Letters to the Editor
EDITOR'S NOTE: The River Reporter welcomes letters
on all subjects from its readers. They must be signed and include
the correspondent's phone number. The correspondent's name and
town will appear at the bottom of each letter; titles
and affiliations will not, unless the correspondent is writing
on behalf of a group.
Letters are printed at the discretion of the editor.
It is requested they be limited to 300 words; correspondents may
be asked to cut longer letters. Deadline is 1:00 p.m. on Monday.
can be sent by e-mail to email@example.com
Closing the river gagescynically convenient
To the editor:
River communities, conservationists and sportsmen are in never ending struggle with New York City Department of Protection (DEP) over the water releases from the citys dams on the headwaters of the Delaware. Critical to monitoring what happens on the river are the gages that record flows and temperatures at sites from ranging from Hale Eddy and Downsville on the headwaters through Lordville, Callicoon and Barryville on the main stem down to Port Jervis. Temperatures and flows at the Callicoon gage are critical to monitoring the health of the nearby beds of the federally endangered dwarf wedge mussel, while data from the Lordville gage are critical to monitoring the health of the rainbow trout population in the upper river. Differences in flows at gages progressively down the river are our principal means to track the propagation of floods.
For New York City, ignorance on the part of advocates for the river would indeed be bliss. With no information, the citys misdeeds could not be documented, and a scientific and factual case for improvements in release policies could not be made. The implementation of the Flexible Flow Management Plan release rules on the Delaware is widely seen as being badly flawed. Data from the river gages provides the only factual basis for criticizing and improving this policy.
Shutting down gages that have been collecting data for more than 90 years under the pretext of budgetary constraints is a cynical, shortsighted and destructive and very self-serving maneuver by New York City DEP. It must not stand.
Gage elimination increases risks
from ice jamming
To the editor:
The media is reporting that the NYC Department of Environmental Protection is defunding a number of the gauging stations located on the streams and rivers within the Delaware River watershed. The stream levels, along with the stream flow volumes, are monitored by the United States Geological Survey at these stations. This information is distributed to federal, state, regional and local agencies for stream flow management, maintenance of water quality, and in times of immediate need, monitoring impending high-water events.
High-water events, typical to heavy rains, can be and often are also a characteristic of cold weather as a consequence of ice jamming. The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (ACOE) maintains a Cold Regions Research and Engineering Lab in Hanover, NH for ice jam research and engineering support for this very reason.
I have been trained and certified by ACOE in ice jam monitoring and analysis providing field support in their mission. It is from this training and my hands-on experience with ice jams in the main stem of the Delaware River that I recognize another serious flaw in the proposed elimination of the gauging stations.
The gauging stations serve a dual purpose in cold-weather high-water events. It is readily recognizable that their presence is important in gauging the rate of rise of the water at any time. It is not so readily recognized that they play an important cold-weather roll in gauging how low the water may be as well.
It is during cold weather that the information obtained from the gages is particularly useful. During cold-weather low-water events the streams loses benefit of the energy of flowing water and rapidly begins to accumulate various forms of ice. This is the beginning of an ice jam, often well before the event itself, and may not be observable as streams begin to ice over.
It is for this reason and my knowledge and experience in working with ACOE during ice jams events that I believe the proposed elimination of river and stream gages within the Delaware River watershed will put all of its communities at greater risk of flooding as a consequence of ice jamming.
Bernard T. Kozykowski
Tough times for fish: releases may drop in April
To the editor:
Well, it is that time of year again. Time for more interesting discussions on the beauties and flaws of the Flexible Flow Management Plan (FFMP).
Be aware that the West Branch will stop spilling today [Monday, March 23].
The release today is 1500 cfs. If the reservoir is not spilling on April 1, the release goes down to 110 cfs.
If the total reservoir storage (for all three) is less than 90 percent (its currently at 93 percent), then the release on April 1 drops to 80 cfs.
The release will be reduced over a three-day periodbetter, but still about three to four times faster than a natural event. In fact, the release may start dropping three days before the April 1 date, to achieve 110 by April 1.
If we get rain and it is spilling, the release remains at 1500 cfs.
Most likely, at some point in April, the reservoir will stop spilling and the release will drop to 110 or 80 from 1500 cfs.