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January 23, 2015

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Nearly 200 Artists from Across the State Participate in Driftwood Giveaway at Ashokan Reservoir

Residents are encouraged to share their completed works of art through social media

Photos of the giveaway can be viewed on DEP’s Flickr page

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection today announced that nearly 200 artists participated in a driftwood giveaway at Ashokan Reservoir. The distribution of free driftwood, which took place on Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., attracted artists from across the watershed, and from as far away as Rockland and Kings Counties.

“The interest in driftwood from Ashokan Reservoir far outpaced our expectations, and DEP was delighted to provide this raw material to the many talented artists in the Catskills, Hudson Valley and beyond,” DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd said. “Given the popularity of this event, DEP will look for additional opportunities to provide driftwood to our neighbors in the months and years ahead.”

The weathered wood that was distributed Friday was carried by the Esopus Creek into Ashokan Reservoir, where it regularly piles up in a portion of the reservoir’s west basin known as “Driftwood Cove.” Periodically, DEP removes the wood from the cove so it does not infringe on a nearby boat launch area used by fishermen. The wood was given away on a first come, first served basis. Driftwood is a popular raw material that’s often used by artists for carvings, sculptures and even furniture. Removal of driftwood directly from the Reservoir is prohibited by law.

DEP also encouraged artists to share their finished works by posting photos of them to any social media site, using the hashtag #ashokandriftwood, or by posting a photo directly to our watershed Facebook page at

DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of high quality water each day to more than 9 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 others 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, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

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Flushing, NY 11373

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