State to bar fish­ing in Up­per Eso­pus Creek

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Jay Bra­man Jr. news@free­manon­line.com

SHANDAKEN >> The state Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion has asked an­glers not to fish in the Up­per Eso­pus Creek in Ul­ster County due to muddy wa­ter and the creek’s low level, and the agency says a for­mal ban is forth­com­ing.

The af­fected area is “from Shandaken Por­tal to Ashokan Reser­voir” be­cause “low, muddy wa­ter may af­fect trout spawn­ing,” the depart­ment tweeted and said on its web­site.

The muddy wa­ter has been en­ter­ing the creek from the New York City­owned Schoharie Reser­voir by way of the por­tal.

The for­mal ban is ex­pcted within a few days, and there was no im­me­di­ate word on whether it might be lifted be­fore the fish­ing sea­son ends Nov. 30.

Wa­ter typ­i­cally is sent from the Schoharie Reser­voir to the creek to sup­ple­ment the creek’s nat­u­ral flow and help main­tain its trout pop­u­la­tion. This year, though, drought con­di­tions have re­duced wa­ter lev­els in the Schoharie dra­mat­i­cally, and the por­tal has been fun­nel­ing highly tur­bid, cho­co­late-col­ored wa­ter into the Up­per Eso­pus. And the wa­ter level in the creek is ex­pected to drop fur­ther, re­duc­ing aquatic habi­tat.

With these is­sues com­bined, the Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion fears fish in the Eso­pus Creek could be more vul­ner­a­ble than usual to an­glers and nat­u­ral preda­tors and wor­ries the ab­nor­mally high amount of tur­bid­ity will hurt the stream’s ecosys­tem and trout spawn­ing, which be­gins soon.

So the state agency told the New York City Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion to re­duce the amount of wa­ter sent from the Schoharie Reser­voir into the Up­per Eso­pus.

Adam Bosch, a spokesman for the city depart­ment, said the state is call­ing the shots.

“We’re op­er­at­ing un­der the di­rec­tion of DEC,” he said.

Bosch said the city depart­ment has a per­mit from state agency to send the wa­ter into the Eso­pus, but the state reg­u­lates the flow.

Call­ing the Schoharie Re­serv­ior is “empty” due to the lack of rain, Bosch said, for fish, send­ing some muddy wa­ter into the Eso­pus is bet­ter than send­ing no wa­ter at all. Cut­ting off the Schoharie flow would re­duce the Eso­pus to a level even more dan­ger­ous, he said.

PRO­VIDED BY NYSDEC

This map shows where fish­ing is to be banned.

PRO­VIDED BY NYSDEC

Muddy wa­ter is shown in the Up­per Eso­pus Creek in Ul­ster County.

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