A letter was approved by the Upper Delaware Council (UDC) at their December meeting to be sent to the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) supporting the "Equitable Apportionment Plan for the Delaware River System." This plan was outlined last month to the UDC by Trout Unlimited's Garth Pettinger.
This plan calls upon New York City's water managers for an equitable use of the watersheds available to the City rather than excess reliance on the Pepacton and Cannonsville reservoirs. These reservoirs draw heavily on water that would otherwise go into the Upper Delaware, where adequate flows are needed for fisheries and local economy.
Catskill and Croton Systems, meanwhile, have been underutilized.
The UDC implores the DRBC to take a thorough, technical evaluation of the Equitable Apportionment Plan (EAP) during development of the 2014 Flexible Flow Management Plan (FFMP). Utilization of the EAP is contingent on the Croton System being brought back online expected in the spring of 2014. This would be expected to add 10 percent of available water to the overall New York City water system.
At the same time, the UDC urges that a systematic protocol be used in the next FFMP to protect the sensitive cold-water fishery during the hot summers on the Upper Delaware. On March 7, the UDC passed a resolution in support of the Lordville Thermal Stress Protocol, but has not had any reply back from the DRBC.
"While we are aware that the ability to supply an adequate supply of clean drinking water to New York City is extremely important, we also point out the importance of the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court Decree in sustaining viable operations in the lower basin states," the UDC letter notes. "The proposed EAP seeks to spread the burden in an 'equitable' fashion among all decree parties and does not preclude the financial interests of one above another."
••• Other matters
• The National Park Service is conducting a Cultural Landscape Inventory on the Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River. Superintendent Sean McGuinness said that the goal is to have the Zane Grey Museum property, Roebling Bridge and towpath property and the Corwin Farm (a former D&H Canal lock house and lock off NY Route 97 south of Barryville), on the National Register of Historic Places. The designation could make funding more available to maintain the historic integrity of these sites, he said.
• The UDC is federally funded but has not had an increase in its $300,000 annual budget since inception in 1988. Currently, 29.32% of their 2014 budget has been received, which is to last through January 15 when the federal Continuing Resolution expires. Director Laurie Ramie said that hopefully Congress will pass the budget in time; in the meantime the UDC should be all right.
• Richard Eckersley presented the audit report for the 2013 Fiscal Year. He said the financial records "represent fairly what happened" and had no recommendations. He said in the event of a prolonged government shutdown, the UDC still has $89,433 on hand, representing about a third of the budget year.
Page 2 of 2 - Upper Delaware Council meets on the first Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. at the offices at 211 Bridge St., Narrowsburg, NY. For more information call 845-252-3022 or visit www.upperdelawarecouncil.org.