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New York Newsletter 2020



Trout Unlimited had a productive year in New York in 2019. So productive, in fact, that three new staff were added to the Northeast Habitat Program to expand TU's conservation efforts in New York.

Jo-Anne Humphreys is TU’s stream restoration specialist. Jacob Fetterman is the new Project Coordinator for the Battenkill Home Rivers Initiative, and Caroline Shafer is the New York Field Technician based in Stamford, N.Y.

Tracy Brown, the restoration manager for New York and Connecticut, leads the New York-based crew.

Director of Veterans Service Partnership, Mike Banaszewski, moved back to New York state, where he will be directing the national VSP program. Mike can answer any questions related to our work with veterans and is looking for ways to engage with local chapters.

Jen Orr-Greene joined TU in January and will take over Dave Kinney’s role as the Mid-Atlantic Policy Director.

In addition to TU National staff, the New York Council Conservation Committee was developed to help expand and support TU Chapter conservation efforts across the state. The committee consists of Evan Renwick (chair, Lake Champlain), John Braico (Adirondack), Reuben Zaramian (New York City), Roy Lamberton (Clearwater) and Daniel Hess (Seth Green). The committee’s main goal is to help chapters implement conservation projects on the ground. Contact Evan Renwick for ways to involve your chapter.

For all New York Council related questions, Larry Charette is TU’s New York Council chair and can be reached at lawrence.charette@gmail.com.


 

RECONNECTION

Frog Hollow, Tributary to Willowemoc Creek, after construction reconnecting 3 miles of spawning habitat.

One of TU’s national priorities is to improve access to critical coldwater habitat for trout and other stream-dwelling creatures.

In New York, TU partners with towns in the Hudson Valley to help them develop practical, affordable approaches to reducing stream habitat fragmentation while simultaneously enhancing flood resilience and protecting and improving infrastructure.

TU and the Town of Chatham received the Wavemakers Award from the Hudson River Alliance in 2019 for our work developing a road stream crossing management plan for the town and reconnecting 3-miles of Green Brook, a tributary to Kinderhook Creek.

To date road stream crossing management plans have been developed for the towns of Chatham, Hillsdale, Copake and Ancram. TU is currently working with the towns of Taghkanic, New Baltimore, Ghent and Austerlitz, and we just recently learned that we have been funded to add the Town of Nassau to our list.

Together with our partners Hudson River Estuary Program, NYS DEC Region 4, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Columbia and Greene County and the Housatonic Valley Association we have assessed and prioritized more than 1,600 road stream crossings.

In 2019 TU received funding for our work in the Upper Delaware River that will result in the restoration of 2 miles of high-quality tributary habitat and the reconnection of over 27 miles of stream. Additionally, the TU team with help from Carl Schwartz, USFWS Partners Program, removed a barrier on Frog Hollow, a tributary to the Willowemoc in the Catskills. Additional funding support from NYS DEC Water Quality Improvement Program will result in two more culvert replacement projects in the Town of Delhi and Chatham.


 

RESTORATION

TU staff and volunteers continue to plant along priority streams across the state.

Since 2017, TU has partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation to plant nearly 15,000 native trees along priority trout streams in New York. Several chapters throughout the state continue to improve their favorite trout stream through riparian plantings.

The Canandaigua Chapter has been planting trees on the Cohocton River since 2013 (Photo). Adirondack, Ashokan-Pepacton, Columbia-Greene, Long Island, New York City, Croton, Catskill Mountain, Dave Brandt and Lake Champlain chapters participated in the TU and Arbor Day Project planting activities. The benefits of a mature streamside buffer cannot be overstated; roots help stabilize banks, provide organic material and keep trout stream cool.

TU has received additional support from the Arbor Day Foundation to continue our planting efforts. Many more planting days are planned for 2020. Chapters that would like to get involved, or that are seeking trees for riparian projects, are invited to reach out to Tracy Brown for more information.

Battenkill Home Rivers Initiative

The past year has seen a great deal of progress leading to the launch of the Battenkill Home Rivers Initiative. On-the-ground assessments began in the summer of 2019, in concert with behind-the-scenes work to obtain adequate support and funding.

A stream function-based framework was utilized to prioritize projects aiming to protect, restore, and reconnect coldwater habitat throughout the watershed.

Jacob Fetterman, Battenkill Home Rivers Initiative coordinator, said the initiative’s goal is to enhance the ecosystem’s resiliency and the existing wild trout fishery by increasing available habitat, floodplain connectivity, riparian cover, and overall stability while decreasing sedimentation, excess nutrients, and thermal input. This project is spearheaded by local Adirondack, Clearwater and Southwestern Vermont TU chapters.

“We are excited to begin this journey and look forward to working with you or seeing you out on the water,” Fetterman said.


 

CHAPTER HIGHLIGHTS

The Ashokan-Pepacton Watershed Chapter is conducting a Catskill heritage brook trout study in partnership with the Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program.

The Columbia-Greene Chapter, in partnership with Greene County Soil and Water Conservation District and DEC Region 4, completed a stream restoration and habitat improvement project on Hunter Brook, an important brook trout stream in Ulster County.

“The purpose of the Hunter Brook project was to create pools in an overwide stream with very little deep water,” explained Steve Swenson, Aquatic Ecologist for NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. “Improving habitat will provide the stream’s brook trout with the opportunity to grow into older age classes.”

In Monroe County, the Seth Green Chapter, in partnership with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, completed a large wood habitat enhancement project on Oatka Creek.

“Oatka Creek is a much-loved stream that has been hit hard by extreme conditions for a few years in a row,” said Jessie Hollenbeck, the president of the Seth Green TU Chapter. “This project has invigorated the chapter and is helping build a strong collaboration between anglers and the community.”

The great habitat work TU chapters are accomplishing will continue thanks to the continued Habitat Partners Funding Program launched by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Through the program DEC will supply up to $5,000 in materials needed for in-channel and riparian habitat improvement work on priority cold water streams. This year’s funding will support up to 10 shovel-ready TU Chapter projects located on publicly accessible state owned or Public Fishing Right easements. Proposals are due March 15. If you are interested in learning more about the Habitat Partner Funding Program or need help identifying conservation opportunities for your chapter, please contact John Braico.

For more information on Trout Unlimited’s restoration efforts in New York, please reach out to Tracy Brown at Tracy.Brown@tu.org.


 

UPCOMING 2020 EVENTS

Catskills

Subscribe to the TU Catskill listserve to learn about ways to get involved in the Upper Delaware River projects and hear about upcoming events throughout the Catskills.

- April 21 – 22 - Livingston Manor, N.Y. - Digital Mayfly Data Logger Sensor Stations Workshop

Jake Lemon, TU's Eastern Angler Science Coordinator, will lead a workshop on the uses of the Mayfly Sensor Stations and how chapters can expand the availability of quality real-time water data in their home waters. For more information and to RSVP contact Caroline Shafer.

- April 25 - Delhi, N.Y. planting event in partnership with Delaware County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Catskill Streams Buffer Initiative. For more information and to RSVP contact Catherine Skalda.

- May 16 - Port Jervis, N.Y. RIVERS training and stream assessment on Neversink River and tributaries. Come for the fishing and enjoy learning about ways you can help our conservation team. For more information and to RSVP contact Caroline Shafer.

- June 6 - Livingston Manor, N.Y. RIVERS training and stream assessment event on the Willowemoc and Beaverkill River. Come for the fishing and enjoy learning about ways you can help our conservation team. For more information and to RSVP contact Caroline Shafer.

Adirondacks

- March 21 and 22 - Adirondack Sports Summer Expo, Saratoga Springs City Center. TU table event with activities and information on our work.

Battenkill

- April 25 - Greenwich, N.Y. Riparian restoration volunteer planting event on the Battenkill. For more information and to RSVP contact Jacob Fetterman.

- May 30 - Greenwich, N.Y. 10th Annual River Runs Through It Festival. Come join local TU chapters for fun on the river. For more information and to RSVP contact Jacob Fetterman.

Croton

- May 2 – Amawalk, N.Y. The New York City and Croton Chapters will be leading a riparian restoration volunteer planting event on the Amawalk River. For more information and to RSVP contact David Kearford.


 

COMMUNITY