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Department Of Environmental Protection announces start of recreational boating season at four reservoirs in the Catskills

Posted 6/3/21

2021 marks the first full year of the expanded paddling season from May to October

REGION - The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced that the 2021 …

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Department Of Environmental Protection announces start of recreational boating season at four reservoirs in the Catskills


2021 marks the first full year of the expanded paddling season from May to October

REGION - The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced that the 2021 recreational boating program is now open at four of its reservoirs in the Catskills.

The popular outdoor program, now in its 10th year, has attracted thousands of visitors to kayak or canoe at Cannonsville, Pepacton, Neversink and Schoharie reservoirs. Importantly, 2021 marks the first full year of the expanded season for recreational boating, which now runs from May 1 to Oct. 31. DEP changed its recreation rules to expand the season by approximately six weeks.

“We encourage all our watershed neighbors and visitors to enjoy the scenic beauty of the Catskills by boating this year on one of New York City's reservoirs,” DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza said. “The rental boating program makes it easy for visitors to get a pre-cleaned boat from certain local businesses in the Catskills, and the expanded season will allow people to paddle while enjoying the beauty of spring and the fall foliage season. As we look forward to this recreational boating season, we thank our partners at the Catskill Watershed Corporation, the rental and steam-cleaning businesses, and our visitors for making the program such a great success.”

“After a difficult year and a long winter, the recreational boating program provides much needed outdoor relief for individuals looking for things to do this summer,” said Catskill Watershed Corporation Executive Director Jason Merwin. “CWC, DEP, and local businesses have continued to partner to provide this opportunity to residents and visitors of the watershed. The recreational boating program is an excellent opportunity for individuals to get outside and experience what the watershed has to offer.”

More than 1,300 visitors participated in recreational boating at the four reservoirs in 2020, despite a season that was shortened by pandemic restrictions. The majority of paddlers used the rental program, which allows visitors to rent pre-cleaned and registered kayaks and canoes from 10 launch sites along the reservoirs.

The rental program, administered by the Catskill Watershed Corporation (CWC), offers rental boats that are stored on 30 racks alongside the reservoirs to promote easier access for visitors to the region and those who don't own a boat. CWC funded the storage racks, along with annual brochures to market the program and sanitary facilities at the launch sites.

The boats are rented to visitors by local businesses who register to participate in the program. Visitors may also use their own kayak or canoe, but must have it steam cleaned by a certified vendor before putting it on a reservoir.

Recreational boating season in the Catskills begins May 1 and lasts until Oct. 31, from dawn till dusk. Boaters must have a DEP access permit that is available free of charge on DEP's website by visiting www.nyc.gov/ dep/accesspermit.

All boats used on the reservoirs must also be steam cleaned by one of the eight DEP-certified steam cleaning vendors conveniently located across the watershed. A list of those steam cleaning and rental boat vendors is available at the Catskill Watershed Corporation website by visiting www.cwconline.org/ reservoir-boating. Steam cleaning helps protect against invasive plants, animals, and micro-organisms that can harm water quality and fisheries.

If a recreational boat is taken off reservoir property, it must be steam cleaned again before it can reenter the reservoir. Throughout the course of the recreational boating program, DEP has continuously tested water quality to ensure that none of the recreational activities has an adverse effect on New York City's drinking water supply.

Since 2003, DEP has significantly expanded the amount of city properties within the watershed that are open for recreation. There are now more than 140,000 acres of land and water open for fishing, hiking and other low-impact recreation. Of that, more than half of the land is located in public access areas that are open to recreation without the need for a DEP access permit.

DEP manages New York City's water supply, providing more than 1 billion gallons of high-quality water each day to more than 9 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 at facebook.com/ nycwater, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/ nycwater.


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