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January 28, 1998

Contact: Geoffrey Ryan (718/595-5371)

Silviculture Completed at Titicus Reservoir,
Continues at Cross River and Starts at Amawalk

Commissioner Joel A. Miele Sr., P.E., of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced today that the Department has completed silviculture work on forests at the Titicus Reservoir in North Salem, is continuing work at the Cross River Reservoir in Bedford and will start work in February at the Amawalk Reservoir in Somers.

Commissioner Miele said, "This work will encourage the longevity of a multi-layered forest, promoting the growth of actively growing young trees and improving the buffering capacity of the forests immediately surrounding the reservoirs. A healthy forest will make for better water quality and will be an asset to the surrounding community."

Work at the Titicus Reservoir involved 50 acres of forests, adjacent to Mills Road and Titicus Road (Route 116). Similar work is being done at the Cross River and Amawalk Reservoirs, and consists of several silvicultural operations:

  • Thinning dense evergreen and deciduous forest stands to allow for healthier growth;
  • Removing twining vines from tree canopies and the understory where they suppress tree growth; and
  • Removing non-native shrubs where they stifle tree regeneration.

Many of the pine and spruce stands consist of trees that were closely planted in the 1890s and early 1900s, when the three reservoirs went into operation. The forests have never been thinned and have grown to be densely packed stands of very tall trees with small canopies. Forest stands of this type are structurally unstable and are prone to blowdowns in high winds. Additionally, these forests have almost no understory growth of smaller trees, shrubs or herbaceous plants, because so little light penetrates through the dense stands to the forest floor. When blowdowns occur, public safety and property are endangered and no understory of plants and smaller trees exists to naturally replace them. This encourages soil erosion and the introduction of weed species.

During silviculture operations, a DEP Forester is on site to supervise the operations of the contractor, Bartlett Tree Experts. No more than 20% of the trees greater than 4 inches at breast height are removed from any site. Proper soil erosion control measures are used, no stumps are dug out, and soil is not disturbed. In most stands, cut trees remain where they are felled allowing for natural decay and the return of nutrients to the forest soil. However, some trees and invasive shrubs and vines are cut and removed from sites where a build-up of woody material might suppress plant growth or cause a fire hazard.

"We scheduled these jobs carefully to avoid impacts on breeding birds and other wildlife," said Commissioner Miele. "I am particularly pleased that neighbors have complimented the silviculture crews for their environmentally sensitive work."

The New York City water supply system serves nearly eight million residents of the City and one million people who live in Westchester, Putnam, Orange and Ulster Counties. The source of this water, world-renowned for its high quality and excellent taste, is a 1,969-square-mile watershed in five rural counties of the Catskill Region west of the Hudson River and Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess Counties east of the Hudson River. DEP is responsible for protecting and operating this surface water supply system, one of the largest in the world.


More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

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

(718) 595-6600