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District updates, upcoming community events, and information about riparian buffers for streamside landowners.
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DISTRICT REMINDERS

  • 2016 Bare Root Tree and Shrub Sale order forms will be posted online and mailed out upon request in January. Plants are available at a low cost for conservation purposes, but also add to the beauty of your property. Contact GCSWCD at 518-622-3620 to request an order form.
  • NYS Agricultural Lands Assessment Program work will begin January 1, 2016. Contact GCSWCD at 518-622-3620 if you need your farmland classified by soil productivity. Click here for more information about the program.
  • 2016 Schoharie Watershed Summit has been moved from January to April. The summit will be held on Saturday, April 2, 2016. Mark your calendars now!
  • SMIP Grant Applications are due March 15, 2016. Municipalities, landowners, schools, and not-for-profit organizations that promote watershed programming in the Schoharie Watershed are encouraged to visit the website for more information.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

  • Saturday, December 5th - Forest Farmers' Market  featuring locally grown and hand-crafted items, including honey and maple syrup, ornaments, baked goods and many beautiful gifts for everyone on your list!
  • Tuesday, February 9th - Catskill Park Awareness Day 2016. Each year the Catskill Park Coalition gathers in Albany to meet with legislators to discuss the urgent needs of the Catskill Park and Forest Preserve.

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Restoring Streamside Vegetation along the Windham Path

CATSKILL STREAMS BUFFER INITIATIVE

Planting trees and shrubs along the Batavia Kill at the Windham Path in October 2015.
Visitors to the Windham Path may have noticed some new plantings along the streams on the property. The staff at GCSWCD planted hundreds of native trees and shrubs along the Batavia Kill and a tributary at the Windham Path. These plants have been installed to increase the riparian buffer of the area.

What is a riparian buffer? Riparian, or streamside, buffers are vegetated or undisturbed natural areas that help to protect a waterbody by improving water quality, increasing habitat, stabilizing streambanks, providing stream shade and temperature control, and improving flood control.

How do riparian buffers improve water quality? Riparian buffers serve as natural biofiters, protecting aquatic environments from polluted surface runoff. Riparian buffers reduce the amount of sediment flowing into streams by slowing surface water velocity and allowing the sediment to settle on the ground. Riparian buffers reduce nutrients (such as nitrogen and phosphorous), pesticides, and other chemicals by slowing surface water velocity and allowing water to soak into the ground or be absorbed by the plants, where some of these pollutants can be broken down.

How can riparian buffers increase habitat? Riparian buffers are extremely complex ecosystems that help provide optimum food and habitat for stream communities. The habitat provided by trees and shrubs also doubles as a corridor for species that have had their habitat fragmented by various land uses. Both aquatic and terrestrial species benefit from riparian buffers that have been protected or restored. The leaves and woody debris that fall into the stream provide food and habitat for even the tiniest of aquatic creatures, which are critical for the food chain.

How can riparian buffers help stabilize streambanks? Native plants form extensive root systems that help hold the soil in place and slow the process or erosion.

How can riparian buffers provide water temperature control? By providing shade over the streams, trees and shrubs are able to help regulate the water temperature. They can even have a significant impact on moderating the affects of climate change on aquatic ecosystems, particularly in our headwater streams.

How do riparian buffers improve flood control? Riparian buffers encourage infiltration of stormwater by slowing the speed of the water running off the land and increasing the amount of water that is absorbed into the ground. Groundwater enters the stream at a much slower rate than surface water, which helps control flooding and maintain stream flow throughout the year.

 

Streamside Landowners: Do You Need Riparian Buffer Assistance?

CATSKILL STREAMS BUFFER INITIATIVE

Map of the Schoharie Watershed
  • Do you own streamside property in the Schoharie Watershed? (see map above)
  • Would you like to improve your riparian buffer?
  • Are you worried about bank erosion?
  • Have you recently done work on your streambank?
  • Are you planning on doing stream work the during the next construction season?
  • Would you like a qualified professional to help diagnose your stream problems and determine a sustainable solution?
  • Perhaps, your streamside area is in good condition and you want to maintain it or improve it for wildlife habitat?
 
If you have answered yes to any of these questions, you may qualify for a project under the Catskill Streams Buffer Initiative (CSBI). The CSBI program is now accepting applications for the 2016 season.

Contact Laura, GCSWCD’s CSBI Coordinator, at (518) 622-3620 for help.

Opportunity for High School Students

HUDSON VALLEY REGIONAL ENVIROTHON

  High school students from Columbia, Delaware, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Ulster, Sullivan, and Westchester counties are all invited to participate in the HV Regional Envirothon.
Calling all high school students and teachers! Registration for the 2016 Hudson Valley Regional Envirothon is available now.

Students in grades 9-12 compete on five-member teams. Each school may send up to two teams to the competition. Teams must be accompanied by an adult advisor (e.g., parent or teacher). The primary goal of the Envirothon is to learn about the natural environment we live in so as to become stewards of the land. In preparation for the event, students develop research skills, practice team building, and gain an appreciation for consensus decision making.

There is no cost to the students, parents, or school to participate in the Envirothon. For more information about the program contact Samantha, GCSWCD's Education & Outreach Coordinator.

GCSWCD Receives CCE's "Friend of the Extension" Award

NOVEMBER 2015

Staff at GCSWCD took the lead on a grant proposal to improve the parking area of the CCE's Agroforestry Center building in Greene County. If approved, this grant will improve CCE's stormwater management.
The Board of Directors of the Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Columbia and Greene Counties has approved Greene County Soil & Water Conservation District as this year's recipient of the "Friend of Extension" recognition. This award distinguishes a person or organization who has demonstrated truly outstanding support and personal involvement in the work of Cornell Cooperative Extension.

The GCSWCD and CCE have had a strong supportive relationship for many years. This spring, two of our staff, Jake Buchanan and Chris Langworthy, worked almost exclusively on a grant proposal to the NYS Environmental Facilities Corporation for the development and construction of a permeable parking area along with over ten additional green features for the CCE Agroforestry Center. This grant, if approved, will not only improve CCE's stormwater management but provide educational components that can be used to train and educate local residents and others using the CCE facilities on good stormwater practices.

Watershed Assistance Program Updates

WATERSHED ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

Trails, flood studies, scenic corridors, and more! The Watershed Assistance Program (WAP) has been actively working with communities, regional organizations and landowners across the Schoharie Watershed on a host of projects involving outdoor recreation improvements, flood mitigation studies, the Mountain Cloves Scenic Byway in the Town of Hunter, a FEMA flood buyout program after Hurricane Irene, watershed educational programming, and the WAP is now gearing up for a review of the next five year Filtration Avoidance Determination which drives the watershed programming for NYC.  With its mission to provide a wide range of services for the mountaintop community that support watershed protection and community sustainability, there is no shortage of projects for the Watershed Assistance Program.

Educational Programming Updates

WATERSHED ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

Attendees at the 9th annual Schoharie Watershed Summit in January 2015.
Each year the Watershed Assistance Program (WAP) organizes a watershed summit for local officials, town employees, regional agencies, consultants, and landowners. The conference provides timely information on watershed programs and serves as an excellent networking venue for public and private interests. Sponsored by GCSWCD and NYCDEP, the January 2015 conference highlighted successful flood relocation projects, use of local flood studies to guide cost effective projects, and new funding programs in the city watershed to assist communities with flood mitigation. We are now in the planning stages for the 10th annual Schoharie Watershed Summit, which is scheduled for Saturday, April 2, 2016. We hope to see you there!
 
Schoharie Watershed Month 2015. A group led by Peter Manning (Genius Loci Planning) on a Bearpen Mtn hike and a group of paddlers at the Schoharie Reservoir.
The Schoharie Watershed Month is another highlight of the WAP’s educational programming. Funded by NYCDEP and organized by the Schoharie Watershed Program, Schoharie Watershed Month provides a variety of free public activities and events focused on watershed protection and appreciation. Schoharie Watershed Month also provides a chance for you and/or your organization to take ACTION. Whether it’s planting trees along our streams, cleaning streams, building a rain garden,  or monitoring your local stream, participating in Schoharie Watershed month will give you the opportunity to protect, preserve, or restore our local waterways. Schoharie Watershed Month is a community- and family-oriented event that provides a host of fun educational activities on water quality for the entire mountaintop.

We are now in the planning stages for the next Schoharie Watershed Month coming up in May 2016. Contact Samantha if you're interested in hosting an activity for the 2016 Schoharie Watershed Month.

Kaaterskill Rail Trail Phase 1

WATERSHED ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

Ribbon cutting at the Kaaterskill Rail Trail on June 1, 2013.
On June 1, 2013 the first phase of the Kaaterskill Rail Trail (KRT) officially opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony, guided hikes and plenty of food for all who came.  The Greene County Watershed Assistance Program (WAP) facilitated a group of dedicated partners representing the NY-NJ Trail Conference, the Town of Hunter, the Mountain Top Historical Society, the NYSDEC, and private landowners to open a 1.5 mile stretch of the abandoned Ulster and Delaware RR line as a hiking trail.  The project was envisioned for close to 25 years, and the Mountaintop Community Resource Strategy the WAP coordinated brought it back to life.  After four years of planning and coordination, the KRT became a reality. 

Now the WAP is working with the KRT committee on expanding the trail west to Tannersville to connect to the popular Huckleberry Trail, a multi-use bike path/trail on the old Huckleberry Line Railroad bed.  A side trail is also being created from the KRT with a head-on view of Kaaterskill Falls that is breathtaking.  With the expected opening of this side trail in 2016, visitors will be treated to one of the most amazing views of the iconic, world-renowned Kaaterskill Falls.

Community Flood Advisory Committees and Local Flood Analyses

WATERSHED ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

The Watershed Assistance Program (WAP) is a conduit for increased watershed related efforts bridging the gap between land use planning, watershed planning, and economic development. Since Hurricane Irene there has been much focus on supporting local communities with flood mitigation planning and projects.  NYCDEP funds local flood analyses (LFAs) through the local Stream Management Implementation Program and the WAP coordinates the flood advisory committees for communities developing LFAs. If cost effective projects are identified, the WAP is available to assist the town in implementing them. This is a relatively new area of programming but one that will reap long-term benefits to minimizing flood risk to population centers in the watershed. 
 
For more information, contact the WAP office at 518-589-6871, visit us at 6049 Main Street, Tannersville, email Michelle Yost, or visit our website.
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Copyright © 2015 Greene County Soil and Water Conservation District, All rights reserved.


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