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October 28, 2014

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Department of Environmental Protection Announces Results from 2014 Reservoir Cleanup

Volunteers from across the Hudson Valley and Catskills collected more than 2,000 pounds of debris from the shores of six upstate reservoirs

Photos of the cleanup at each reservoir are available on DEP's Flickr Page

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced that 171 volunteers from across the Hudson Valley and Catskills collected an estimated 2,500 pounds of debris during this year’s Reservoir Cleanup Day. The effort to remove debris, litter and recyclables across dozens of miles of shoreline was led by school groups, business leaders, local nonprofits and watershed citizens. The Oct. 5 event was also co-sponsored by the Catskill Watershed Corporation (CWC), which provided gloves and bags for the volunteers.

The event comprised cleanup efforts at six water supply reservoirs, including Cannonsville, Kensico, Lake Gleneida, Neversink, Pepacton and Rondout.  In total, the volunteers collected 114 bags of debris and recyclables with a combined weight of more than a ton. In many cases, the debris had blown onto the reservoir property from nearby roadsides, or had washed up along the shores after recent storms. Some was also left behind at access areas used by the public for fishing and boating.

“We hope that Reservoir Cleanup Day underscores the environmental impact of littering along the shores of all New York’s water bodies, including our upstate reservoirs,” DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd said. “This debris can threaten wildlife, pollute soils and degrade the scenic beauty of our region. New York City is proud to have some of the cleanest drinking water in the world, and I would like to personally thank our DEP staff and watershed neighbors who volunteered to ensure our shorelines remain just as pristine.” 

“The Catskill Watershed Corporation thanks the volunteers who come forward every year to pick up debris along Catskill streams and NYC reservoirs,” CWC Executive Director Alan Rosa said. “Their efforts keep the streams and reservoirs pristine and support the region’s economy by encouraging people to visit and enjoy all the beauty of the Catskills.”

Debris collected during the cleanup included 2,225 glass, plastic and metal beverage containers, 235 grocery bags, 315 food wrappers, 387 takeout food containers, 162 pieces of fishing line, 32 tires, and 906 broken pieces of glass, plastic and foam. Recyclable materials were separated from trash as the volunteers collected the debris from the cleanup areas. Reservoir Cleanup Day was among dozens of similar events happening across the state as part of the American Littoral Society’s annual New York State Beach Cleanup, which organizes volunteers to remove debris from beaches, lakes and other popular bodies of water. Data from the reservoir cleanups was reported back to the American Littoral Society to generate a statewide tally that will soon be available. DEP is among the government agencies, businesses and foundations that sponsor the statewide effort. In 2013, the New York State Beach Cleanup included more than 6,000 volunteers who removed some 80 tons of debris from 174 miles of shorelines across the state.

Reservoir Cleanup Day could not have been a success without considerable help from captains who were selected to lead the volunteer recruitment and cleanup at each of the reservoirs. These cleanup captains included:

Cannonsville Reservoir: Tina James, who leads the Future Farmers of America program at the Walton Central School District, and Nick Barone, president of the Deposit Chamber of Commerce.

Kensico Reservoir: Ken Hashimoto of and John Tague of Trout Unlimited.

Lake Gleneida: Frank Chianca of the Carmel Civic Association.

Neversink Reservoir: Keith Mentnech of Boy Scout Troop 97 in Neversink.

Pepacton Reservoir: Ann Roberti of the Catskill Mountain Club and Diane Galusha of the Catskill Watershed Corporation.

Rondout Reservoir: Franny Hertz and Cora Kircher from the Rondout Valley High School Community Service Club.

In recent years, DEP has continued to expand recreational access and programs on many of its water supply lands and reservoir. Approximately 120,000 acres of city-owned land and water are currently open for recreation, including fishing, hiking and boating. Roughly 60,000 of those acres, known as public access areas, can be used by outdoor enthusiasts without a DEP access permit. DEP has also enhanced recreation programs in the watershed to include recreational boating on four reservoirs in the Catskills, at least eight hiking trails that have been developed with nonprofit partners, and a program that allows state-certified outdoor guides to offer fishing, hiking and hunting tours on city-owned properties. More information on these and other recreation programs can be found by visiting the Watershed Recration section of the DEP website.
DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of high quality water each day to more than 9 million New Yorkers. This includes more than 70 upstate communities and institutions in Ulster, Orange, Putnam and Westchester counties who consume an average of 110 million total gallons of drinking water daily from New York City’s water supply system. This water comes from the Catskill, Delaware, and Croton watersheds that extend more than 125 miles from the City, and the system comprises 19 reservoirs, three controlled lakes, and numerous tunnels and aqueducts. DEP has nearly 6,000 employees, including almost 1,000 scientists, engineers, surveyors, watershed maintainers and others professionals in the upstate watershed. In addition to its $70 million payroll and $157 million in annual taxes paid in upstate counties, DEP has invested more than $1.7 billion in watershed protection programs—including partnership organizations such as the Catskill Watershed Corporation and the Watershed Agricultural Council—that support sustainable farming practices, environmentally sensitive economic development, and local economic opportunity. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program with nearly $14 billion in investments planned over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. For more information, visit, like us on Facebook at, or follow us on Twitter at

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