FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE04-38
Issues Proposed Revisions To Watershed Recreation Rules
Hearings Scheduled for September
Commissioner Christopher O. Ward of the New York City Department
of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced today that draft revisions
to the City’s Rules and Regulations for the Recreational
Use of Water Supply Lands are now available on the DEP Web site
at nyc.gov/watershed. The proposed revisions will
be presented for comment at public hearings throughout the watershed
The revisions address hiking, hunting, fishing and other recreational
opportunities on New York City water supply property throughout
the Catskills and in Dutchess, Putnam and Westchester Counties.
The City owns over 112,000 acres in the region for the purpose
of providing drinking water and protecting the drinking water supply
for over nine million New York State residents.
“The existing rules and regulations are outdated and don’t
address many of the new opportunities for recreation now available
to the public,” said Commissioner Ward. “The rules
were last revised in 1998. They cover fishing, but do not include
provisions for hiking and hunting – activities which began
in the late 1990’s – or the multi-use DEP Access Permit,
which replaced the reservoir fishing permit in early 2002.”
As part of the revision process, DEP sought comments from user
groups throughout the watershed, including the regional Sporting
Advisory Committees (SACs). The two SACs – one for the East
and one for the West of Hudson watershed – are composed of
representatives from local sporting organizations and recreational
groups, as well as the New York State Department of Environmental
Conservation (DEC), US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), environmental
groups and county representatives. Suggestions from the general
public, which were collected through surveys, letters and comments
were also considered and many were included in the draft.
“We strive to balance water supply protection with providing
recreation benefits to watershed communities and the general public,” Commissioner
Ward said. “Anglers, hikers and hunters who use water supply
lands tend to be good stewards of the land and have been important
contributors to the revisions. We’ve incorporated a lot of
the feedback from recreational users over the years to improve
and clarify the rules wherever we can.”
Notable changes to the rules and regulations include:
- lowering the age for recreational access from 16 to 14 years;
- lowering the age requirement for adult supervision from 16
to 14 years;
- allowing handguns for hunting;
- creating a “Public Area” designation to allow
access without a Public Access Permit to areas that have historically
been open to the public in this manner.
Several regulations have been reworked to clarify their intentions,
including the use of waders for fishing, storage of rowboats, renewal
of permits, and the use of life jackets while boating. Also, administrative
fees for the replacement of lost permits and tags have been added.
The complete proposed rules will be published prior to the hearings
in watershed and City newspapers. They are accessible now on the
DEP Web site at www.nyc.gov/watershedrecreation. Copies may be
obtained from the Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau
of Legal Affairs, 19th Floor, 59-17 Junction Boulevard, Flushing,
The DEP will hold a series of five public hearings to take comments
prior to enacting the proposed revisions. The earliest the new
rules could take effect is 30 days after the last public hearing.
The hearing schedule is:
Wednesday, September 1, 2004, 1-3:00 P.M.
NYC DEP, 59-17 Junction Blvd., 6th Floor Lecture Room, Flushing
Thursday, September 2, 2004, 7-9:00 P.M.
Carmel Town Hall, 60 McAlpin Avenue, Mahopac
Wednesday, September 8, 2004, 7-9:00 P.M.
Walton Middle/High School Auditorium, 47-49 Stockton Avenue, Walton
Tuesday, September 14, 2004, 7-9:00 P.M.
Shandaken Town Hall, 7209 Route 28, Shandaken
Thursday, September 23, 2004, 7-9:00 P.M.
Neversink Town Hall, 273 Main Street, Grahamsville