FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 16-34
April 27, 2016
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Department of Environmental Protection to Increase Releases from Pepacton and Cannonsville Reservoirs to Support Weekend Fishing Event on Delaware River
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced a temporary increase in downstream releases from Cannonsville Reservoir and Pepacton Reservoir through the end of April. The release of additional water will help support a fishing event along the main stem and tributaries of the Delaware River. The “One Bug” event, hosted by the nonprofit Friends of the Upper Delaware, attracts hundreds of anglers to the region and injects thousands of dollars into the local economy. The event runs from April 29 – May 1.
New York City proposed a temporary program for the additional releases this week. The states of Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania—which, along with New York City, oversee a program to manage flows in the Delaware River—unanimously agreed with the proposal.
“We hope the release of additional water from Cannonsville Reservoir and Pepacton Reservoir will provide beneficial fishing conditions for the anglers participating in the One Bug event, and provide a considerable boost for the local economy,” DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd said. “Although this spring has been particularly dry thus far, a number of rainstorms throughout the winter and an early spring snowstorm kept reservoir storage near regular levels. With water available in the City’s system, DEP thought it was prudent to propose these extra releases and support our downstream neighbors. The City remains a strong advocate for programs that can protect downstream fisheries—including formal programs for thermal relief and gradual ramping of releases—so long as they do not affect the reliability of the drinking water for New York City and the millions of others who rely on the Delaware River.”
Because of dry weather and gradually declining reservoir storage, releases from Cannonsville and Pepacton reservoir were due to decrease this week to 150 and 75 cubic feet per second (cfs), respectively. However, the temporary program will keep releases at a higher level from April 28 to May 1. Cannonsville Reservoir will be maintained at a release rate of 400 cfs and Pepacton Reservoir will release 85 cfs. Beginning at 8 a.m. on May 1, DEP will begin to slowly ramp down its release to normal levels.
The Flexible Flow Management Program (FFMP)—an agreement by the City and four states that sets reservoir releases based on storage and season—includes a virtual bank of water, known as the Interim Excess Release Quantity (IERQ), that may be used in support of research, health of aquatic life, or other water-use activities. The IERQ is a defined quantity of water that is set aside annually. The additional water released to support the One Bug event will come from that IERQ.
Water is released downstream of New York City’s Delaware System reservoirs—Pepacton, Cannonsville and Neversink—under the terms of the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court Decree, and a flow management program, the FFMP, agreed upon by New York City and the states of Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. All five parties must agree to deviations from the FFMP, including temporary programs such as the releases described here.
DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of high quality water each day to roughly 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.