Welcome (Back)
Welcome to the second edition of On the Ground, the newsletter of NYenvironcom. Whether you’re here for the first time or back for a second look, the objective is to keep on keeping you up to speed on what we’re doing to promote engagement and understanding in the way land and water are used and protected in our area. So, let’s get to it.
What's Happening
You may notice that our site has a new look. No big. Just saying. We think it looks nice. And there are some new functions built into this new format that you might find exciting. Read on..
One change is that we have relocated from nyenvironcom.org to nyenvironcom.ngo— maybe a small thing, but a move that better expresses who we are. You can still get to us with the old address and link but, by using the new address, you’ll find it’s faster, and you’ll be able to tap into the more dynamic site functions like LIVE AIR QUALITY MONITORING and improved maps in the Tools and Resource section. And you can browse in our Online Shop—good stuff for a worthy cause.
We’ll be rolling out two new projects this spring—well, more like two and a half.
First, we’re producing Watching the Waters, a video featuring our volunteers in action. The film introduces the team; follow along with them in looking after and collecting data from our monitoring stations. Or: high adventure along the Basha Kill (!) as intrepid citizens employ SCIENCE and strive to protect the resources of the land and the way of life they love … or something like that. You’ll be able to find it on our website and, of course, on YouTube. We hoped it would have been out by now but (as often happens with grand cinematic endeavors) reshoots, inclement weather, and faulty memory cards have reset the timeline. We won’t let that keep it from you all much longer though.

And, speaking of water monitoring stations, the Basha Kill Area Association is sponsoring the installation of our fourth station in the Basha Kill Wildlife Management Area.

So that’s two. And the last, which, you know what, we’ll go ahead and count as a third— forget that two and half, is a fifth station, brought to you through a generous grant from the Orange & Rockland Utilities Community Investment Program. Its exact placement has yet to be determined. That’ll be in the next newsletter. Stay tuned.
Our mapping program has a name: TerraINscape (as in TERRAIN + SCAPE). Nice, right?

With TerraINscape we will be building maps using our aerial imaging combined with GIS (Geographic Information System) data. On the new site you’ll be able to view maps that include aerial imaging layered over land use, land type, and drainage data as well as the locations of our water stations. It’s pretty amazing, actually.
Rivendale: In a planning board meeting on March 10th, project engineer John Fuller responded to concerns expressed at last fall’s public hearing regarding the proposed development. His letter is available on our Rivendale subsite. Our response is addressed in the DRA (Deerpark Rural Alliance) portion of this newsletter, which follows.

Our SUMMER REPORT CARDS will be released this summer. The cards will report on the recent history, current status, and our viewpoints regarding projects of concern, starting with Dragon Springs, Rivendale, and 850 Rte. 28 Kingston. Should be exciting reading if you’re interested in that sort of thing, we are.
DRA News
From the desks of Grace Woodard and Susan O’Neill

We at Deerpark Rural Alliance (DRA) are excited about the BKAA’s revitalized water monitoring program headed by Frank Coviello. Alex Scilla and Grace Woodard of DRA have met with Frank and look forward to sharing valuable information with the BKAA and assisting where we can.

We continue to work on filming and mapping our local landscape and waterways. In mid-March, Alex and Grace participated in Virtual Hill Week, along with the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed (CDRW). We lobbied for funds and support from Congressional Representatives from New York State. We met by Zoom with Senator Gillibrand, with Congressman Delgado, and with staff members of Congressman Maloney, Congresswoman Tenny, and Senator Schumer. Intense, and we think productive.

A Refresher: The plan calls for the urban-like, closely packed development of identical homes on lots of only one third(+/-) of an acre each, a sewage discharge pipe near a trout stream, a community septic, the building of a housing development close to the Millennium [BB1] gas pipeline, the drilling of 20 new drinking water wells, in an area containing many sensitive environmental and ecological resources as determined by the Department of Environmental Conservation. At risk, in addition to the trout stream, are a wetland and riparian buffer: the riverside dwelling with native plant life that filters water, provides habitat and prevents erosion. The development’s planning to contain stormwater sediment from polluting the Neversink and other nearby waterways is inadequate. You can read the engineers’ analysis of the environmental impacts on the Rivendale Info page

The Update: John Fuller, Rivendale’s engineer, responded to 16 questions, but he still minimizes the need for a full EIS. There are mandatory applications that require review by the state, county, and Deerpark still to be submitted before permits and go-aheads are issued. There is no mention of Rivendale being in accordance with the town’s Comprehensive Plan regarding Deerpark’s rural character. We find the tone of Fuller’s letter dismissive of many of the key requirements needed for project compliance.

Upcoming events:
Come see us at the Port Jervis city wide yard sale on Sat. May 1st. We’ll have our usual table up.

Later in the Spring we’ll be having a meetup and roundtable. Our first annual Waterwalk and Talk. Details to be announced on our events page and by email soon.

Also, look out for a new feature in this letter starting with the next installment. We’ll be bringing you short guest essays from our friends and consultants in the environmental field. One more reason to keep up with your subscription, or sign up if you haven’t yet.
In The Meantime . . .
Get in touch with us via the website!
Contribute what you can.
We need it and love you for it.
Set up Amazon Smile if you haven’t.
And Shop at the store.
Tip: try an order of the DRAxForage Pizza smoked trout dip. It’s wonderful.
Until next time . . .
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Alex (Al) Scilla

Founder & Director

Thanks to our 2020/2021 sponsors and supporters.

Aspen Community Foundation

Basha Kill Area Association

Orange & Rockland Community Investment Program

Stroud Water Research Center

All content is © 2021 NYenvironcom, Ulster County, New York; a 501(c)3 public charity.
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