Kingston presents Tidal Rondout Creek Watershed Management Plan

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KINGSTON – Only six people showed up for Thursday’s presentation of Kingston’s new Tidal Rondout Creek Watershed Management Plan. Scheduled months earlier, the event was eclipsed by several other more recently organized meetings, including the final mayoral debate.
Kingston’s Tidal Rondout Creek plan addresses the question of how to maintain and improve the water quality at the mouth of the Rondout Creek, where it opens up into the Hudson River. The “tidal” section refers to the final 3.6 miles of the creek, after the Eddyville dam, subject to the ebb and flow of the Hudson’s estuary.
The study was funded through a grant from the state Department of State’s Environmental Protection Fund, and prepared by Milone & MacBroom on behalf of the city’s Office of Economic Development. Other collaborators include Kingston’s Tidal Flooding Task Force, Waterfront Committee, and Comprehensive Plan Committee.
While the Rondout watershed contains 1,199 square miles, this study only focuses on the last one percent where everything converges from both the Rondout Creek and Wallkill River, which joins it. Those 11 square miles have been divided into 15 sub-watersheds, spanning the communities of Esopus, Ulster, and various neighborhoods of Kingston.
“It’s the culmination of years of work, to ultimately improve water quality, so we can move from maybe fishable to swimmable, even drinkable, who knows,” said Gregg Swanzey, Kingston’s economic development director. The project cost just under $250,000.  
“Where the rubber hits the road is that we take the plan, and it doesn’t collect dust, we actually pull out important components of it, and implement them,” Swanzey said “That’s the important part, is where the work continues. As we go along, we keep re-assessing. It’s up to us to take it up and make it happen.”
Swanzey said that the grant application was drafted in 2009, under the previous [Sottile] administration. Work gathering data began in 2011. “There are a couple of administrations that have already had this in play. Now we’re trying to bring it to fruition in this [Gallo] administration, and the implementation is going to go forward in the next administration,” he said.
The plan is divided into two areas, tributaries and the waterfront. Both prongs can receive a handful of actions to improve water quality, including green infrastructure, storm water mitigation, and a host of other remedies.