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November 1, 2001

Contact: Geoffrey Ryan (DEP) 718-595-6600
Rene Van Schaack (GCSWCD) 518-622-3620

Batavia Kill Restoration Project Seeks Volunteers

The Greene County Soil and Water Conservation District (GCSWCD), the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and local chapters of Trout Unlimited are taking part in a cooperative stream restoration planting effort on the Batavia Kill in the Town of Windham, and volunteers from the public are invited to lend a hand. On Saturday and Sunday, November 10-11, 2001, from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM, volunteers will be assembling willow bundles, called fascines, and planting live willow posts and tree seedlings on one mile of restored stream at Big Hollow, in the headwaters of the Batavia Kill. The Batavia Kill flows from the Blackhead Mountains through Windham, Ashland and Prattsville into the Schoharie Reservoir.

"A mile-long stream reach at Big Hollow was badly damaged by the flood of 1996," said DEP Commissioner Joel A. Miele Sr., P.E. "Severely eroding stream banks contributed significant amounts of sediment, or turbidity, to downstream flows seriously affecting water quality and trout habitat. Using the principles of natural channel design, GCSWCD, in collaboration with DEP, has adjusted stream width and depth into a more stable form. Numerous stability structures have been added to alleviate pressure on the banks and to restore and maintain the pools and riffles that create stream depths and flows necessary to provide suitable fish habitat."

Rene Van Schaack, GCSWCD Executive Director, said, "Native species of willows will be harvested nearby and transplanted to the project site, along with tree seedlings provided by the State Tree Nursery in Saratoga. This type of planting or 'bioengineering' relies on roots of woody plants to anchor soil and to provide additional bank stability.

"People may wonder why we plant at this time of the year, when it's a bit chilly!," Van Schaack continued. "The answer is that woody plants are dormant in late fall, and they acclimate best when they overwinter and leaf out on-site in the spring."

"Vegetated stream banks provide shade that is critical to fish during low flow months," said Nat Gillespie, Catskills Coordinator of Trout Unlimited. "We are pleased to take part in this stream restoration effort in the Catskills, and expect to see local fish populations respond to improved riparian habitat and a more stable stream channel."

Volunteers are welcome, whether it be for two hours or the two days. Lunch and refreshments will be provided. Extra hand tools such as pruners and loppers are appreciated. Participants should dress warmly in layers and wear boots. Please call (518) 622-3620 or E-mail: to RSVP and for directions to the site.

Additional information can be found on the GCSWCD Web site at


More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

59-17 Junction Boulevard
19th Floor
Flushing, NY 11373

(718) 595-6600