Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Delaware River Basin Commission Lifts Drought Watch

 Commission Urges Water Efficiency and Compliance With State-Issued Drought Watches and Warnings

The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) today announced the termination of its drought management special permit in effect since Nov. 23, 2016, when the basin was placed in a drought watch.

“Due to recent precipitation and snow melt, combined storage in three large upper basin reservoirs has achieved and sustained a sufficient level for five consecutive days to result in automatic termination of the basinwide drought watch,” said DRBC Executive Director Steve Tambini.

“Although upper basin reservoir storage has rebounded in recent weeks automatically ending the drought watch operations, other indicators such as groundwater levels, stream flows, precipitation, soil moisture, and local reservoir storage have not all recovered,” said Tambini.  “As a result, various state-issued drought watches and warnings based on those indicators remain in effect across most of the basin.”

“DRBC continues to urge all water users to maximize water efficiency wherever possible and to fully cooperate with requests by the basin states to curb water use where drought watches and warnings have been issued based on local conditions,” added Tambini.  “The importance of a coordinated response by all water users cannot be overstated.”

The DRBC’s primary drought management objective, which complements the basin states’ drought response efforts, is to provide for conservation of regional reservoir storage for purposes of water supply and flow augmentation in the Delaware River and salinity control in the Delaware Estuary (i.e., the tidal river and bay). 

The upper basin reservoirs which determine DRBC drought stages are located in the Catskill Mountains at the headwaters of the Delaware River in New York State.  These three New York City reservoirs provide about half of the city’s water supply and support a minimum flow target in the Delaware River at Montague, N.J. established by the U.S. Supreme Court Decree of 1954.  Storage, releases, diversions, and flow targets in the DRBC drought management plan are determined in advance and must have the unanimous concurrence of the parties to the decree, which include the four basin states and New York City.

Combined storage in the three upper basin reservoirs had been as low as 39.3% of capacity in late November 2016.  The reservoirs are currently at about 58% of capacity, which is approximately 70 billion gallons below normal for this time of the year.

By transitioning out of the drought watch stage, out-of-basin diversions to New York City and portions of New Jersey established by the decree will return to normal levels.  In addition, the Delaware River flow objective at Montague and a second flow objective at Trenton, N.J. will also return to the normal targets of 1,750 cubic feet per second (cfs) and 3,000 cfs, respectively.

The purpose of the Trenton flow objective is to control the movement of the “salt line” or “salt front” in the tidal Delaware River.  Adequate freshwater flowing downstream is needed to repel the upstream migration of “salty” or “brackish” water from the Delaware Bay to keep it away from drinking water intakes serving residents in Philadelphia and New Jersey, as well as industrial intakes along the river.

As of Jan. 16, thanks to increased downstream flows, the salt front was located at river mile 73, which is four miles upstream of the normal January location.  The salt front reached river mile 90 in late November-early December, which was well above the normal location but still 20 miles downstream of water supply intakes in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

“Cooperation from the states, from New York City, and from water users and managers has been effective during the basinwide drought watch period,” said Tambini.  “Although recent trends in storage volume and the location of the salt front have been positive and DRBC is required to move from ‘drought watch’ status back to ‘normal’ status, the volume of water in the reservoirs and other indicators suggest additional cooperation and water efficiency are still needed.”

The DRBC is a federal/interstate government agency responsible for managing the water resources within the 13,539 square-mile Delaware River Basin without regard to political boundaries.  The five commission members are the governors of the basin states (Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania) and the commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' North Atlantic Division, who represents the federal government.

More information, including links to basin state drought pages, updates about water resource conditions, and water savings tips, can be found at

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Your Help is Needed to Protect Delaware County Waterways

The Upper Delaware River Tailwaters Coalition and Friends of the Upper Delaware River are working on an exciting new project to protect, manage, and restore waterways in Delaware County, New York.

They are working on a first of its kind Stream Corridor Management Plan in Delaware County downstream of the NYC reservoirs. This plan will serve as a blueprint for the future management and protection of important water resources. 
A series of public workshops will highlight the values and functions of waterways in Delaware County and the important social, economic, and cultural benefits they provide. If you want to play a personal role in their protection and management, plan on attending one of these workshops  
A second series of meetings - The Basics of Stream Dynamics - will address the basic components of stream protection and how they impact people and wildlife.

Meeting Locations:
Monday, October 24 - Deposit State Theater
148 Front St., Deposit, NY
Tuesday, October 25 - Colchester American Legion Hall
6644 River Rd, Downsville, NY
Wednesday, October 26 - Hancock Town Hall
661 W. Main St., Hancock, NY 
Times of all meeting:  6:00 - 7:30 PM
Graydon Dutcher, Delaware County Soil & Water Conservation District
Mark Gutshall, Landstudies Inc.
Light Refreshments will be Served

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Upper Delaware tributary on list of streams recommended for High Quality Status

The Pennsylvania Department of  Environmental Protection (PA DEP) recommended a rulemaking to the Environmental Quality Board (EQB) to upgrade 50 Class A Trout Streams to High Quality status.

Included is Sherman Creek, a tributary to the West Branch of the Delaware.

You can submit an online comment supporting this change at or via email at with “Proposed Rulemaking: Water Quality Standards; Class A Stream Redesignations” in the subject line. A return name and address must be included in your email.

You can read the proposal here:

Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Upper Delaware Council Seeks Awards Nominations by March 14

The Upper Delaware Council, Inc. (UDC) is accepting public nominations through March 14 for its 28th Annual Awards Ceremony to be held on April 24 at Tennanah Lake Golf & Tennis Club in the Town of Fremont.

“These awards are intended to honor the contributions that individuals, organizations, communities, and government agencies have made to enhancing the quality of life or protecting the resources in the Upper Delaware River region,” said UDC Executive Director Laurie Ramie. “We would like the entire river community to be involved in the nomination process.”

Nine award categories are available, in addition to the Oaken Gavel Award traditionally given by the Council to the past year’s chairperson. Nomination forms and a list of past award recipients are available on-line at or upon request.

The Sunday, April 24, ceremony will take place at Wolff’s 1910 Banquet Hall at Tennanah Lake Golf & Tennis Club, 178 County Route 96, Roscoe, NY.

Festivities will begin at 3 p.m. with an hors d’oeuvres and cash bar reception. A buffet dinner will be served at 4 p.m. A keynote address and the presentation of awards will follow.

The public is welcome. Tickets are $28. Reservations with advance payment are required by April 15.
Nominations are sought for the following award categories:

Distinguished Service Award – Given to an individual who has acted with distinction in support of the goals and objectives of the River Management Plan for the Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River. This is the UDC’s highest honor.

Robin M. Daniels Memorial Lifesaving Award – Given to individual(s) who, through an act of selfless heroism, saved the life of a person or persons in imminent peril in 2015.

Community Service Award – Given to the individual, community, sportsmen’s or conservation group, or other entity that took action in 2015 to protect the river corridor, or one or more of its valuable resources.

Cultural Achievement Award – Given to the organization or individual whose work promoted, enhanced, or interpreted the cultural resources of the Upper Delaware River Valley.

Recreation Achievement Award – Given to an organization or individual that made an outstanding effort to educate river users about such subjects as water safety, conservation, litter control, river etiquette, and property rights.

Outstanding Community Achievement Award – Given to a municipality to recognize significant action in 2015 to protect the river corridor.

Partnership Award – Given to a government agency or regional entity instituting new programs or policies, or engaging in cooperative ventures, in support of the River Management Plan.

Volunteer Award – Given to the individual or organization who contributed significant time and energy in 2015 in service of the Upper Delaware River Valley.

Award(s) of Recognition – Given to those who have made substantial efforts in the past year to improve the Upper Delaware’s quality of life and resources.

Nominations will be evaluated by a UDC subcommittee. The list of this year’s honorees will be announced in late March
For more information on nominations and reservations, please contact the UDC at P.O. Box 192, 211 Bridge St., Narrowsburg, NY 12764, phone (845) 252-3022, fax (845) 252-3359, or e-mail

Thursday, January 7, 2016

2015 American Shad Run on the Delaware River

The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission published their 2015 American shad run  findings on the Delaware River. It can be summed up as a ho-hum average run comprised of primarily younger age fish.

Young of the year surveys were decent, not great, but as it's called in the fisheries world, "sustainable".

I have a problem when using averages to determine the sustainability or heath of a fishery, and that's because averages change. Lower returns over the years will reduce the average leaving us to continually settle for fewer and fewer returning fish. They need to get the average out of the picture and replace it with available habitat and utilization of that habitat.

In the case of American shad, how much habitat is available for spawning and how that habitat is utilized is a far more important piece of data than counting heads at predetermined points. I do understand that's how it's always been done and that's the benchmark of comparison. But, if we continue to try and measure fishery health the same way as before while continuing to see diminished returns we can expect to continue to experience the same results of diminished fish returns.

More detailed info on the 2015 Delaware River Shad Monitoring can be found here:

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Regulated Flow Advisory Committee Moves Meeting to the Upper Delaware

The Delaware River Basin Commission Regulated Flow Advisory Committee (DRBC RFAC) is hosting a meeting in Hawley, PA on December 3, 2015. This meeting is of utmost importance to all river users, both recreationally and commercially. Decree Party members from New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and New York City will be there.

For more information visit the Friends of the Upper Delaware River or contact Jeff Skelding, FUDR Executive Director

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Public Invited to Long Eddy Visioning Session

On September 28, 2015 the public is invited to the Long Eddy Hotel in Sullivan County, Long Eddy, New York to participate in a visioning session for the hamlet and the river access. Three opportunities are available to drop in and share your ideas on September 28th: 8am-10am, 12pm-2pm, and 6pm-8pm.

Buck Moorhead, architect and founding partner of Building Consensus for Sustainability, as well as representatives from the Delaware Highlands Conservancy, the Sullivan County Planning Department, and the New York DEC will be on hand to answer questions and guide the discussion.

Participants will be asked to consider what they would like to see in the hamlet of Long Eddy and in the river access; envision various possibilities to resolve current issues of parking and access to the river; and to share any concerns. Compilations of the discussions will be shared with the NYS DEC as they work on the design for the river access.

Nearly 100 people contributed more than $8,000 to help the Delaware Highlands Conservancy purchase the river access and turn it over to the NYS DEC to make improvements. Now, these organizations are seeking your input to help envision an economically productive and sustainable future for Long Eddy that is based on the shared goals of the residents that live there.

Advance registration is not required for the visioning sessions. If you are unable to attend and would like to share your ideas, please contact Heather Jacksy at the Sullivan County Planning Department at 845-807-0527 or by email at, or, drop your drawings and/or narrative descriptions off at the Long Eddy Hotel at 7 Depot Street, Long Eddy, NY.