Non-watershed towns want help from CWT


By Jay Braman Jr.
One could call it the Coalition of Non-Watershed Towns.
The towns of Ulster and Saugerties, along with the City of Kingston and the Village of Saugerties, are asking for help from the Coalition of Watershed Towns (CWT) in their long battle with the City of New York over the turbidity problem in the lower Esopus Creek.

However, none of these municipalities has land within the borders of the Catskill/Delaware Watershed.
Efforts to convince New York City to pay for stream projects to reduce the muck that is flushed from the Ashokan Reservoir have been unsuccessful, and now these communities want the CWT to support those efforts.

In a letter to the coalition drafted last week, officials said New York’s handling of the Ashokan Reservoir should be subjected to the same rules that apply to the Delaware River Watershed covering the Cannonsville, Neversink, and Pepacton reservoirs.

The letter claims that releases from those three City-owned reservoirs are already strictly governed by both a United States Supreme Court order and the multi-state Delaware River Basin Commission.
“Downstream communities in the Delaware River Watershed are protected and the scope and type of releases that are allowed in the Lower Esopus Creek simply could not occur in the Delaware River Basin,” the letter states. “Unfortunately, the downstream communities in the Catskill Watershed do not have similar protections in place.”

It remains unclear whether the CWT, which meets next Monday at 6 p.m. in Catskill Watershed Corporation headquarters on Main Street in Margaretville, will take on the cause.