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Views from the Watershed

Views from the Watershed

By Lize Mogel

This podcast tour explores the past, present, and future of NYC’s water supply in the Catskills. It tells the story of the complicated relationship between the Catskills and NYC that is forged by water infrastructure. You'll visit 10 resonant places in the watershed and hear firsthand, intimate perspectives from local people including a historian, a dairy farmer, a former DEP commissioner, a grave restorer, and a trail builder on what it means to be a part of the water system. (Please start at the Introduction episode.) Visit walkingthewatershed.com/podcasttour/ for more info and a tour map.
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Gone But Not Forgotten
Gone But Not Forgotten
**If you're just joining this podcast, we recommend you listen to the earliest episodes first.** The Pepacton Cemetery is a remote and resonant place. Like all cemeteries, it’s a marker of loss-- not just the loss of individual people, but of entire communities that were displaced to build the water system. This episode features historian and grave restorer Marianne Greenfield. If you're taking this tour in person, please play this episode at the Pepacton Cemetery. Accessibility: the cemetery is not wheelchair accessible, as the terrain is mowed grass and sloped. However, you can view it from the side of the road. Please visit walkingthewatershed.com/podcasttour/listen.html to download a printed map, transcripts, accessibility info, and other important information
09:20
November 17, 2021
Putting the "Public" in Public Lands
Putting the "Public" in Public Lands
NYC owns a lot of land and water in the Catskills. You can walk (or paddle) on some of it because people advocated for that access, and did the work to build paths through it. Just watch out for snakes in the pond! This episode features trail builder Ann Roberti, president of the Catskill Mountain Club. If you're taking this tour in person, please play this episode while on the Shavertown Trail or at the Shavertown Boat Launch at the Pepacton Reservoir. If you don't have a DEP access permit, please park in the area at the side of the road. Accessibility: the parking area is hard-packed. There is a ramp down to the reservoir at the north end of the parking lot. Please visit walkingthewatershed.com/podcasttour/listen.html to download a printed map, transcripts, accessibility info, and other important information.
12:27
November 17, 2021
Tapping the Delaware
Tapping the Delaware
New York City needed more water, it set out to tap the Delaware River (much to New Jersey's dismay!). The construction of the Pepacton Reservoir, which was completed in the mid-50s, and the displacement that it entailed, are still within the living memory of this part of the Catskills. This episode features historian Diane Galusha; Adam Bosch, DEP's Director of Public Affairs for the NYC water supply; and historian and grave restorer Marianne Greenfield. If you're taking this tour in person, please play this episode at the Shavertown Boat Launch at the Pepacton Reservoir. If you don't have a DEP access permit, please park in the area at the side of the road and walk down. Accessibility: the parking area is hard-packed. There is a ramp down to the reservoir at the north end of the parking lot. Please visit walkingthewatershed.com/podcasttour/listen.html to download a printed map, transcripts, accessibility info, and other important information.
10:48
November 17, 2021
After the Storm (Part 2)
After the Storm (Part 2)
Hurricane Irene raised concerns about the Gilboa Dam and the ability of water infrastructure to manage the massive amounts of water produced by large storms. How the DEP is preparing for the impacts of climate change in our future. This episode features Adam Bosch, DEP's Director of Public Affairs for the NYC water supply. If you're taking this tour in person, please play this episode at Devasego Park in Prattsville, on the banks of Schoharie Creek. Accessibility: the parking lot has a hard-packed surface which is accessible, and the park is mowed grass which is less so. Please visit walkingthewatershed.com/podcasttour/listen.html to download a printed map, transcripts, accessibility info, and other important information. Photo: NYC Department of Environmental Protection
04:40
November 15, 2021
After the Storm (Part 1)
After the Storm (Part 1)
In 2011 Hurricane Irene roared through the Catskills "like a fire hose going through an anthill." But yet, the Catskills persisted. The story of Hurricane Irene is one of devastation and resilience. It also illuminates the complicated relationship between human development, water infrastructure, and natural forces. This episode features Catskills journalists Lissa Harris and Tim Knight, who covered Irene. If you're taking this tour in person, please play this episode anywhere on Main Street in Prattsville. Accessibility: Downtown Prattsville is paved and wheelchair accessible. Please visit walkingthewatershed.com/podcasttour/listen.html to download a printed map, transcripts, accessibility info, and other important information.
15:30
November 15, 2021
The Whole Farm Plan
The Whole Farm Plan
Dairy farming is hard. In the 1990s, new watershed regulations would have made it even harder, if not impossible. Farmers pushed back, organized and eventually collaborated with the City to come up with a plan that would benefit everyone-- the City would pay farmers to modernize, and farmers would be able to keep cow poop out of the water. This episode features Fred Huneke, retired dairy farmer.  If you're taking this tour in person, please play this episode at the Hubbell Homestead historic sign on Route 30. Accessibility: the turnaround has a somewhat uneven hard-packed surface, but you can view the site from your car. Please visit walkingthewatershed.com/podcasttour/listen.html to download a printed map, transcripts, accessibility info, and other important information.
10:45
November 15, 2021
A Seat At The Table
A Seat At The Table
A DEP Commissioner, a Catskillian, and a bunch of lawyers walk into a bar...  The 1990s were a turning point for the relationship between the Catskills and NYC. The Clean Water Act changed the way the City needed to manage its water supply, so they tried to impose stringent regulations on the watershed. Catskillians were having none of that! As watershed towns got together and organized, a new DEP Commissioner came to town with a very different approach from her predecessors. A pitcher of beer broke the ice, and the rest is history. This episode features two people who were in the "room where it happened": Marilyn Gelber, DEP Commissioner from 1994-1996, and Alan Rosa, former Executive Director of the Catskill Watershed Corporation.  If you're taking this tour in person, please play this episode at the Catskills Watershed Corporation building in Arkville. The site is paved and is wheelchair accessible. Please visit walkingthewatershed.com/podcasttour/listen.html to download a printed map, transcripts, accessibility info, and other important information.
26:33
November 15, 2021
Upgrading Infrastructure
Upgrading Infrastructure
NYC’s water infrastructure is kind of like your household plumbing, but a lot bigger. What happens though, when, like your household plumbing, it springs a leak or needs to be replaced? This episode features Adam Bosch, DEP's Director of Public Affairs for the NYC water supply. If you're taking this tour in person, please play this episode at the Shandaken Tunnel Portal on Route 28. Accessibility: the small parking lot has an uneven paved and gravel surface, with a grassy edge -- however you can see the portal from your car. Please visit walkingthewatershed.com/podcasttour/listen.html to download a printed map, transcripts, accessibility info, and other important information.
05:56
November 13, 2021
Un-Muddying the Waters
Un-Muddying the Waters
Sediment, turbidity, and riparian buffers, oh my! There's a lot that can happen in a stream on its way to becoming NYC's drinking water. Watershed managers have re-engineered part of Stony Clove Creek so that it's cleaner and clearer...and doesn't flood downtown Phoenicia anymore. This episode features Tim Koch, Stream Educator and Hydrologist with the Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program (AWSMP) and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County. If you're taking this tour in person, please play this episode at Simpson Mini-Park in downtown Phoenicia. Accessibility: the park has grassy turf and is not easily wheelchair accessible, but you can view the Stony Clove from the Main Street bridge which has a paved sidewalk. Please visit walkingthewatershed.com/podcasttour/listen.html to download a printed map, transcripts, accessibility info, and other important information.
10:45
November 13, 2021
Tough Choices
Tough Choices
There’s a lot of water in the Catskills! Flooding is a constant threat, made worse by climate change, and most of the businesses in downtown Boiceville will eventually have to move because of it. A vacant lot is a marker of the profoundly tough choices the town has to make in planning for future flooding. This episode features Aaron Bennett, Deputy Chief of Watershed Lands and Community Planning with the NYC DEP. If you're taking this tour in person, please play this episode at the vacant lot next to the Nuvance Health parking lot in downtown Boiceville. Accessibility: the vacant lot has a hard-packed surface and is wheelchair accessible. Please visit walkingthewatershed.com/podcasttour/listen.html to download a printed map, transcripts, accessibility info, and other important information. Photo: Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program
07:42
November 12, 2021
Trout and Tourism
Trout and Tourism
The Catskills are considered to be the birthplace of fly fishing in the US. Here, fishing can be an occupation, a lifeline, or a hobby. Anglers (and fish too!) are important stakeholders in the watershed—NYC's control over the water in Esopus Creek and other rivers, and the fishing community's needs for clear, cold water are deeply intertwined. This episode features angler and fishing guide Todd Spire. If you're taking this tour in person, please play this episode at the bridge over Esopus Creek at the Ashokan Rail Trail, Boiceville Bridge, less than a 1/2 mile from the parking lot. The trail has a hard-packed surface and is wheelchair accessible. Please visit walkingthewatershed.com/podcasttour/listen.html to download a printed map, transcripts, accessibility info, and other important information. Photo credit: Todd Spire
09:57
November 12, 2021
A Miracle of Modern Engineering
A Miracle of Modern Engineering
The NYC water supply is enormous! It serves 9.5 million people every day, and has a capacity of 570 billion gallons. That's the equivalent of 2,059 Empire State Buildings full of water! NYC's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) owns, operates, and manages the water supply, with a little help from their friend, gravity. This episode features Adam Bosch, DEP's Director of Public Affairs for the NYC water supply.  If you're taking this tour in person, please play this episode at the Ashokan Reservoir Promenade, East Parking Lot (the "Frying Pan"). This site is paved and is wheelchair accessible.  Please visit walkingthewatershed.com/podcasttour/listen.html to download a printed map, transcripts, accessibility info, and other important information.
07:41
November 01, 2021
A Difficult History
A Difficult History
As New York City grew, so did its need for clean water. So city leaders decided to tap the Esopus Creek in the Catskills. The construction of the Catskills System— the Ashokan and Schoharie reservoirs and the Catskill Aqueduct— displaced thousands of people through eminent domain, uprooting tight-knit rural communities and causing generational bitterness towards the City. This episode features historian Diane Galusha, author of Liquid Assets: A History of New York City's Water System.  If you're taking this tour in person, please play this episode at the Ashokan Reservoir Promenade, East Parking Lot (the "Frying Pan"). This site is paved and is wheelchair accessible.  Please visit walkingthewatershed.com/podcasttour/listen.html to download a printed map, transcripts, accessibility info, and other important information.
12:36
October 31, 2021
Introduction: Connected by Water
Introduction: Connected by Water
Most New York City residents don't know where their water comes from (except from out of the tap!) Your tour guide, Lize Mogel, gives a little bit of the backstory to NYC's drinking water, 90% of which comes from the Catskills, 100+ miles from the City. New York City and the Catskills are physically and socially connected by water, but their relationship has a complicated history... If you're taking this tour in person, you can play this episode anywhere. Please visit walkingthewatershed.com/podcasttour/listen.html to download a printed map, transcripts, accessibility info, and other important information.
06:37
October 31, 2021
Start Here!
Start Here!
Start here for important information about how to use this podcast tour; a land acknowledgement; and a couple of interesting things to notice along the way. If you're taking this tour in person, please visit walkingthewatershed.com/podcasttour/listen.html to download a printed map, transcripts, accessibility info, and other important information. 
02:51
October 31, 2021