Town Supervisor Kelly Myers is questioning the wisdom of New York City releasing water from the Ashokan Reservoir into the Lower Esopus Creek when creekside residents in the town already are plagued by high water from Superstorm Sandy.Yay! Myers has noticed that Ulster County is nothing more than a convenient drainage ditch insofar as the NYC DEP is concerned. Good for her.
Myers said an official from New York City, which operates the reservoir in central Ulster County, called her on Tuesday to say “community releases” were starting.
The call came as residents of Lighthouse Drive in Saugerties, which is near where the creek meets the Hudson River, were dealing with flooding caused by Sandy’s storm surge pushing river water into — and ultimately out of — the creek.
But, here's the rub. The city was anticipating an unprecedented weather event that had initially called for more than six inches of rain. Given this, it's not a big surprise that they would seek to reduce levels in the reservoir ahead of the storm. In other words, we should anticipate discharges during times like these.
And it turns out that the city's permit, rather bafflingly, doesn't include provisions for this type of weather event:
Ulster County Planning Director Dennis Doyle said the state permit that allows reservoir water to be released into the creek does not take possible storm surges into account.Looks like the permit will have to be updated, huh, what with 100-year floods happening a couple of times per decade?
But Doyle echoed Myers’ statement about the lag time between reservoir actions and the impact in Saugerties and said that matter should be reviewed.
“This is something that is certainly worthy of discussion and consideration,” he said. “We certainly want them (New York City) to put in a gauge upstream from the Mount Marion gauge so that we have a better handle on when releases need to be stopped.”