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Esopus Creek is Running Clear

Esopus Creek

Photo courtesy Dan Markel
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riverkeeper Part of Ongoing Solution

Riverkeeper was part of a historic meeting where the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced that it has ended the release of turbid water into the Esopus two weeks ahead of the initial plan and are now discharging 1.5 billion gallons of clear water from the Ashokan Reservoir to clean out the silt. Joining Riverkeeper at the meeting were Ulster County Executive Mike Hein, DEP Commissioner Cas Holloway, New York State Senator John Bonacic and representatives from the Office of Congressman Maurice Hinchey, the Office of New York State Attorney general Eric Schneiderman, the Office of Kevin Cahill, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and New York State Department of Health.

At the meeting, the DEC announced it will file an action against the DEP for the massive turbid, polluted discharges which turned the stream into a muddy river that local fishermen now refer to as “Yoo-hoo Creek.” The goal of the enforcement is to assess what was done and what needs to be done in order to correct the situation and make it better.

Since 2000, Riverkeeper and other partner organizations have been fighting for the Esopus and the people and communities who use it and live near it. Riverkeeper will play a big role in the ongoing efforts to keep the Esopus clean.

Paul Gallay, Riverkeeper Executive Director, said DEP’s announcement was a great turning point but that “Riverkeeper intends to stay fully involved until we are sure that there has been a complete and accurate damage assessment and arrangements for proper compensation are made. We are concerned about both the communities that host the water supply and its end users and want to make certain that solutions are in place to prevent a reoccurence.”

Ulster County Executive Mike Hein added, “The DEP has a long way to go to make things right, but this is an important first step in that process. I want to thank Riverkeeper, Paul Gallay, for his support on this issue. Riverkeeper has been a strong partner in our effort to protect the pristine beauty of Ulster County.”

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