Fiftieth Annual BKAA Report, October 15, 2022
By Jackie Broder, President
By Jackie Broder, President
As Covid continued to impact some activities, the BKAA still conducted, sponsored, or co-sponsored numerous events, continuing to have safety in mind.
The Board composition has changed. Frank Coviello, who took on the water testing, has been added as a Board member. The Board also added Pam Rice, who will take on the scholarship programs. We lost our President Paula Medley, who is irreplaceable.
We continued to focus on Delaware River Solar’s large-scale facility, proposed for property adjoining the Wurtsboro Airport. DRS responded to all of the communities concerns and changed their proposal to meet those requests. DRS project was granted approval by the Planning Board on 12/29/21.
Crescent Heights last attended Planning Board meeting in December 2020. The Planning Board hasn’t received anything since then.
The BKAA is constantly revitalizing connections with long-standing friends and supporters.
• The BKAA retained affiliations with Sullivan Catskill Visitor Association, whose website and publications highlight our programs and wetland ecosystem.
• BKAA maintained membership in Coalition for the Delaware Watershed.
• BKAA minimally networked with local politicians, but sent Guardian to most.
• BKAA enjoyed consistent backing from Deerpark Rural Alliance and NYenvironcom, while supporting Columbia Hill Neighborhood Alliance and Fallsburg’s Future via Guardian updates.
• Frequently communicated with DEC Bashakill Wildlife Manager, Nate Ermer, who periodically updated DEC Bashakill activity in his Guardian column. Nate also facilitated the BKAA’s Volunteer Stewardship Agreement and recently renewed with DEC.
• Interacted with Mamakating Environmental Educaiton Center (MEEC) via Director Jackie Broder’s column in the Guardian, sending Alerts underscoring MEEC programs and sponsoring, co-sponsoring, or participating in various MEEC offerings.
• Networked with Mamakating Local Development Corporation over TravelStorys and annual calendar.
• BKAA managed an informational table at the Mamakating Farmers Markets, supervised by Michael Medley and various board members.
The spring rains were magnificent…the summer drought…I’d rather not repeat it. But, because our Haven Road garden is established and mature, it survived the drought without much trouble. We have stopped adding annuals to the garden because the woodchucks and deer seem to eat them and we get very little color, so we’ve decided to just let the plants themselves evolve with their own style. As I mentioned last year, the trees and brush behind our garden and near the road, are laden with wild grape vines, and, as it turns out, some poison ivy. We have worked in the past to contain them and keep them from travelling into our garden and trees. However, this year, it appears that the routine mowing behind the garden has stopped, giving these vines purchase to make their way into our garden. I spent the better part of a morning crawling around in the garden and pulling wherever they had tried to root, as well as pulling out of the trees and shrubs. Then I pulled and weeded behind our garden and into the area of the trees. I made a pretty good dent, but ended up battling poison ivy for several weeks.
Bashakill Water Testing Program:
The Water Testing Program had been dormant from 2017 to 2021 due to the resignation of the former Coordinator. The program was resumed in 2021 when I, Frank Coviello, was assigned as the new Coordinator. Specific details of the 2021 water measurements are available upon request. For this report it is sufficient to state that the measured parameters are consistent with aquatic life which is evident by observing the ecosystem. The measured parameters are also consistent with the records available from 2012 (when the current electrode system was implemented) to 2017. Our Quality Controls records show our measurements are accurate, precise and reliable. At the initiation of the testing in 2021 a total of 23 participants were recruited. As of this report 5 participants have left the program but 2 new participants have volunteered.
Masten Lake Herbicide Issue:
In February, an anonymous person attempted to have an herbicide applied to Masten Lake (to mitigate a problem associated with recreational use) without the appropriate permits. Water from Masten Lake makes its way into the Bashakill via Wilsey Brook. Upon learning of the requirements, the request was cancelled. The matter has been addressed by the Lake Residents.
The BKAA and Mamakating Library co-sponsored six various O&W/D&H trail walks led by Kerron Barnes.
BKAA sponsored six students to a DEC environmental camp at Pack Forest, Warrensburg, NY. They were-
Their essays can be found in the Spring 2022 Guardian.
This was awarded to Nicole Connal, a full time student at SUNY Sullivan, majoring in Environmental Science. See the Spring 2022 Guardian.
Three $500 scholarships were awarded.
See their essays in the Summer 2022 Guardian.
These activities are crucial to the BKAA’s core Mission, which teaches the value of wetlands, Shawangunk Ridge, and the entire Bashakill watershed, along with ways to safeguard these resources. Paula established the BKAA’s educational agenda and assembled the experts who implemented it.
Also on the fall calendar of events:
The Basha Kill Field Guide, along with the 3rd Edition of a Birding Guide to Sullivan County, New York, including the Bashakill Wildlife Management Are (WMA), Field Checklists of the Birds of the WMA and Field ID Cards of Marsh Birds of the Bashakill are available at MEEC, BKAA venues, Canal Towne Emporium, Bashakill Vineyards, Morgan Outdoors in Hurleyville.
The Bashakill gratefully recognizes Susan O’Neill’s ongoing dedication as our public relations guru, writing and distributing all press releases. Special thanks to Bill Lucas for continuing as BKAA email coordinator and to Samara Ferris and Monique Lipton for facilitating email processes.
Hudsonia’s ecological consultants, Chris Graham and Erik Kiviat greatly assisted BKAA advocacy with DRS via their invaluable preliminary biodiversity assessment.
Consulting attorney John Lyons reviewed BKAA legal documents with Community Foundation of Orange and Sullivan, thus facilitating creation of a charitable endowment.
Consulting Engineer Andy Willingham ably helped the BKAA obtain critical Crescent Heights map sets.
Jackie Broder, President