FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE01-42
Contact: Geoff Ryan
Workers Team Up With Department Of Environmental Protection and Soil and
Water Conservation Districts
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has been
employing four AmeriCorps members in its upstate watershed this year in a
unique partnership with the Greene, Ulster and Delaware County Soil and Water
Conservation Districts (SWCD) and a locally based youth employment agency
- the Youth Resource Development Corporation.
"This partnership benefits DEP and the Soil and Water Conservation
Districts, by providing additional staffing and developing local expertise
in recognizing and evaluating stream problems," said DEP Commissioner
Joel A. Miele Sr., P.E. "Plus, it provides invaluable work experience
to recent college graduates in the field of water resources."
members Jay Czerniak and Catherine Sinchak "flagging" stream bank
level on the West Branch Delaware River in Hamden.
The ten-month-long term of the AmeriCorps members' assignment allows them
time to work on all aspects of these stewardship projects, from data collection
and analysis, to public meetings and fieldwork. The AmeriCorps members have
been working since January in the offices of the three SWCD, as well as the
DEP office in Kingston. They received hands-on technical training in stream
surveying, Geographical Information System (GIS) mapping and biological monitoring.
They are currently assisting the Districts and DEP Stream Management Program
staff with surveying eroding stream banks and beds; prioritizing these areas
for future restoration work; planting appropriate riparian vegetation after
stream restoration work is complete (also known as bioengineering); and evaluating
the condition of streams to improve and protect fish habitat, as well as water
"The AmeriCorps program has been extremely valuable in accomplishing
almost a full year of work on several ongoing projects," said Rene Van
Schaack, Executive Director of the Greene County SWCD, which helped to establish
and administer this year's AmeriCorps program in the Catskill region. "Hands-on
professional experience should prove extremely valuable to the AmeriCorps
members in future employment or study in the water resource field."
Jay Czerniak from Bedminster, Pennsylvania is stationed in Walton with the
Delaware County SWCD. A graduate of Penn State University, he is working on
the West Branch Delaware Rive that flows into the Cannonsville Reservoir.
Jennie Church, also a Penn State University graduate, is a native of Erie,
Pennsylvania. Her work assignment is on the Batavia Kill with the Greene County
members on the Stony Clove Creek in Lanesville, Greene County. (L to R)
Amanda LaValle and Catherine Sinchak survey an unstable stream bank while
Jennie Church uses a GPS (Global Positioning System) to map the location.
Amanda LaValle returned to Woodstock in Ulster County this year after graduation
from Cornell University. She has been busy with field assessment on the Stony
Clove Creek in Ulster and Greene Counties.
Catherine Sinchak from Independence, Ohio is a graduate of Allegheny College
in Pennsylvania. This summer she is working with staff from DEP and the US
Geological Survey (USGS) to evaluate the quality of fish and invertebrate
habitat in several Catskill streams.
Upon completion of their ten-month assignment in the Catskills, the AmeriCorps
members will receive a federal education award of approximately $4,700 for
payment of undergraduate loans or future graduate studies. In addition, they
receive a weekly stipend from a local agency match - in this case DEP.
Information about AmeriCorps positions in the region is available from the
Youth Resource Development Corporation at (845) 473-5005.