Ulster County Executive urges withdrawal of proposed changes to Ashokan Reservoir Release Plan

Mid-Hudson News file photo by Tim Koch

KINGSTON-  Ulster County Executive Jen Metzger has sent a letter to officials at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) calling for a withdrawal of the proposed revisions to the Ashokan Reservoir Interim Release Protocol (IRP).  The IRP manages how the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) discharges water from the Ashokan Reservoir into the lower Esopus Creek, which can impact water quality for communities throughout Ulster County and the surrounding region.

In the letter, Metzger asserts that the revisions “represent a significant change in management strategy for the Lower Esopus,” and urges DEC and DEP to “expedite completion of the SEQR process and develop better data to enable a well-informed multi-objective management strategy for releases to the Lower Esopus.”

Metzger also made recommendations to improve communication with the Ashokan Release Working Group of stakeholders and elected officials.  Specifically, Metzger cited concerns with the plan to delegate decision-making authority over water releases to Ulster County rather than experts at DEC and DEP.

The Lower Esopus Creek travels 33 miles through seven Ulster County municipalities.  It begins at the south end of the Ashokan Reservoir and joins the Hudson River in the Village of Saugerties.