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DEC releases consent order with NYC on Lower Esopus

Waterfall on the Esopus Creek in Saugerties. Photo by Flickr user Sonja Stark; published under Creative Commons license.

By state government standards, it's a small document: Just 34 pages. But to Lower Esopus residents, who have been waiting a long time for it, a newly-released consent order between the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will land with a mighty thud.  Read more

Explore the Catskills: Lark in the Park 2013

Above: “Panther Mountain” by Ethan Myers. A runner-up in our 2013 Catskills Great Outdoor Experience Photo Contest. Join a guided hike up Panther Mountain on October 10th as part of the 2013 Lark in the Park. 

It's perfect season in the Catskills: Blue skies, brilliant foliage, crisp air, and heartbreakingly gorgeous views.

That's why the Catskill Mountain Club, the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development, and the New York New-Jersey Trail Conference plan their annual Lark in the Park for October. The Lark is a series of outdoor activities led by experienced hikers, paddlers, cyclists and anglers throughout the Catskills region between October 5 and Columbus Day.

As part of our 2013 Catskills Outdoor Guide, the Watershed Post is featuring a full list of all Lark in the Park events.   Read more

NewsShed: Gibson breaks ranks with GOP over shutdown

So that's how they pick those things up. Above: Lazy Crazy Acres, cow-to-cone gelato makers in Arkville, make hay while the sun shines.

Happy Monday, Catskills. We're just about at the midpoint of leaf turning this week, according to the foliage spotters at I Love NY -- and with a few more gorgeous warm days on tap, it's a great time to be out and about. Enjoy it while it lasts.  Read more

Mail fail: Local newspaper steamed up over USPS delays

Photo of empty post office box by Flickr user Bryan Alexander. Published under Creative Commons license.

In news, timing is critical. As the old reporter's saying goes: Yesterday's news wraps today's fish.

No wonder River Reporter managing editor Jane Bollinger is angry. For at least one local paper, ongoing cutbacks at the U.S. Postal Service have been delaying the arrival of the paper in subscribers' mailboxes by as much as several days.  Read more

DEC announces agreement with New York City on Lower Esopus

Above: A dramatic photo of Lower Esopus turbidity, submitted to the Times Herald-Record in October 2010 and republished with permission.

A long-overdue agreement governing New York City's release of turbid water from the Ashokan Reservoir into the Lower Esopus Creek has finally been reached, the state Department of Environmental Conservation announced late Wednesday.

The agreement, known as a consent order, includes a provision requiring the city to fund $3.4 million worth of stream work and other environmental projects in the Esopus Creek watershed. The city will also be required to conduct a study of the environmental effects of the Ashokan releases, under the review of the DEC and with public participation.  Read more

NewsShed: Three cheers for books

Above: Work begins in earnest at the Phoenicia Library this week, gutted by fire in March of 2011 and currently occupying a temporary space on Ava Maria Drive. According to a newsletter from library director Liz Potter, restoration work on the building is slated to take 8 to 10 months before the library can move back to its old digs. The library has raised $620,000 for the cause; they still have $180,000 to go. Give them a hand at phoenicialibraryfund.com.

It's Banned Books Week: A great time to head to your friendly neighborhood library and check out something seditious. The most frequently-banned books of 2012, according to a list from the folks at the American Library Association, were the Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey, about a couple of fourth-graders who hypnotize their mean principal, transforming him into the titular tighty-whitey-clad superhero.

Civil War artist Mark Maritato is fundraising for the production of a large oil painting of Colonel George Watson Pratt in battle, to be donated to the Zadock Pratt Museum in (you guessed it) Prattsville. The campaign has various rewards for donors, ranging from a grateful mention on Maritato's website ($5) to having your face painted into the work as one of the soldiers ($1,000). 

  Read more

It's official: Sean Eldridge announces Congressional run

See video

Above: A video produced by Sean Eldridge's campaign, announcing the 27-year-old Democrat's bid for New York State's 19th Congressional district. Source: Eldridge's campaign website.

With the release of a campaign video Sunday, 27-year-old Democrat Sean Eldridge officially joined the 2014 race for New York's 19th Congressional District, currently represented by Republican Chris Gibson.

The video highlights Eldridge's support of the local business community through Hudson River Ventures, an investment firm Eldridge founded in 2011.

"I love the Hudson Valley," Eldridge says in the video. "It's where I’m building my family, my home, and my business. Right now the voices of everyday New Yorkers are being drowned out by the special interests and party politics causing gridlock in Washington. We need an independent voice who will fight for us. And that’s why I’m running for Congress."  Read more

With judge's ruling, DEP officers may finally get cop benefits

Photo illustration. The reservoir in the background is the Pepacton in Delaware County; photo by Timothy Cox, shared in the Watershed Post's Flickr group pool.

Since 9/11, the number of Department of Environmental Protection police officers in the watershed has more than doubled to include 221 officers, as part of the agency's post-9/11 efforts to boost security around its upstate reservoirs.

Yet for eight years New York City has refused to include the agency's Environmental Protection Officers (EPOs) in the same category as the New York Police Department and other uniformed employees. That means that the officers aren’t entitled to benefits like increases to night-shift wages, allowance to buy required uniforms, and “line of duty” leave for injuries that happen on the job. And they haven’t seen a raise since 2005.  Read more

Storm tracker: Brace for thunderstorms, Catskills

A round of intense thunderstorms is headed east across upstate New York this afternoon. We're keeping track of fast-moving Catskills weather updates in the Storify post below. As we add new updates, the latest news will automatically appear at the bottom of the post.

Got a news tip or photo for us? Send it to [email protected] 

Ulster County primaries: Wilber wins Woodstock three-way

Ulster County primary election results from Tuesday are in -- and in a few of the hottest races, incumbents kept their party lines against challengers.

In Woodstock, where challengers Lorin Rose and Terrie Rosenblum sought to unseat incumbent Jeremy Wilber as the Democratic nominee for town supervisor, Wilber won a decisive victory, earning 296 votes to Rose's 207 and Rosenblum's 93. In the race for two Democratic slots for town council, incumbents also held the day: Town council members Cathy Margelli and Bill McKenna were the top vote-getters, with 376 and 355 votes, while challenger Gary Kutcher earned 258.   Read more