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April 19, 2018
Jeff Senterman - Catskill Center - (845) 586-2611
deppressoffice@dep.nyc.gov, (845) 334-7868

Catskill Center and DEP Announce First Land Preserved Through Streamside Acquisition Program


The Catskill Center and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced the purchase of a 2-acre parcel of land in Greene County—the very first to be protected under a new program that preserves environmentally sensitive lands alongside streams, creeks and rivers. The Streamside Acquisition Program is managed by the Catskill Center and funded by DEP. The program focuses on preserving lands that are adjacent to streams that feed the City’s reservoir system in the Catskills.

“This property is just the first of many that we will be protecting through this program, and it’s a great example of what we’re trying to achieve,” said Jeff Senterman, executive director of the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development. “We see the Streamside Acquisition Program as a real opportunity to reach shared goals. Preserving healthy, natural streams protects water quality, prevents streambank erosion, helps mitigate flood risk, and preserves the Catskills’ inherent natural beauty, which draws tourists from all over the word to visit our communities.”

“The first stretch of land preserved by the Streamside Acquisition Program underscores the importance of partnerships in our watershed,” DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza said. “This new program was originally proposed by community leaders in the watershed, it was planned in coordination with the Catskill Center, and funded by DEP. The conservation of these riparian areas will help the City protect water quality in its reservoirs and help local communities be resilient against future storms.”

The newly protected property is on Mill Street in the Town of Windham. It is forested and has 275 feet of stream frontage on a tributary of the Batavia Kill. That stream is important for the water quality entering Schoharie Reservoir, which provides about 15 percent of New York City’s water during a typical year. The streamside property, which is now owned by the City, will eventually be opened for public recreation.

The Streamside Acquisition Program is one of several land conservation programs funded by DEP to protect water quality in the City’s reservoir system, which serves 8.6 million people in New York City and an additional 1 million people in four counties north of the City. The new streamside program aims to preserve sensitive lands that are immediately adjacent to streams, creeks and rivers, along with floodplains and wetlands. Through this voluntary program, the Catskill Center works with interested property owners to purchase streamside lands at fair market value. In some cases, the Catskill Center will work with the property owners to subdivide the land so that it can preserve only the streamside portion while the remainder stays in private ownership. The purchased land is then owned and managed by DEP, which protects it as forever wild through a conservation easement that is conveyed to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

The Streamside Acquisition Program is currently in a pilot phase, operating only in the Schoharie Reservoir watershed. The pilot program was included in the 2014 revision to New York City’s Filtration Avoidance Determination (FAD), the state permit that allows DEP to operate its Catskill-Delaware water supply system without filtration. The 10-year FAD that was issued in December 2017 required the allocation of additional funds for the program and laid out a process for its potential expansion to other parts of the watershed in the Catskills.

Landowners in the Schoharie Reservoir watershed who want to learn more about the Streamside Acquisition Program can call the Catskill Center at 845-586-2611 or email them at cccd@catskillcenter.org.

Since 1969, the Catskill Center has protected and fostered the environmental, cultural and economic well-being of the Catskill Region. More information on the Catskill Center can be found at catskillcenter.org, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than 1 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 watershed. In addition to its $70 million payroll and $166 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 $18.9 billion in investments planned over the next decade 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.

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