DEP RECREATIONAL BOATING PROGRAM ATTRACTS MORE THAN 1,300 VISITS TO FOUR CATSKILL RESERVOIRS IN 2019
WYBN TV 14 News – Windham, NY 12/20/2019
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced that more than 1,300 boats were used in 2019 through its recreational boating program in the Catskills, including 711 canoes and kayaks that were rented to visitors by local businesses. Rentals made up the majority of boats used for the fourth consecutive year, underscoring the program’s aim to improve access for visitors and support local tourism and outdoor recreation businesses.
“We continue to receive excellent feedback from visitors who enjoy the unique outdoor experience of canoeing and kayaking on our reservoirs,” DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza said. “DEP will continue to collaborate with our tourism and business partners to attract more visitors who enjoy paddling and other activities that spotlight our natural resources.”
2019 marked the eighth year of recreational boating at Cannonsville, Neversink, Pepacton and Schoharie reservoirs. A total of 1,331 canoes and kayaks were registered with DEP or rented through a local business this year. In addition, local nonprofit groups led outings for dozens of additional visitors, including school and summer camp groups, throughout the year. Of the tallied visits, 711 boats were rented from local businesses and 620 boats were registered directly with DEP. Neversink Reservoir led the way with 590 visits, followed by Pepacton Reservoir with 517, Schoharie Reservoir with 152, and Cannonsville Reservoir with 72. Of the boats registered directly with DEP, most were owned by residents of watershed counties and visitors from the New York City metro area. Boating tags were also issued to visitors from 10 states, including Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas.
Rental boats were available at the reservoirs for the sixth year. The rental program, administered in partnership with the Catskill Watershed Corporation (CWC), provides easier boating access for visitors and local residents who do not own a boat. CWC funded the acquisition of 30 storage racks for the rental boats, and it administers the process to vet and approve businesses that applied to participate in the rental program.
Prior to 2009, DEP only issued tags for metal rowboats that were used and stored at the reservoirs for the purpose of fishing. More than 12,000 tags are currently issued to anglers who have rowboats at the reservoirs. Regular water-quality monitoring at each of these reservoirs has shown no impact from recreational boating. DEP’s invasive species experts have surveyed every boat launch site and found no sign of aquatic plants or animals that can harm drinking water quality. Every boat that is used on the reservoirs is required to be inspected and steam cleaned to avoid the spread of invasive species.
DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than 1 billion gallons of high-quality water each day to more than 9.6 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 10 years 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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