May 26, 2020
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced that all its boat offices and recreational boating locations in the watershed will open over the next week. The opening of boat offices and the recreational boating program was delayed by several weeks this spring because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The boat offices and reservoirs are re-opening in accordance with regional plans designated by the State of New York. The reservoirs that allow boating are located in four of the state’s 10 regions. The Capital Region, Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley regions met the state’s seven metrics to begin re-opening last week; the Mid-Hudson Region met the criteria on Tuesday to restart certain sectors of its economy. The state noted that “low-risk recreation” could begin throughout these areas.
The use of boats on New York City’s reservoirs is split between two programs. The first program allows the use of rowboats for fishing on all 19 of the city’s water-supply reservoirs. Each rowboat must be registered and steam-cleaned at a DEP boat office. Boat offices in Downsville, Gilboa, Grahamsville and Shokan will begin taking calls for steam-cleaning appointments today, May 26. The boat office in Mahopac will begin taking calls for appointments on Monday, June 1. Anglers must call the boat offices ahead of time. Steam cleaning will not be done without an appointment.
The second program allows the use of recreational boats—kayaks and canoes—at Cannonsville, Neversink, Pepacton and Schoharie reservoirs. To protect water quality in these reservoirs, the recreational boating program relies on a small network of trained businesses that stream clean the boats before they are used each spring. DEP will perform the annual inspection of steam-cleaning equipment at these local businesses this week, allowing them to begin cleaning recreational boats for use at all four reservoirs on Friday, May 29. Businesses that provide pre-cleaned rental boats at the reservoirs will also be permitted to start rentals on that day. A complete list of steam-cleaning businesses and rental vendors can be found on the Catskill Watershed Corporation website.
DEP also reminds anglers and boaters to follow guidance from federal, state and local health authorities. Those who use the reservoirs should continue to maintain a physical distance from others, vigorously wash their hands or use hand sanitizer, and wear face coverings if they anticipate coming into close contact with others.
DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than 1 billion gallons of high-quality water each day to more than 9.6 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 other professionals in the watershed. In addition to its $70 million payroll and $168.9 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 $20.1 billion in investments planned over the next decade that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. For more information, visit nyc.gov/dep, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.