NARROWSBURG, NY — The discovery of an ancient fossil and the celebration of the 35th annual river valley awards were highlights of the September 7 meeting of the Upper Delaware Council …
NARROWSBURG, NY — The discovery of an ancient fossil and the celebration of the 35th annual river valley awards were highlights of the September 7 meeting of the Upper Delaware Council (UDC).
The UDC is composed of local, state and federal governments and agencies collaborating to manage the Upper Delaware River.
Discussions also included the bounty for a northern snakehead fish, and intentions to hire a community planner.
The Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership, aka CRISP, is offering a $100 bounty for the catching and reporting of a 22-inch northern snakehead (Channa argus). CRISP hopes to use the fish as a training model for recognizing the invasive species.
Identifying the fish is vital as it is one of many invasive species that threaten the Upper Delaware River.
Mary Keefe and Leeann Bruetsch, participants in the Watershed Steward Program (which is part of CRISP), presented best practices to fight and prevent invasive species like the northern snakehead. One way to do so is to not dump animals, fish, reptiles or plants in bodies of water such as ponds, lakes and rivers. Instead, find someone to care for them and fact-check prior to purchase, they said.
Additionally, they recommended properly washing anything that moves from waterbody to waterbody. This includes trailers, boats, canoes, kayaks, fishing tackle and life jackets. They recommended using a water solution with potassium chloride (KCl) crystals to thoroughly wash anything used in a waterbody.
The UDC discussed the fossil rock found in Narrowsburg; the fossil has been determined to be almost 400 million years old by a paleontologist in Washington, D.C. Doug Kraus, who grew up in Narrowsburg, found the fossil near the mouth of Ten Mile River in the early 1990s. Earlier this year, the fossil was found in his parents’ garage. Doreen and Ed Kraus, Doug’s parents, gave it to UDC staff.
Don Hamilton, chief of resource management at the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River, who has been in possession of the fossil since August 15, sent photos with a ruler, for scale, to experts and paleontologists.
The National Park Service (NPS) paleontologist who looked at the photos identified the rock formations as most likely dating to the Late to Middle Devonian periods—383-359 million years ago.
Hamilton told the River Reporter that the paleontologist’s preliminary determination indicates that the fossil is composed of gastropods (snails), which have the general shape of high-spired snails (in the order Palaeozygopleura) found in Devonian rock formations.
Hamilton said that “depending on the provenance of it [the fossil] and how that can be documented, it may end up in the park’s collection of artifacts.”
More information is still expected to come from experts and paleontologists.
Ultimately, Alejandro Garcia-Maldonado, NPS cultural resources program manager, will make the final decision, and will consider the advice of scientists and experts about where the fossil will be housed.
The Kraus family, who found the fossil, excitedly hopes that wherever the fossil ends up displayed, it will tell the story of its origin in the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River, UDC executive director Laurie Ramie reported.
Lindsey Kurnath, NPS Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational Superintendent said that she is hopeful that the NPS will announce the hire of a community planner in the next couple of weeks.
The board also discussed 6PPD, a chemical that comes out of worn car tires that wash into nearby creeks and waterways. The substance damages wildlife such as trout and salmon. Water testing for the substance is made possible by the Delaware Water Conservation Project Grant and will kick off in spring/summer 2025.
On September 10, the UDC’s work and future plans were celebrated at the 35th annual River Valley Awards. Twelve individuals were honored for various contributions related to the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River.
Editor's Note: This story was corrected on September 22 to indicate that Lindsey Kurnath and the National Park Service (NPS) are hopeful that they will hire a community planner. The quote was mistakenly attributed to Kristen Bowman Kavanagh and the UDC.
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