The reservoirs, streams, and wetlands just north of New York City are available to millions of people as a recreational escape to their everyday lives. The unique interconnected system of water-bodies, protected lands, and recreational areas are vast considering its proximity to one of the largest cities in the world. This "Croton Watershed" has evolved over hundreds of years as a by-product of the creation of the Croton Aqueduct System that supplies water to New York. It has allowed for a viable trout fishery to develop that is used by thousands of people a year.
The Croton chapters conservation efforts stem around our desire to make a difference within this watershed. Over the past several years we have re-organized our efforts to improve the health of the streams and lands that encompass the Croton Watershed that is used by so many.
Our challenges are great in this task considering the amount of recreation pressure it receives as well as the many conflicts that arise in its management. As its primary purpose is to supply water to New York City, its regulation by the DEP often conflicts with the desires if the recreational user. Our renewed efforts have been to develop a relationship with the DEP, as well as the New York State DEC, in order to find ways to improve the health and usability of these reservoirs, streams, and wetlands, for our members and the public at large.
One program we have initiated with the DEP is by becoming the designated "Stewards" of the streams that flow in and out of the reservoirs. By being a part of the DEP Stewardship Program we are able to expedite many aspects of our efforts that otherwise would get burdened by lengthily application and administrative obstacles. Because of this program we now have direct lines of communication with key individuals within the DEP and DEC that we can voice our concerns to. We constantly report to these agencies any of the issues such as pollution, inappropriate land use and squatting, poaching, as well as natural environmental concerns, such as high water temperatures and stream obstructions. This is done by a team of volunteers within our chapter that are able to observe the areas of concern on a regular basis.
As a chapter we hold several stream clean-ups per year as well as participate in the DEP's annual Reservoir Cleanup Day. We assist in the stocking of the streams by the DEC every spring with one and two year old trout. A few times a year we hold lectures at our general meetings regarding conservation topics ranging from invasive species, to DEP water regulation.
Our overall hope and goal is that through our efforts in conservation the health of the streams within the Croton Watershed will improve, and in turn provide a better fishery for current recreational anglers as well as for the anglers of the future.