FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 16-125
December 29, 2016
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Department of Environmental Protection to Begin Forestry Project on Route 28 in Shokan
Removal of dead or dying trees will protect utility lines that service Route 28 corridor
Assuring a healthy and vigorous forest is key to protecting quality of City’s water supply
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on Thursday announced a project that will remove potentially hazardous trees along a stretch of Route 28 in Shokan to protect utility lines, public safety, and improve the overall health and vigor of the forest adjacent to Ashokan Reservoir. The forestry project is expected to start during the first week of January and take as much as two months to complete. The work is expected to have little or no effect on traffic along Route 28.
The project will focus on a forested area on the south side of Route 28, in the vicinity of Longyear Road and Bonnie Brae Lane. DEP is working collaboratively with Central Hudson Gas & Electric to remove a number of fallen, dead or dying trees from this area. Central Hudson crews will trim and remove trees that are within falling distance of power lines, while timber experts working with DEP will address sections of the forest that are farther from the highway.
The conifer trees, many of them more than 100 feet tall, were planted by New York City in the early 1900s as part of the development of Ashokan Reservoir. At that time, the trees were raised in local nurseries and then planted densely (approximately 6 feet apart) on the lands that surround the reservoir. These planned forests have experienced significant mortality in recent decades as a result of underdeveloped root systems, extreme weather, fungal infections, damage from invasive species, and old age. Recent tropical storms—including Irene, Lee and Sandy—also toppled many similar trees in this area.
Over the past several years, DEP’s professional forestry staff has managed the controlled and careful restoration of these forests. Along with protecting public safety and utility lines, forestry projects open the forest floor to sunlight and promote the natural growth of the next generation of forest. Some forestry projects near Ashokan in the 1990s and early 2000s have already seen significant regrowth, with multiple trees species replacing the single species that had been planted there a century ago. These growing, diverse and vigorous forests improve aesthetics, stabilize the soil, and continue to protect drinking water quality.
The timely removal of timber from the Route 28 site will also allow the wood to be used by local businesses. Timber from the project, which is being harvested by a professional timber company based near Cooperstown, will be used for home building and finishing products. The volume of wood produced from this sustainable forestry project is enough to build 20 houses and provide a dozen jobs. All forestry projects on City water supply lands are done in accordance with water quality protection guidelines and New York State Forestry Best Management Practices.
DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of high quality water each day to more than 9.5 million New Yorkers. This includes more than 70 upstate communities and institutions in Ulster, Orange, Putnam and Westchester counties who consume an average of 110 million total gallons of drinking water daily from New York City’s water supply system. This water comes from the Catskill, Delaware, and Croton watersheds that extend more than 125 miles from the City, and the system comprises 19 reservoirs, three controlled lakes, and numerous tunnels and aqueducts. DEP has nearly 6,000 employees, including almost 1,000 scientists, engineers, surveyors, watershed maintainers and other professionals in the upstate watershed. In addition to its $70 million payroll and $157 million in annual taxes paid in upstate counties, DEP has invested more than $1.7 billion in watershed protection programs—including partnership organizations such as the Catskill Watershed Corporation and the Watershed Agricultural Council—that support sustainable farming practices, environmentally sensitive economic development, and local economic opportunity. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program with nearly $14 billion in investments planned over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. For more information, visit nyc.gov/dep, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.