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Speak out for Lower Esopus Creek at an important public hearing

20210115_Marbletown Town Park 3_cr Jill Obrig-890
Esopus Creek, 2021, Jill Obrig
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When:
February 4, 2021: 4:00PM to 6:30PM
Where:
Online
To Attend:
Register [password required, included in this post]

On Thursday, February 4, the Department of Environmental Conservation will host an important public hearing related to New York City’s management of the Ashokan Reservoir, including its releases of muddy water into the Lower Esopus Creek. Register by Wednesday, February 3 (see below for details).

Esopus Creek

Esopus Creek, 2021, Jill Obrig

The Esopus Creek is dammed to create the Ashokan Reservoir, one of the most important parts of New York City’s unfiltered drinking water supply, which serves 9 million people in New York City and the Hudson Valley. Erosion from severe storms — such as those that will become more common as the climate changes — causes excessive turbidity in the reservoir.

One of the ways New York City manages this challenge is to dump high volumes of muddy water into the Lower Esopus Creek, a Hudson River tributary. The turbid water severely affects water quality, wildlife habitat, recreation and quality of life throughout several Ulster County communities, and also challenges drinking water treatment for the communities that draw drinking water from the Hudson River. The heavy rains around Christmas 2020 have resulted in periods of highly turbid water releases (pictured here) that are anticipated to continue into the Spring.

Esopus Creek

The mouth of Esopus Creek, 2021, Patrick Landewe

The hearing will focus on a long-awaited Draft Environmental Impact Statement related to a state permit the city needs to manage turbidity in the Ashokan Reservoir. The public hearing is an opportunity to learn about and comment on the issue.

Ensuring the quality of NYC’s drinking water should not come at the expense of the Lower Esopus. Riverkeeper is encouraging people to speak out at the hearing to document the impacts of these muddy releases, and to call on New York City to thoroughly study alternatives to find the best solution for both NYC drinking water and the Lower Esopus community.

To join the hearing visit www.webex.com and click “Join a meeting.”
Event Number: 179 098 9606
Registration Password: FEB42021

To join by phone only: 
Dial: 1-518-549-0500
Access Code: 179 098 9606

Any person wishing to provide a public statement must register in advance of the hearing no later than 10:00 A.M. on Wednesday, February 3, 2021. Any person who wishes only to observe the webinar online must also register. Any person may listen to the hearing by phone without pre-registration.

To register electronically: All persons who will login to the hearing electronically must register. To register, visit http://www.webex.com, click “Join a meeting,” input the event number listed above, click “Register,” and fill in the requested information. You will be asked whether you wish to make a public statement or not. After registration is complete, you will receive a confirmation by email with information about how to join the hearing.

To register by telephone: Any person who is not able to login electronically may participate by telephone. Call-in participants must register to speak in advance by calling the Department at 518-402-9003 no later than 10:00 A.M. on Wednesday, February 3, 2021. Please provide your first and last name, address, email address if any, and telephone number and reference the NYCDEP Catalum SPDES Permit public comment hearing.

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