News > News > Water Quality > ‘Future of the Wallkill River’ event kicks off new citizen effort to restore watershed

‘Future of the Wallkill River’ event kicks off new citizen effort to restore watershed

For Immediate Release: April 8, 2015

Dan Shapley, Riverkeeper, 914-478-4501 x 226 (cell: 845-797-2158) [email protected]
Mayor Jason West, Village of New Paltz, 845-532-7584 [email protected]
KT Tobin, SUNY New Paltz Center for Research, Regional Education and Outreach, 845-257-2901 [email protected]

Residents from throughout region invited to share their vision for the river’s future at April 23 event, and “start here, start now” on clean water projects.

NEW PALTZ, NY – On April 23, people from throughout the Wallkill River watershed will gather at SUNY New Paltz for “Future of the Wallkill River,” an event designed to build public support for restoration efforts on the Wallkill. It will help define both a publicly supported vision for the future of the river, and steps that can be taken in the short and long term to achieve that vision.

The Wallkill River begins in New Jersey and flows north through Orange and Ulster counties to Kingston, where it meets the Hudson after joining with the Rondout Creek. Together, they are the largest tributary in the tidal Hudson River estuary.

Residents from throughout the watershed are encouraged to attend. The event will provide background information about the Wallkill River and restoration efforts; extensive opportunities for the audience members to share their vision for the future of the river; specific volunteer opportunities to get involved—and a call to leaders and residents throughout the region to “start here, start now” on projects to restore the Wallkill. Projects will support the goals identified in the Wallkill River Watershed Management Plan.

The Future of the Wallkill event is organized by the Village of New Paltz; SUNY New Paltz’s Center for Research, Regional Education and Outreach (CRREO); Riverkeeper; Town of New Paltz Clean Water and Open Space Protection Commission; Mohonk Consultations; and, Hudson River Watershed Alliance.

Confirmed speakers include Dennis Doyle, Director of the Ulster County Planning Department; David Church; Orange County Planning Commissioner; Amanda LaValle, director of Ulster County Department of the Environment; Kevin Sumner, District Manager of Orange County Soil and Water Conservation District; Dan Shapley, Riverkeeper Water Quality Program Manager; Emily Vail, Watershed Outreach Specialist, and Laura Heady, Conservation and Land Use Coordinator, for the Hudson River Estuary Program and Cornell University; and Mike Flaherty, Fisheries Manager, Department of Environmental Conservation Region 3

Village of New Paltz Mayor Jason West said: “It may take us fifty or a hundred years to get the Wallkill clean again, but we need to start somewhere. Hopefully this event is a first step towards the Wallkill we all deserve to live with.”

Dan Shapley, Riverkeeper’s Water Quality Program Manager, said: “Riverkeeper has partnered with community scientists since 2012 to assess water quality in the Wallkill River, and the results show that we have a lot of work to do. It’s time the Wallkill River takes its place with the Shawangunk Ridge, the rail trail and other natural assets. Let’s get started.”

Gerald Benjamin, CRREO director and associate vice president for regional engagement, said: “We are delighted to be working collaboratively with partners in government and in our communities to place the Wallkill River back at the center of our region and our lives.”

Martin Irwin, Chair of the Town of New Paltz Clean Water and Open Space Protection Commission and Advisor to the Board of Managers for Mohonk Consultations, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for collaboration among those of us who cherish OUR River. Thanks to Jason West for initiating this effort.”

About the Event
What: Future of the Wallkill
When: Wednesday, April 23, 2015, 4-8 p.m.
Where: SUNY New Paltz Student Union Building
Who: All residents of the Wallkill River Watershed are encouraged to participate.
Cost: Event registration fee is $10, due at check-in on the day of the conference. The fee includes delicious regionally sourced refreshments and all event materials for one person. MasterCard and Visa accepted. Please make checks payable to CRREO.

Pre-Registration: Participants are asked to pre-register and fill out a short survey that will help shape the program here:

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