FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE09-11
October 20, 2009
Michael Saucier / Mercedes Padilla (718) 595-6600
NYCDEP Expands Recreational Opportunities in the Watershed
Initiatives Promote Greater Access to Water Supply Lands
New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced today new initiatives to increase recreational opportunities and give greater public access to New York City water supply lands. New York City water supply reservoirs and lands are open to the public for recreational activities including hunting, fishing, hiking, trapping, and boating depending on the designated use and when compatible with water supply protection. In order to responsibly provide recreation access to City property, DEP issues a comprehensive permit – the Access Permit – that allows for fishing, hunting, and hiking on certain designated areas in the watershed.
Over 1,700 acres of Neversink Reservoir buffer lands will be open for small and big game hunting in time for this fall's hunting season. This area has never been open for hunting and will be open in time for the beginning of big game archery season on October 17.
Expansion of Public Access Areas
By the end of 2009, DEP will have opened an additional 12,000 acres of Public Access Areas (PAAs). Public Access Areas do not require a DEP Access Permit and are available for hunting, fishing, hiking and trapping. Last year, DEP opened over 17,000 acres of Public Access Areas, most of which was adjacent to New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) land. Additionally, DEP is converting many of its "entry by permit" or "no trespassing" properties to Public Access Areas.
"The efforts to date for improved recreational programs exemplify how New York City can expand watershed economic opportunities and enhance recreational opportunities while protecting New York City’s high-quality drinking water," said DEP Deputy Commissioner Paul Rush. "We look forward to future collaborations with our watershed partners as we work to stimulate economic growth and encourage tourism in this ecologically vibrant region."
In 2009, DEP eliminated the need for a DEP Hunt Tag on designated hunting areas and is no longer issuing them. DEP allows deer, bear, turkey and small game hunting on designated City water supply lands as provided by New York State regulations. A DEP Access Permit is still needed on the properties posted as "entry by permit" but those recreational users who need to renew their DEP Access Permit can now do so online through the DEP website. Access Permit holders who have submitted their e-mail addresses to DEP will receive a renewal reminder a few months before their expiration date. For those without e-mail or computer access, DEP will still send renewal notices via regular mail and access permit holders can renew their access permits through the DEP recreation office. Users updating their Access Permit online have the opportunity to complete a short survey which will help DEP track recreational uses of its lands and waters.
East of Hudson Recreational Expansion
East of Hudson watershed lands, which still require DEP Access Permits, will get a boost of 1,300 additional acres open in 2009 and 900 acres in 2010. Opening these lands is important for recreational users in Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess Counties where public land opportunities are limited.
Both angler reports and recent fish surveys in Schoharie Reservoir have shown a decline in the walleye fishery. To address this concern, DEC has requested and received approval from DEP to restore the fishery by stocking the reservoir with walleye fingerlings. The restoration plan will include five years of stocking to begin in 2010, depending on availability of fish. DEC and DEP will conduct periodic monitoring to determine the success of stocking effort and look forward to seeing an improvement in this fishery.
A Recreational Boating Pilot Program began at Cannonsville Reservoir in May 2009. The goal of the Pilot Program is to improve regional recreational opportunities for watershed residents and visitors and promote environmentally sound economic development by allowing certain new types of reservoir recreational boating. To date, 383 recreational boating tags have been issued; kayaks were by far the most used watercraft.
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection manages the City’s water supply, providing more than 1 billion gallons of water each day to more than 9 million residents throughout New York State through a complex network of 19 reservoirs, three controlled lakes and 6,200 miles of water pipes, tunnels and aqueducts. DEP is also responsible for managing storm water throughout the City and treating wastewater at 14 in-City wastewater treatment plants. DEP carries out federal Clean Water Act rules and regulations, handles hazardous materials emergencies and toxic site remediation, oversees asbestos monitoring and removal, enforces the City's air and noise codes, bills and collects on City water and sewer accounts, and manages city-wide water conservation programs.
For information visit Watershed Recreation or call (800) 575-LAND.