In This Issue

 

 
The District Commemorates its 50th Anniversary and the 15th Anniversary of the Stream Management Program Partnership with NYC DEP

This year marks two major milestones for the Greene County Soil and Water Conservation District.  In 2011 we are celebrating the 50thAnniversary of the District’s formation, and also the 15thAnniversary of New York City Dept. of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Stream Management Program partnership. The GCSWCD was created in 1961 as a response to a severe flood event.  In 1960 the Mountaintop region of Greene County experienced major flooding and damage as a result of Hurricane Donna, with the Town of Windham being exceptionally hard hit by the storm. The GCSWCD was created in 1961 to facilitate flood recovery and prevention efforts. 

Over our history, the District has adjusted its soil and water conservation roles to reflect the current needs of county landowners, agricultural operators, and stakeholders. A primary focus of the GCSWCD has always been soil erosion control, with agricultural programs dominating much of the District’s early work. In the 1980’s water quality began to take on a larger emphasis in District programs, and in 1996 another storm event (Hurricane Andrew) ushered in a significant partnership program with NYC DEP.
 

This year, DEP and GCSWCD are celebrating the 15thAnniversary of their Stream Management Program (SMP) partnership.  In the entire West of Hudson (WOH) watershed, the SMP has invested $55M since 1996 in developing and implementing stream management plans and projects with Catskills communities. These programs and projects promote best management practices to improve the natural stability and ecological integrity of the region’s streams while pursuing the common objectives of flood hazard mitigation, water quality protection, and fish habitat improvement. 

 

 Chart of Projects




Mountain Top Library Stormwater Retrofit Scheduled for 2011

This spring GCSWCD will begin construction on a stormwater retrofit project in the Village of Tannersville. The project site is the long-vacant Marian Center Building which will soon become the home of the Mountain Top Library and Learning Center.  The District’s retrofit project will protect water quality from the negative impacts of stormwater runoff from the site by utilizing low impact development and better site design practices. 
 
Mountain Top Library Stormwater Retrofit Concept Plan   
(Above) Mountiain Top Library Stormwater Retrofit Concept Plan

The project will serve approximately 1 acre of impervious surfaces (buildings & parking facilities) that currently convey untreated stormwater runoff to the Sawkill Creek (a tributary of the Schoharie).  Stormwater runoff is detrimental to water quality because it carries pollutants and sediments from the ground into waterbodies.  Rapid runoff also causes erosion and degrades aquatic habitat. The retrofit project will involve installing permeable pavement, rain gardens, rooftop gutters, and an underground stormwater conveyance and treatment system. These practices will help protect water quality and ecosystems from the negative impacts of stormwater.

The District is very happy to be involved in implementing this project in partnership with the Mountain Top Library.  Once completed, the new Mountain Top Library and Learning Center will be a state-of-the-art facility with expanded library catalogue, programming, and services.  In addition to protecting water quality, the Mountain Top Library Stormwater Retrofit Project will educate the public on stormwater and the various techniques available to mitigate existing and future stormwater impacts.

The District, working in partnership with the DEP Stream Management Program, was able to secure funding for the Mountain Top Library stormwater retrofit project throught the Stream Management Implementation Program (SMIP), the Catskill Watershed Corporation, and the US Army Corps of Engineers Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) administered by NYSDEC.


For more information on GCSWCD stream restoration and stormwater retrofit projects visit
www.gcswcd.com/swp/stream-sw-projs.

 


Putting Concepts into Action, Commencing Better Site Design Workshops

For the last two years, the GCSWCD Watershed Assistance Program (WAP) has presented concepts related to Better Site Design and Low Impact Development (LID) through educational forums, such as the Watershed Summits and Tours.  Moving from theory to practice, the WAP secured two grants to facilitate a year-long project with six Mountaintop communities that will walk them through a detailed local code review to identify where enhancements can be made to allow flexibility in implementing LID practices. 
 
The Stormwater Wetland of the Sugar Maples Stormwater Retrofit Project
(Above) The District’s Sugar Maples Stormwater Retrofit Project employs several LID techniques to manage stormwater, such as the stormwater wetland above. Through the Better Site Design Series the WAP hopes to prioritizethe incorporation of LID practices in future development projects.

The project, commencing in March 2011, will require significant involvement from local elected and appointed officials, engineering and consulting firms, and developers working in the watershed.  An introductory Better Site Design Workshop will orient participants to the project goals.  Subsequently, a series of roundtable meetings involving two focused subcommittees (streets & lots, natural areas & stormwater) will allow participants to analyze how their local codes may support or hinder better site design and to identify code changes or amendments that could better support LID principles.

The six municipalities participating in the project are the towns of Ashland, Jewett, Lexington, and Windham and the Villages of Hunter and Tannersville.  Grants were provided by the Catskill Watershed Corporation’s Local Technical Assistance Program and the Schoharie Watershed  Stream Management Implementation Program.                                                                                                            

For more information contact the WAP office at 518-589-6871, email michelle@gcswcd.com, or visit www.gcswcd.com/swp/wap.
                        


 
Round 4 Stream Management Implementation Program Proposals

Schoharie Watershed Advisory Committee Logo
 
The Greene County Soil & Water Conservation District, in partnership with New York City Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP), continues to administer grant funding for water quality awareness and improvement projects throughout the Schoharie basin.  February 1, 2011 marked the Round 4 deadline for Stream Management Implementation Program (SMIP) proposals, and the District received a number of strong applications.
 
Proposals under consideration for funding include: 2 landowner streambank restoration projects in the Town of Jewett, the construction of an outdoor classroom at the Mountain Top Arboretum, an environmental film series as part of Schoharie Watershed Month (May 2011), a Mountaintop Highway Ditch Re-vegetation Program, and 2 projects to support highway & infrastructure improvements.
 
The Round 4 SMIP proposals will be assessed by GCSWCD and DEP staff, and project funding will be decided by the Schoharie Watershed Advisory Committee (SWAC) at their March 30thmeeting.  The SWAC is a 15 member committee comprised of Schoharie watershed municipal representatives, subcommittee representatives, and a Greene County Legislator. The make-up of the SWAC is designed to represent the diversity of potential projects, as well as promote local officials' involvement in the decision-making process. NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation also reviews and signs off on all SMIP proposals.
 
The Stream Management Implementation Program (SMIP) has two annual grant rounds: Aug 1 & Feb 1, and offers funding for Landowner Stream Assistance, Education on Watershed Protection, Recreation & Habitat Improvements, Innovative Stormwater & Critical Area Seeding projects, and Highway & Infrastructure Improvements. 

For more information visit www.gcswcd.com/swp/smp/smip. To view the status and summaries of SMIP-funded projects, visit www.catskillstreams.org/grants.
 


Catskill Streams Buffer Initiative Enhances Riparian Buffers
Project Highlight : Valenti / Brewer Streamside Planting

Lexington landowners, Linda Brewer and Michael Valenti
(Above) Lexington landowners, Linda Brewer and Michael Valenti, participate in Catskill Streams Buffer Initiative.

A riparian buffer is the vegetated area adjacent to a stream that plays a key role in protecting water quality and providing various environmental benefits.  A healthy riparian buffer usually consists of a diverse assemblage of tree and shrub species.  Deeply rooted riparian buffers stabilize stream banks by anchoring sediment particles in place, and therefore play an essential role in the prevention of erosion.  These buffers also intercept surface runoff from upland sources which may contain contaminants such as sediment, pesticides, and nutrients.  Many of the unique wildlife species seen in the Catskill region rely on riparian areas for critical habitat.  Maintaining healthy and intact riparian areas and improving the condition of degraded riparian buffers are high priorities of the Catskill Streams Buffer Initiative (CSBI) program.
 
PROJECT PURPOSE:
The Valenti/Brewer riparian buffer planting demonstrates increased landowner stewardship for the protection of local streams and the New York City Catskill-Delaware Watershed.  The long-term goal of this project is to improve the West Kill’s riparian buffer in order to stabilize the streambank while also enhancing trout and wildlife habitat.
     
STEWARDSHIP:

The landowners signed a 5 year temporary license agreement to install native trees and shrubs along 590 feet of the West Kill in Lexington, NY.  Landowner goals include increasing the diversity of tree species growing next to the stream, restoring the riparian buffer, and increasing wildlife habitat.
 
PLANTING DETAILS:
TheGreene County Soil & Water Conservation District staff prepared the site by auguring holes. With the help of 5 Stream Program staff, the landowners installed 368containerized trees and shrubs on November 19, 2010.  A total of 19 native species including white pine, hemlock, white oak, sweet birch, hornbeam, serviceberry, silky dogwood and arrowwood were planted in a 40 foot wide buffer to assist the recovery of 23,600 square feet.
 
The Catskill Streams Buffer Initiative (CSBI) helps residential landowners protect their property and preserve natural habitat along stream banks in the Catskill/Delaware watershed areas.  If you are a streamside landowner interested in applying for a CSBI grant, contact Laura Weyeneth, the CSBI Coordinator for the Schoharie Watershed at 518-622-3620 or laura@gcswcd.com to schedule a site visit for your property.

 

 
Fifth Annual Schoharie Watershed Summit Draws Many


The frigid temperatures on Saturday, January 22, 2011 did not deter the 100+ Mountaintop planning and elected officials, engineering firms, watershed managers, and interested property owners from attending the 5thannual Watershed Summit at the Hunter Elementary School.  Water quality training topics included floodplain management and flood response, stormwater impacts from non-point sources, and regulations governing stormwater control.  The Summit also highlighted alternatives to site planning and use of low impact development practices that reduce impervious cover by using natural features to avoid, reduce, and manage stormwater runoff.  A special track in the afternoon focused on a variety of funding resources available to watershed communities and property owners. 
 
Schoharie Watershed Summit
(Above) The 2011 Summit keynote speaker, Don Lake, discusses development impacts on streams and how these can be mitigated with Green Infrastructure practices.
 
The keynote speaker, Don Lake, current chair of the internationally recognized Certified Professional in Erosion & Sediment Control (CSPEC) Council, gave a thought-provoking presentation entitled People in Balance with Nature: Linking Floodplains, Stormwater & Green Infrastructure.  Lake discussed the historical impacts of water pollution before focusing locally on stormwater impacts from development and describing how “green infrastructure” practices can be used in unison with site planning to design more effective stormwater mitigation treatments that complement community character. 
 
Thinking beyond the immediate site on a watershed-wide basis, Lake emphasized Summits like this are a way to engage different interests in problem-solving to collectively understand and address impacts associated with stormwater runoff.
 
This year’s Summit once again was a success in providing a forum for improving our understanding of water quality impacts from various sources and facilitating inter-municipal and inter-agency efforts to support local communities in watershed protection.    
                                                                                                                                          

 
The District Welcomes Two New SCA Interns

The Greene County Soil & Water Conservation District would like to welcome the two newest members to our team: Student Conservation Association (SCA) AmeriCorps interns Mikana Maeda and Rod Owre.  Mikana and Rod will each complete a 10 month service position with GCSWCD and will assist the District with our water quality monitoring, restoration, and outreach actions in the Schoharie Watershed.
Intern 1 Image
Mikana, (above) the new Education & Outreach Planning Assistant, will be working out of the Schoharie Watershed Program office in Tannersville.  During her term she will assist with developing the District’s educational events and publications.  Mikana graduated from Penn State University in 2010 with an undergraduate degree in Landscape Architecture, and has previously completed a SCA term of service with the Native Plant Corps in South Carolina.  Prior to moving to Greene County, Mikana resided in Orlando, Florida.
 
Intern 2 Image
Rod (above) is our new Stream Stewardship Assistant.  Based out of the District’s main Cairo office, Rod will assist with project monitoring and implementation.  Rod brings a lot of valuable education and work experience to his role.  Prior to taking this internship he worked for a hydroelectric company in Portland, Oregon, and he received a master’s in Environmental Management from Portland State University in 2005.  Originally from Minnesota, Rod moved from Concord, New Hampshire to take this position with GCSWCD.
 
The District would like to extend a very warm welcome to Mikana and Rod.  We are thrilled to have you join our team and excited to see what you will accomplish throughout your term!
 


Upcoming Events  
 
Bare Root Sale
April 29 & 30, 2011

Each year the Greene County SWCD offers quality bare root trees and shrubs for conservation planting. These plants are provided for sale as a service to local landowners and have been selected for our climatic conditions. Tree order forms must be received by Friday, April 15, 2011. Plant orders will be available for pick up at the GCSWCD Cairo office on April 29 from 9am-3pm and April 30 from 9 am-noon.  Order forms can be found in the paper copy of the GCSWCD Winter 2011 Newletter or online through the following links.
Bare Root Sale Order Form

For more information on the Bare Root Sale and the products visit www.gcswcd.com/conservation-products.

Schoharie Watershed Month
May 2011

Expanded from last year’s inaugural Schoharie Watershed Week, the District is now taking the whole month of May to celebrate the Schoharie Watershed and our natural water resources. Schoharie Watershed Month is an opportunity for local organizations, businesses, community groups, and residents to take action to protect our streams. The Month will involve stream clean-ups, riparian buffer plantings, hands-on workshops, hikes, an Environmental Film Series, and other fun activities focused on water quality.
Visit www.gcswcd.com/swp/eo/swm for more information.
    
Schoharie Watershed Month  
(Above)This year's Schoharie Watershed Month will include a rain barrel building workshop as well as many other interesting and educational activities
 
Schoharie Watershed Tour
June 2011 (exact date TBD)

The Schoharie Watershed Tour is an annual event held in June, the goal of which is to show participants examples of best management practices to protect water quality.  The annual Watershed Tours also serve as catalysts for local communities, agencies, and watershed stakeholders to identify and implement opportunities in their communities. The District anticipates that the 2011 Watershed Tour will highlight the Phase I implementation of the Windham Mountain Stormwater Retrofit project which was completed in summer 2010.
Visit www.gcswcd.com/swp/eo/sw-tour for more information.


GCSWCD Logo


SWP logo

NYCDEP Logo

For more information on water resources and programs in the Catskills, visit www.catskillstreams.org


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