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What's happening at GCSWCD? Take a look at our recent programs and see what we're up to this season.
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DISTRICT REMINDERS

  • Round 18 Stream Management Implementation Program (SMIP) Grant Applications due September 15th - The GCSWCD and Schoharie Watershed Advisory Committee (SWAC), in conjunction with NYCDEP, are seeking qualified applications for stream management implementation projects in the following categories: Education & Outreach, Highway & Infrastructure, Landowner Stream Assistance, Recreation and Habitat Enhancements, Planning and Assessment, and Flood Hazard Mitigation. For more information about this opportunity click here or contact Abbe at 518-622-3620.

  • Catskill Streams Buffer Initiative (CSBI) is accepting applications— Schoharie watershed landowners with property within a riparian buffer (streamside) area may be eligible to participate in the CSBI program. Participants of this program work with GCSWCD to develop a planting plan for 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 at 518-622-3620.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

  • July 26th-29th—Don’t miss the annual Greene County Youth Fair at the Angelo Canna Town Park in Cairo. Now in its 64th year, the youth fair has something for everyone in the family to enjoy, with live animals, music, rides, and other entertainment. This year’s theme for the youth fair is “Once Upon a Time.” GCSWCD staff and interns will be located inside the main tent with our stream table on display. Bring the family and stop by our booth to see simulated streams in action and learn more about our local restoration and conservation work. This community event has free admission and entertainment. For more information about the youth fair, visit www.thegreenecountyyouthfair.com.
We hope to see you there!

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Schoharie Watershed Month Highlights

EDUCATION & OUTREACH UPDATE

Group photo from the Spring in Spruceton Photography Walk. Photo credit: Francis X. Driscoll
Schoharie Watershed—This May, we celebrated the 9th Annual Schoharie Watershed Month. Throughout the month, we hosted a variety of free public activities and events focused on watershed protection and appreciation. Schoharie Watershed Month featured community-  and family-oriented events that  provided a host of fun educational activities on water quality. From story time to native tree and shrub plantings, Schoharie Watershed Month activities and events offered something for everyone.
 
May 4th—Opening Reception for the Student Art Exhibit at the Mountain Top Library in Tannersville, NY. Students from schools around the mountaintop displayed their paintings, photographs, and other artwork for the “Now Streaming: Life in the Schoharie Watershed” art show. Exhibit ran through the month of May. 
 
May 5th—GCSWCD partnered with local photographer, Francis X. Driscoll, for a guided photography walk along the West Kill in Spruceton Valley. Participants learned tips on how to take beautiful macro and landscape photos, while enjoying the pristine environment of the surroundings.
 
May 8th—GCSWCD staff attended the annual Trout in the Classroom Release for students from the Hunter Elementary School. Our staff led a riparian buffer station that taught students the importance of having trees and shrubs along streambanks and we were joined by volunteers from Trout Unlimited, who taught fly casting and tying.
 
May 12th—GCSWCD teamed up with the Mountain Top Arboretum to host the second annual Invasive Species Day. Dan Snider, of the Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership (CRISP),  gave a presentation about spring ephemerals and common invasive plants and then led the group in a walk around the Mountain Top Arboretum grounds to identify common invasive species and discuss removal and management options.
 
 May 13th—GCSWCD’s Michelle Yost organized an event with the Hunter Area Trails Coalition to bring awareness about the local trail initiatives in the area. This event took place on the Hunter Branch Rail Trail and included discussion on history and local flora and fauna.

May 26th—GCSWCD assisted with the Mountain Top Arboretum’s Volunteer Appreciation Day and Native Shrub Planting event. Our staff removed invasive honeysuckle and vetch on the property and the volunteers worked together to revegetate with native plants.
 
June 2nd—The Mountain Top Arboretum led a Bog Tour with Mike Kudish as part of Schoharie Watershed Month. Participants learned about bog ecology and the history of bogs in the Catskills.
 
Saturdays in May—The Mountain Top Library in Tannersville hosted a weekly Eco-Friendly Story Time and Craft Hour for budding young naturalists. GCSWCD assisted with book selection and the hands-on crafts were focused on environmental topics.

12th Annual Schoharie Watershed Summit Highlights

EDUCATION & OUTREACH UPDATE







Audience during the morning program at the 2018 Schoharie Watershed Summit.
Hunter, NY—On Saturday, April 7th, the GCSWCD’s Schoharie Watershed Program held its 12th Annual Schoharie Watershed Summit with 101 attendees. This year’s theme, “Managing Water Quality in a Living Watershed: Putting the Pieces Together in the Schoharie Basin,” covered a variety of topics regarding the Schoharie watershed including: the history of the building of the Gilboa Dam and Schoharie Reservoir, current projects in the NYC watershed, and information about how GCSWCD does stream restoration with an introduction to the basics in stream channel morphology and floodplain dynamics. As always, the summit provided a forum for discussion about water quality.

This year’s program featured opening presentations by Diane Galusha (Catskill Watershed Corporation), “Flood, Fire and Fossils: The story of the Schoharie Reservoir,” and Adam Bosch (NYC DEP), “The State of Good Repair: Four projects that will shape the future of NYC’s water supply in the Catskills.” GCSWCD’s Joel DuBois concluded the morning presentations with “Streams 101: The Basics of Stream Channel Morphology and Flood Plain Dynamics.” Afternoon workshop sessions included a choice of four workshops that gave two hours of municipal credits for planning and zoning board members.

This annual program is suitable for all water resource stakeholders (e.g., municipal officials, planners, engineers, watershed managers, regulators, and property owners) who are interested in learning more about water quality in the region. Planning for the 2019 Schoharie Watershed Summit will commence this fall. Please contact 518-622-3620 to be added to the planning committee for this annual event.

Culvert Assessment Work Continues with NAACC

DISTRICT UPDATE

(Left) Staff from CCE and GCSWCD measure outlet dimensions of a perched, double culvert.
(Right) Measuring the width of a natural bottom, box bridge over the Shingle Kill.
Cairo, NY—This summer, GCSWCD, in cooperation with Columbia-Greene Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE), will be assessing road-stream crossings in the town of Cairo. These assessments will become part of the North Atlantic Aquatic Connectivity Collaborative (NAACC) database. NAACC is a partnership of state and federal agencies, conservation organizations, and universities, that work together to improve aquatic connectivity in the mid-Atlantic and Northeastern U.S. regions.

Aquatic connectivity refers to the continuity of stream ecosystems. Road-stream crossings, such as bridges and culverts, have been known to break the continuity of the stream, which can cause disturbances that impact humans as well as wildlife.

Improperly sized or misaligned stream crossings can have negative impacts on natural stream processes. The flow of water, especially the water velocity, can be significantly altered. Often, this results in bed or bank scour, which can lead to instability of the streambank or the road. Changes to the transport of sediment and woody debris, which is common around stream crossings, can lead to elevation drops at the inlet or outlet of the crossing, or create a backwater pool upstream of the structure.

Undersized or misaligned crossings are more sensitive during storm events, which can have significant impacts to humans. It is common to see flooding during storm events around undersized or misaligned stream crossings because stormwater is unable to flow through the structures efficiently.

In addition to the flooding hazard, improperly sized or misaligned culverts can also negatively affect wildlife. Aquatic and terrestrial wildlife passage can be limited by undersized or failing culverts and bridges. High water velocities, elevation drops at the inlet or outlet, and insufficient dry passage through structures all contribute to the fragmentation of wildlife habitat. These factors can split species communities and change animal migration patterns.

NAACC assessments take an inventory of existing road-stream crossings, primarily bridges and culverts, and rank the severity of the barrier they are to the passage of flows and wildlife. Crossings are evaluated and ranked based on their shape, size, material, and how they interact with the stream and surrounding floodplain. NAACC can help support planning efforts by providing access to the information needed to prioritize where restoration projects will improve stream continuity the most.

For more information about NAACC, how to access the prioritization map, or find out how you can get involved, go to NAACC’s website at www.streamcontinuity.org or contact our office at 518-622-3620.

Greene County Roadside Ditches Going Green

DISTRICT UPDATE







GCSWCD staff work together to drive along the side of the road and hydroseed a roadside ditch.
Each spring, GCSWCD staff work with local highway departments to follow-up with seeding and mulching after annual roadside ditch cleaning.

Our staff perform both power mulching and hydroseeding. The method used depends on the area that needs to be planted:

Power Mulching is great for covering large areas of ground with flat or gentle slopes. Our staff uses a cyclone seeder to spread a dry seed mix on the freshly prepared soil and then we follow up the area with a power mulcher that can be mounted on a truck or trailer which covers the seeded area with a layer of hay.

Hydroseeding is ideal for covering areas with steep banks that could be problematic for traditional seed and mulch. This method involves a liquid slurry of seed and mulch (as well as fertilizer, tackifying agents, and green dye) that is transported in a tank on a trailer and sprayed along the freshly prepared soil of the roadside ditch. Newly hydroseeded areas have a green appearance from the applied slurry.

Both methods of seeding are effective at quickly covering large areas. Seeding roadside ditches is beneficial for sediment control because, once established, the vegetation helps prevent future soil erosion.

West Kill Stream Feature Inventory (SFI) Will Be Conducted During Summer 2018

DISTRICT UPDATE




Peter Barron (SCA Stream Stewardship Intern) recording points of interest in a GPS unit during an SFI of the West Kill.
Beginning in mid-June 2018, Peter Barron, SCA Stream Stewardship Intern, and GCSWCD staff began conducting a stream feature inventory on the West Kill.

A stream feature inventory (SFI) is one of the first steps in a watershed assessment and it increases our understanding of the current condition of a stream corridor and its surrounding watershed. A GPS will be used to record and map the locations of important features in a stream, such as conditions which impact sediment transport and water quality, bank erosion, infrastructure, invasive species (such as Japanese knotweed), and other features (tributary confluences, wells, diversions, etc.).

West Kill’s SFI was previously performed in 2004 and 2005. The findings of the West Kill SFI will be compiled into a report that classifies areas which will require continued evaluation or issues that must be addressed. Stream trends can be identified by comparing the findings of the 2004 & 2005 SFIs to the 2018 SFI.

Meet Our 2018 Interns

DISTRICT UPDATE







Peter Barron (left) with Haley Keff (right) during a field work day on the West Kill.
Peter Barron
SCA Stream Stewardship Intern

Pete graduated from Carleton College in 2017 with a degree in geology, and is currently serving as the 11-month SCA Stream Stewardship Intern. So far he has been creating maps for the West Kill Stream Feature Inventory (SFI ), helping design CSBI riparian buffer projects, and assisting with various field work and education programs. During the remainder of his term Pete will be working on collecting field data for the West Kill SFI, project monitoring, and improving the District’s augmented reality sandbox education tool.
  
Haley Keff
GCSWCD Summer Intern

Haley is joining us for her second consecutive summer working as the District’s summer intern. Haley will be graduating in the spring of 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in wildlife management from SUNY Cobleskill. Haley’s goals for this internship include learning new survey methods and techniques, taking part in community conservation efforts that improve our local streambanks, and gaining a stronger understanding of stream ecology in general. Haley is honored to once again be part of a program that is working hard to improve our community and environment.
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