benefits include improved water quality by filtering sediment and pollutants from soil runoff, stabilized streambanks and protection from streambank erosion, and increased habitat and food for fish and wildlife.

Common native riparian plants found growing in the Catskills include: willow shrubs, alders, elderberry, meadowsweet, American hornbeam, red maple, and white pine. These native trees and shrubs will create a healthy riparian zone that will eventually shade the stream to keep the water temperature cooler for native fish during the summer months.

Riparian buffer plantings demonstrate increased landowner stewardship for the protection of local streams. The long-term goals of CSBI projects include improving riparian areas with native vegetation to stabilize streambanks while enhancing fish and wildlife habitat.

If you own property along a stream in the Schoharie Reservoir watershed and would be interested in planting native trees and shrubs on your property, please call Laura Weyeneth, CSBI Coordinator, at 518-622-3620 or e-mail laura@gcswcd.com for more information.

Stream Management Funding Available for Schoharie Reservoir Watershed

The fall 2019 culvert replacement on County Route 2 is a recent example of a project that received SMIP funding. This culvert is located on an unnamed tributary to the Little West Kill in the Town of Lexington. The previous structure (left) was undersized and in poor condition. This structure was replaced with a new box culvert (right). Specific project goals included the improvement of road stability, flow conveyance, sediment transport continuity, habitat connectivity, and aquatic organism passage. This project involved the collaboration of the Greene County Highway Department, the GCSWCD, and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP). Funding for this project was provided by the Greene County Highway Department and the Stream Management Implementation Program (SMIP).
Schoharie Reservoir watershed—The Stream Management Implementation Program (SMIP) offers funding to implement projects, programs, or management efforts that serve to protect water quality within the Schoharie Reservoir watershed (geographic area of land where water drains to the Schoharie Reservoir).

The SMIP is a reimbursement-based grant opportunity administered through the Schoharie Watershed Stream Management Program (SWSMP) at the GCSWCD. The SMIP provides funding for implementing the recommendations identified in the Stream Management Plans and the Action Plans.

The Stream Management Plans document the built and natural characteristics of the stream corridors and provide a blueprint for communities to address systemic concerns related to protecting public and private property, fisheries habitat, and water quality. Comprehensive Stream Management Plans for the Schoharie Reservoir watershed include: the Batavia Kill (2003), West Kill (2005), East Kill (2007), Schoharie Creek (2007), and Manor Kill (2009).

The Action Plans direct the implementation of Stream Management Plans by distilling large, overarching goals into smaller, more manageable projects.

To be eligible for SMIP funding, projects must be located within or support the Schoharie Reservoir watershed, follow the Stream Stewardship Principles, and be consistent with the Stream Management Plans and/or Action Plans.

SMIP offers funding in the following areas:
  • Education & Outreach: Stream-related workshops, newsletters, public meetings, school programs, stream clean-ups, volunteer plantings, educational kiosks, outreach materials, and/or trainings.
  • Highway & Infrastructure: Upgrade undersized culverts to improve stream stability and water quality, use of higher quality road abrasives, potential cost-share to properly size bridges to avoid channel constriction, incorporate vegetation into road embankments, utility crossing management, floodplain management of public lands, and/or critical area seeding (treatment of open ditches through seeding and mulching or other creative treatment techniques in steeper settings).
  • Stream Restoration: Develop stream and floodplain stewardship plans for streamside landowners, provide land stewardship assistance, and/or address erosion issues utilizing best available science through stream restoration projects with high water quality improvement benefits. Streamside landowners should work with their municipal officials to obtain a letter of support for stream stewardship or restoration on private property.
  • Habitat & Recreation: Habitat enhancements may include fisheries improvements and/or habitat enhancements (instream and in floodplain), wetland enhancements, and/or rain gardens. Recreation-based opportunities may include stream access improvements, increasing navigability, development of watershed recreation plan, and/or streamside amenities open to the public.
  • Planning & Assessment: Floodplain management, coordinated flood response, technical assistance, land use/open space planning and/or incorporating stream management into economic development initiatives, creating/enhancing local control through environmental policies, collaborating at the county, regional, and local level supporting watershed communities, and/or watershed and stream-related research assessments, and monitoring.
  • Local Flood Analysis: Local Flood Analysis (LFA) recommended projects that include stream and floodplain restoration that result in offsite flood reduction.
Interested applicants are encouraged to inquire with SWSMP staff at GCSWCD to discuss project ideas prior to submitting an application. Contact is available by e-mail (smip@gcswcd.com) or by phone (518-622-3620). Applications are due March 15th and September 15th of each year. Applicants are encouraged to submit applications prior to the application deadlines.

For more information, to view the documents mentioned in this article (Stream Management Plans, Action Plans, and Stream Stewardship Principles), or to download a SMIP application, visit the SMIP webpage.

 

Acknowledging SWAC Habitat & Recreation Subcommittee Member for Years of Dedication

Schoharie Reservoir watershed— It is with gratitude that the GCSWCD is presenting an award acknowledging the years of work that Vince DuBois and his wife, Louise, have dedicated to the well-being of the Schoharie Reservoir watershed (the geographic area of land where all water drains to the Schoharie Reservoir).

For years, Vince has focused on the trout fishery of the Schoharie Reservoir watershed through his membership on the Schoharie Watershed Advisory Committee (SWAC) Habitat & Recreation Subcommittee as well as through his membership and presidency of the Columbia-Greene Chapter of Trout Unlimited and help coordinating fish stocking in NYSDEC’s Region Four.

Vince and Louise helped the watershed get recognized by setting up the 2013 Northeast Regional Meeting of Trout Unlimited at Windham Mountain in the Catskills. Vince also helped coordinate
riparian tree plantings with GCSWCD and Trout Unlimited. He was instrumental working with the county and Trout Unlimited in helping to educate public workers in how to best restore streams subsequent to floods. Further, he has been supportive of efforts to treat loss of stream habitat connectivity and to protect critical thermal trout habitat.

On behalf of the GCSWCD, and members of the SWAC Habitat & Recreation Subcommittee, we wish to extend a huge thank you to both Vincent and Louise for all they have done for the Schoharie Reservoir watershed, for its trout fishery, and for the local outdoor economy.

What is the SWAC Habitat & Recreation Subcommittee?
The SWAC was formed in 2008 to foster a partnership between local municipalities within the Schoharie Reservoir watershed, the GCSWCD, and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. The SWAC Habitat & Recreation Subcommittee is one of three SWAC subcommittees (the other two are Highway & Infrastructure and Education & Outreach). The SWAC Habitat & Recreation Subcommittee represents the collective interests of stakeholders with knowledge and expertise in the areas of recreation and aquatic/streamside habitats.

The SWAC Habitat & Recreation Subcommittee is open to any individual who seeks to improve, restore, or protect aquatic and streamside habitats; individuals who conduct watershed and stream-related research, assessments, and monitoring; individuals who seek to provide and improve stream-based recreational opportunities; and individuals who work to improve and enhance public access to stream resources. For more information, or if you are interested in joining the SWAC Habitat & Recreation Subcommittee, reach out to the Schoharie Watershed Stream Management Program staff at GCSWCD at 518-622-3620 or smip@gcswcd.com.

Bear Kill Stream Feature Inventory (SFI) Scheduled for Summer 2020

The GCSWCD team recording information about a stream crossing during a past SFI of the Batavia Kill (left). The GCSWCD team recording information about a beaver dam obstruction during a past SFI of the East Kill (right).
Schoharie Reservoir watershed—Beginning this summer, a team of GCSWCD staff and interns are conducting a stream feature inventory (SFI) on the Bear Kill.

A stream feature inventory (SFI) is one of the first steps in a watershed assessment. The SFI involves walking the entire length of a stream and recording key stream features (e.g., streambank erosion, invasive species, large woody debris, etc.) along the way. A GPS will be used to record and map the locations of key stream features. Stream trends can be identified by comparing the findings of past SFIs to current SFIs.

While the Bear Kill is not located in Greene County, the stream is part of the Schoharie Reservoir watershed (geographic area of land where all water drains to the Schoharie Reservoir). The Schoharie Watershed Stream Management Program at GCSWCD conducts SFIs on the major streams and tributaries located within the drainage basin of the Schoharie Reservoir. Our program is interested in monitoring stream health and checking for existing or potential water quality issues. While walking through the stream, staff might notice water quality issues that should be addressed and areas with significant streambank erosion in need of future repair. The information collected during the SFI will help to prioritize potential stream projects.

For the Bear Kill, our team will be recording key stream features to increase our understanding of the current condition of the stream corridor and its surrounding watershed. This is the first SFI to be conducted on the Bear Kill. The findings of the SFI will be compiled into a report that classifies areas which will require continued evaluation or issues that must be addressed.

For more information about the SFI, please contact Michelle McDonough, District Technician, at 518-622-3620 or by e-mail at michellem@gcswcd.com.
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