Community Initiatives

Community Initiatives Overview

In addition to our water quality protection efforts, business loans and education grants, the CWC addresses changing needs and opportunities throughout local communities with a variety of special initiatives.

Land Consultation Program

This program provides reimbursement to Towns to review and comment upon proposed purchases of land and easements by the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Eligible costs might include technical and legal review of proposed land purchases by the City, consultant expenses, additional municipal staff expenses or public hearing and notice fees. Maximum reimbursement is $30,000 per town.

Tax Consulting Program

This program pays the fees and expenses of consultants and/or attorneys retained by Watershed municipalities to review, analyze or assist in the administration of property taxes paid by the City on City-owned lands and facilities in the West-of-Hudson Watershed. The fund is intended to provide municipalities and intergovernmental organizations with the resources to conduct assessment reviews and help defray the costs of litigation commenced by the City to challenge assessments.

Training & Conferences

The CWC regularly offers training and conferences for municipal and community leaders. Such classes and meetings provide a chance for elected officials, members of planning and zoning boards, code enforcement officers, municipal attorneys, economic and community development promoters and others to learn, share information and strengthen connections.

Cleanup Supplies

To encourage stewardship of our streams and rivers, the CWC provides cleanup materials and tokens of appreciation to groups and individuals who volunteer to clean litter and debris from our waterways.

Call 845-586-1400 to obtain trash bags, gloves and thank-you items.

Road Signs & Kiosks

In an effort to recognize sacrifices made by Watershed communities on behalf of New York City water, the CWC spearheaded a project in 2002 to erect outdoor exhibit kiosks at the City’s six West-of-Hudson reservoirs.

The kiosks, produced in collaboration with local residents, historical groups and the NYC Department of Environmental Protection, also explains how the NYC water supply system, an engineering and technical marvel, was developed and what is being done to protect it.

Road signs  near the sites of 25 communities that were destroyed or relocated were erected in 2004 on roads circling the Ashokan, Schoharie, Pepacton, Neversink, Rondout and Cannonsville Reservoirs. The project pays tribute to the 5,500 people who were dislocated as the reservoirs were built between 1907 and 1965.

Completed Projects

Certain programs outlined in the 1997 NYC Watershed Memorandum of Agreement and in subsequent Filtration Avoidance Determinations have been completed.

39 buildings were constructed for towns and villages to store road de-icing materials to prevent ground or surface water contamination. Total cost of the facilities was $9,637,389, the final one being completed in 2003. One facility was constructed for Delaware Valley Hospital through a subsequent program to fund sand and salt storage buildings for institutions. That program was discontinued in 2015.

This program funded projects to correct stream conditions posing flood danger to people or property. Thirteen projects were funded before the program ended in 2010. After serious flooding in 2011, the program was re-funded to provide grants for the removal of flood debris — trees, buildings, furniture and other ‘floatables’ — clogging stream channels and floodplains in the Watershed. A total of 87 projects were funded during 2012 and 2013.

2009 – ongoing. The CWC partnered with the NYC DEP, the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce and several other organizations to help initiate and promote non-motorized recreational boating on four NYC reservoirs. Following a three-year pilot project on the Cannonsville Reservoir, the program was expanded to Pepacton, Schoharie and Neversink. Funding from the CFF helped vendors purchase equipment to steam clean canoes, kayaks and rowboats; furnished portable toilets and boat racks for launch sites; and published promotional materials. Click here for Reservoir Boating information.

In 2015, the Catskill Watershed Corporation (CWC) received, and matched, a $50,000 award from NYS DEC under the Catskill Park Smart Growth Implementation Grant program. The purpose of the project was to complete the wayfinding sign system for recreational destinations on roadways in and around the Catskill Park.

The CWC contracted with Peter Manning of Genius Loci to implement the project.

An inventory of all existing and proposed signs was created in cooperation with NYSDOT, NYSDEC and NYCDEP, and through field reconnaissance. Draft signage plans were created using an online mapping system, click here to view.

The grant covered the cost of all materials, but not installation, so many thanks to DOT, DEP, and County Highway Departments, and local governments for their assistance in the installation process which was crucial to the fruition of this project.

Sign assemblies for 101 recreational destinations were installed during the course of the project. The number of installed sign assemblies is estimated at 350, as some destinations have multiple assemblies while others have only two.

This is an exceptional example of what can be accomplished through a coordinated partnership of the many entities including the CWC, NYS DOT, NYS DEC, NYCDEP our county Highway Departments and Local Governments.

Senator James L. Seward and Senator George A. Amedore, Jr., were instrumental in obtaining a grant from the enacted 2015-2016 New York State Budget, which included $500,000 to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation under Aid to Localities for Catskill Master Plan Stewardship and Planning. Numerous partners assisted in the implementation of the grant. Partners included the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development (CCCD) and the Catskill Watershed Corporation (CWC). CWC was tasked with the administration of all funding as well as all grant reporting obligations. The contract was signed on September 1, 2016 and expired on August 31, 2020.

The Catskill Park and the West of Hudson Catskill Watershed region is a unique combination of land owned by New York State, New York City and private landowners. The funding was used to build on the distinctive character of the forest preserve lands managed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the City’s watershed lands managed by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection to create opportunities by working collaboratively on projects that improve public access to the region’s outstanding natural resources. Funding was used for both planning and construction projects.

Planning included the Greater Catskill Region Comprehensive Recreation Plan, which undertook a broad overview of the region to determine the best strategies to join the public lands owned by the DEC and DEP to enhance recreational opportunities. This plan was developed by Alta Planning in cooperation with the CCCD, CWC, DEC and DEP.

Click here for the Greater Catskill Region Comprehensive Recreation Plan.

Copies are also available at regional libraries and colleges, click here for listing.

In addition, Tahawus Trails LLC was contracted to design a mountain bike trail on newly acquired state land in the Shandaken Wild Forest. This plan has been made part of a revised Shandaken Wild Forest Unit Management Plan, click here.

Several much needed trailhead parking areas were built to help with overcrowding, road congestion, and illegal parking on the roadway, which caused a hazardous condition. In Ulster County, funding was used to purchase materials for DEC to construct a parking lot for the Mead’s Meadow – Overlook Mountain trailhead and for kiosk and trail construction. Additionally, materials were purchased for DEC to construct parking lots at the Kanape Brook Trailhead, the Shandaken Wild Forest Sawmill Access, the Red Hill Fire Tower trailhead and Vernooy Kill trailheads.

The Willow trailhead parking lot and kiosk were built on DEP land to access DEC hiking trails, this project was contracted to Delaware Bulldozing Corporation. The Sundown Wild Forest Upper Cherrytown Road parking lot was constructed by Rock Mountain Farms. In Greene County, the Elm Ridge parking lot expansion, kiosk and trail were constructed by Lefever Excavating Inc. These projects resulted in an additional 142 parking spaces for a total of 189 parking spaces at these locations.

Additionally, funds were used to complete the Wayfinding Signage project to direct visitors and residents to the many recreational assets that can be found in the Catskill region.