Catskill Watershed Protection Plan
New York City Department of Protection funds a Watershed Protection Program which fosters great quality drinking water for about nine million people, which is about half of the state's total population. According to the Environmental Encyclopedia, 90% of water comes from the Catskill/Delaware Watershed, this covering 5,000 square kilometers of forested land north of the city and west of the Hudson River. Lately though, towns people have moved into the area around the Catskill Forest Preserve, noticing that the once so great quality water isn't what it used to be.
Following 1986, the Safe Drinking Water Act was enacted that protects public drinking water supplies throughout the nation. The standards for drinking water are high and are made to ensure safety. Although this was enacted, in 1989, the Environmental Protection Agency administered that the city could refrain filtration if they meet specific requirements for microbial contaminants – bacteria, viruses, protozoan parasites and so on. The city decided there would be land-use rules for five counties – Green, Ulster, Sullivan, Schoharie and Delaware. Most of the water is drawn from the Catskill/Delaware watershed.
To refrain from conflict, a task force was developed in which they would propose an alternative solution to protect the water supply and the growth of agriculture in the future. The task force agreed that agriculture has both “present and future environmental benefits.” Another program known as the Grass-Roots Program, pursued to educate the landowners and introduced alternative marketing circumstances to help protect the watershed. Economic stimulation was offered to encourage farmers and foresters to harbor the water supply as well. To improve the watershed quality, gathering barnyard runoff in infiltration ponds was one way to correct the watershed.
Periodically, not only did this help the city save billions of dollars, but it created a good relationship between the city and its citizens. Observations have shown that town clean ups, preventions and protection seem to be cheaper and more effective than waiting until after the water gets contaminated. Watershed planning remains to be more favorable and effective as cooperation allows town's people to be given a voice and be able to act. According to NYC Environmental Protection, the development of this plan is a major component of the 10-year Filtration Avoidance Determination awarded to New York City by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, thus allowing the city to be one of the only five large cities in the nation to get majority of its water from unfiltered sources.
The Catskill Watershed Protection Plan aims to protect the health of forests, which then will encourage rapid tree growth. Rapid tree growth allows healthy trees to consume nutrients from the soil, and their roots assist in balancing steep slopes and stream banks. This then prevents both nutrients and silts from flowing into the streams. The plan is provided to be a guide for controlling the city's forest resources as well as protecting the watershed. According to an independent analysis, it was concluded that the plan's outcome has the potential to help protect and/or create more than eighty full and part-time jobs over exactly ten years. Thus, contributing to more than 2.5 million within economic activity because of logging and the selling of sawtimber and wood products.
According to Commissioner Strickland, forests cover over 75% of the 1.2 million acres in the Catskill/Delaware watershed area, so the Watershed Forest Management Plan plans on protecting the water's quality for the 9 million New York residents who consume it. The plan focused primarily on recreational opportunities, reduced exposure to safety hazards within the forests, and economic benefits to the city and communities within the watershed. Conservation methods include forest diversification, which will keep diversity and uplift natural regeneration. Next, it will promote the rebirth of new forests. This can fix damages that were caused by deer, pathogens and insects, and control the growth of harmful plant species.
Since the plan stepped in, New York City has been able to protect over 120,000 acres of watershed land in the Catskill/Delaware town. Approximately 1,000 Department of Protection employees are residents within the watershed society. This includes scientists, engineers, surveyors, and administrative professionals according to DEP. The Department of Protection has invested over 1.5 billion dollars within the watershed protection programs that contribute to farming, economic development that is environmentally friendly, and economic opportunity.
Furthermore, the New York Department of Protection funds have implemented the Watershed Protection Program to main and protect the drinking water for nine million consumers. Since the 1990s, the Department of Protection's program has been partnered with many local organizations to pursue the 1997 New York City Watershed agreement.
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