You are invited to participate in a showcase of three stream and wetland programs in New York state. For more information and to register for this free webinar, please visit the NEBAWWG website.
The New York City (NYC) Water Supply System provides over 9 million people with approximately 1.1 billion gallons of safe drinking water daily, the vast majority of which is unfiltered. The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is charged with the operation of this system and management of its nearly 2,000 square-mile watershed located north and west of the City and DEP’s Wetlands Program is one component of its multifaceted watershed approach. DEP is currently evaluating 15 years of reference wetland monitoring data to implement NY Natural Heritage Program’s wetland conditional assessment methodology in the NYC Watershed. DEP has also recently completed a pilot study that used LiDAR-derived data to improve wetland mapping and connectivity detection. Continued advancement of wetland assessment and mapping methodologies strengthens the implementation of numerous watershed management and protection programs.
Less than 20% of historic streams that once existed in New York City remain, and those left experience degradation due to urbanization and associated stressors from increased stormwater discharge. NYC Parks manages about half of the City’s remaining wetlands and streams. In order to assess appropriate management strategies for these critical urban streams, NYC Parks developed a rapid stream assessment protocol designed to evaluate current conditions, causes of degradation, opportunities for restoration, and potential future impacts. Given limited time and resources, the framework presented allows for rapid assessment of large numbers of streams to better prioritize appropriate and effective restoration efforts.
Fish and many other organisms use rivers and streams as pathways to move between feeding, nursery and breeding grounds. Long stretches of connected stream habitat can be resilient to changes in climate and land use. Dams and many culverts are blocking those pathways and dramatically shrinking the habitat available. At the same time, dams and culverts that are too small affect hydrology, sediment transport, and water quality of streams, and cost money for towns and the state to replace and maintain. The Hudson River Estuary Watershed has more than 1600 dams, and likely more than 10,000 culverts. The Hudson River Estuary Program and many partners are working towards restoring free flowing tributaries to the Hudson River. Several projects are helping to prioritize which aquatic barriers are the most detrimental to our fish and human communities, so we can focus our limited resources at the most beneficial locations.