Blogs > Water Quality > A new voice for the Rondout Creek

A new voice for the Rondout Creek

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The Rondout Creek Watershed, within the larger Hudson River Watershed. (Courtesy Hudson River Watershed Alliance)
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Riverkeeper’s Water Quality Program helps to monitor the Hudson River and its tributaries, and organize communities around water goals. Join a local watershed group to get involved in your area, or find Riverkeeper volunteer opportunities.

 

A recent economics study showed that the presence of a watershed group results in better water quality in the watershed. That comes as no surprise to many of us. But consider this: the study’s authors calculated the proportion of water quality benefits emanating from a watershed group’s existence, its expenditures, and its donations received. The result? Of the three measures, the basic existence of a group produced the greatest improvements.

So what better place for a watershed group than the Hudson’s largest tributary? This year, Riverkeeper worked with our longstanding Rondout Creek community science partners to create the Rondout Creek Watershed Alliance.

The Rondout Creek Watershed, within the larger Hudson River Watershed. (Courtesy Hudson River Watershed Alliance)

Enterococcus monitoring by Riverkeeper and our partners in the Rondout Creek watershed since 2012 has shown that recreational water quality in the creek is worse than in neighboring tributaries like the Esopus and Catskill Creeks. Of its two major arms, the Rondout Creek is better than the Wallkill River. While the Wallkill River Watershed Alliance formed in 2015 to tackle the river’s pollution problems, the Rondout hasn’t had an organized citizens’ group in recent years. Riverkeeper helped to build momentum for RCWA’S formation through coordinating community science, sharing and presenting data, developing relationships with and among stakeholders in the region, co-hosting watershed summits, and conducting a survey.

An existing watershed management plan, completed in 2010 by Hudson River Sloop Clearwater and an intermunicipal council, helped guide the new Alliance’s objectives, which include educating the public and improving riparian habitat. Dams have fundamentally altered the Rondout Creek watershed, dividing it into Upper, Lower and Tidal sections. The 2010 watershed plan acknowledged the need to bridge these divides. Riverkeeper and the RCWA view this as an essential step toward restoring and protecting the Rondout Creek, and we are recruiting participants from the upper watershed and tidal municipalities.

Every creek and stream is vital to the animals and people who live there, and is also critical to a healthy Hudson River. Watershed groups protect water quality throughout the Hudson River watershed every day through trash clean-ups, water quality monitoring, comments at public meetings, reporting violations, or by acting as a deterrent presence. Check out the Hudson River Watershed Alliance’s map of local watershed groups and consider getting involved with yours. If you live in the Rondout Creek watershed, we need your help! Contact Rebecca Martin (rmartin@riverkeeper.org) for details about upcoming meetings.

Some of Riverkeeper’s work in the Rondout Creek Watershed is supported by the Waterkeeper Alliance and the Butler Conservation Fund.

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