Formed to conserve, protect and restore the trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds in the State of New York.

Join the Sierra Club in the protection of our precious Wetlands. Find out more in this PDF document.

Council Newsletter Online

State Council Calendar

March 12 - Executive Board Meeting
9:00 AM at the Comfort Inn in Binghamton.

June 2 - Executive Committee Meeting

9:00 PM at the Catskill Flyfishing Center and Museum in Livingston Manor.

June 3 - General Council Meeting
9:00 AM at the Rockland House in Roscoe.

June 25 & 26 - Free fishing weekend. No license required. Great time to introduce a child or friend to fishing at

July 22 - Award submissions due. Information packet and nomination forms available here. Awards will be presented at the September meeting.

September 8, 9, 10 & 11 - National Convention in Denver, CO.

September 16 - Executive Board Meeting

8:00 PM at the Holiday Inn in Ronkonkoma, NY.

September 17 - General Council Meeting

9:00 AM at the Main House of the Connetiquot Preserve. Annual meeting and Region VP elections.

October 31 - Chapter Financial Reports Due
Please submit reports electronically to Council Treasurer, Don Kieffer. If you are unable to file electronically, contact Council Chair for hard copies which you will submit back to Council for transfer to electronic format.

November 11 - Executive Committee Meeting

9:00 PM at the Altmar Fish Hatchery in Altmar, NY.

November 12 - Full Council Meeting

9:00 AM at the Altmar Fish Hatchery in Altmar, NY.

December 15 - Embrace A Stream proposals due to Council Chair.

New Data Shows Brook Trout Challenged Throughout Much of Their Eastern Range

New York Among Northeast States With Strongest Brook Trout Populations

RLINGTON, VA – Brook trout populations have been eliminated or greatly reduced throughout more than fifty percent of their historical range in New York.  These results reflect the condition of brook trout across their entire Eastern range, according to an assessment released today by Trout Unlimited and a coalition of state and federal agencies. 
“Brook trout are the canary in the coal mine when it comes to water quality,” said Gary Berti, Trout Unlimited’s Eastern Brook Trout Campaign Coordinator.  “The presence of brook trout in a watershed indicates that water quality is excellent.  Declining brook trout populations can provide an early warning that the health of an entire stream, lake or river is at risk.”

The report, “Eastern Brook Trout: Status and Threats,” is the first comprehensive assessment of the status of brook trout in the Eastern United States.  These beautiful fish historically thrived in rivers and streams stretching from Maine to South Carolina ten mile, but in many cases land use and other pressures have relegated the remaining isolated populations to the headwaters of high elevation streams. 

Even with the decline, New York is among the Northeast states with the strongest brook trout populations.  The state’s intact populations occur mostly in the Adirondack Park, Tug Hill Plateau, and in the Catskills.  Brook trout have been eliminated from almost 25% of their historical range in New York, and they are greatly reduced in another 27% of the watersheds that formerly supported brook trout. 

“While these results are sobering, we are already pursuing many opportunities for conservation of remaining high-quality habitat as well as restoration of brook trout populations,” said Jim Daley, Coldwater Unit Leader, New York Department of Environmental Conservation.  “Our collective challenge is to protect the best remaining habitat and restore as much of the rest as we can.”

“Brookies are quick to respond to positive environmental improvements,” explained John Braico, the brook trout coordinator for Trout Unlimited’s New York Council.  “We’ve already seen good results from our state’s pond reclamation efforts in the Adirondacks.  As we continue these and other efforts throughout the state and region, we’ll see wild brook trout returning to our streams and ponds.  And that is great news for all of us who love to fish locally with our families and friends.” 

This assessment represents the first stage of the Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture’s collaborative efforts to restore brook trout habitat.  The Joint Venture was initiated in 2002 as a pilot program of the National Fish Habitat Initiative.  Participants include fish and wildlife agencies from 17 states, federal partners, conservation organizations and academic institutions.  The results of this assessment will be used to develop state-by-state strategies for brook trout conservation and recovery.

View the NY TU Brookie brochure here. The full report, as well as state-specific data and maps, are available at

on Urban honored with distinguished service award

Ron Urban’s extensive involvement on behalf of TU’s mission in New York earned him this year’s Distinguished Service Award from Trout Unlimited National. Currently serving as chair of the New York State Council, Ron’s TU experience includes time as a newsletter editor and president of the Catskill Chapter. He is also a member of EarthShare of New York Boat, the Great Lakes Watch and the Delaware River Flows Committee. Ron was the driving force behind a state bill that would afford better protection to New York State’s wetlands and has supported numerous conservation issues in his home state. He has also helped to rejuvenate the Upper Genesee River Chapter and launch the Tri-Lakes Chapter.

TU Delaware River Watch Update

Date:  8/12/05

The Delaware River system has been going through a difficult summer, and has been suffering from unseasonably dry and hot weather.  In addition, the factors determining releases from the system’s reservoirs have changed from week-to-week, and even from day-to-day.

Because of that situation, NY Council of TU’s Delaware River Watershed Committee (DRWC) is going to begin issuing weekly information updates.  Conditions on the Upper Delaware watershed are subject to rapid changes, any immediate threats or concerns will be passed on as part of a separate River Watch Network (RWN) alert system.  This alert system was implemented to provide up to date information on issues facing the entire Delaware River tailwater system, what TU is doing about those conditions, and what you can do as well.  

casino on the Neversink:

Developers are attempting to build a huge casino in the vicinity of 7,000 acres of New York State land along the Neversink River. The Indian tribe involved is from Wisconsin, and is Federally recognized, but is not recognized by New York State. If they buy the land, then New York State DEC will have absolutely no authority over its development or its impact on the Neversink. Contact the Governor's office and let him know how you feel about this issue

Carlls River Project

Members of Long Island TU shooting a x-section on the carlls as part of their FGR work.

Battenkill Project

Bill Wellman demonstrates his casting technique to the Greater Adirondack Resource Conservation & Development Council (GARC&D) at Wulff's Pool, site of the newly created J hook during a recent visit to the Battenkill arranged by Clearwater Chapter's Greg Cuda.

John Rieger, RC&D President, get a quick lesson in fly fishing from Bill Wellman, Region 5 VP and RC&D board member during a recent group visit to Wulff's Pool's new J hook on the Battenkill arranged by Clearwater's Greg Cuda.



Delaware River Watch Update:

Letter from NY State Council Chair to address unequal releases and draining of specific reservoirs in the system:

Commissioner Emily Lloyd

New York City Department of Environmental Protection

59-17 Junction Boulevard, 10th Floor

Corona, NY 11368

Dear Ms. Lloyd:

On behalf of the Trout Unlimited (TU), I am writing to register my objections to recent decisions by DEP regarding releases from its water supply reservoirs in the Delaware Basin. 

The health of the upper Delaware system is a critical issue for TU and its members in the Northeast.  The West Branch, East Branch, Neversink, and upper mainstem Delaware are home to some of the best wild trout fisheries in the East.  The health of these fisheries and the rivers themselves is largely dictated by releases from DEP reservoirs.

As you know, the Delaware Basin has suffered through an extremely hot, dry summer.  Since late July, the Delaware Rivermaster has called for high releases to meet the Supreme Court mandated flow target at Montague New Jersey.  DEP has chosen to meet this target almost exclusively through releases from Cannonsville reservoir.  As a result, releases from Cannonsville have been in excess of 1,000 cfs on many days in August and September, and Cannonsville has been drained to approximately 27 percent of capacity (as of October 5).

We recognize that this decision has been made to preserve for New York City’s consumption higher quality water in Neversink and Pepacton reservoirs.  But DEP needs to realize that its decision has significant negative consequences for the health of the upper Delaware.  DEP’s chosen course of action this year (as in previous dry periods) is to drain Cannonsville to meet the Montague target, and then shift to the other reservoirs to meet the target once Cannonsville is too low to make meaningful releases.  This means that at first the West Branch receives extraordinarily high flows, while the East Branch of the Delaware and the Neversink receive only the bare minimums.  After Cannonsville is drained, the East Branch and the Neversink receive more water, and the West Branch dwindles to the bare legal minimum (almost certainly reduced pursuant to the Delaware River Compact’s drought rules).  Ultimately, of course, if we reach full drought declarations, all releases will be severely cut back.  Draining Cannonsville can also create a series of water quality problems for both the reservoir and the West Branch, including increased turbidity, algal blooms, and phosphorus re-suspension. The decision to release water from Cannonsville is a discretionary choice by DEP. 

Although the Delaware Basin is certainly moving toward drought, the effects of this recent dry period on the West Branch, East Branch, and Neversink will ultimately have been exacerbated by DEP’s strategy for meeting the Montague flow target.  TU also recognizes New York City’s reliance on the high quality water in Pepacton and Neversink reservoirs, but it even a slight shifting of releases has the potential to delay the crisis on the West Branch, and provide benefits to the East Branch and Neversink.

 The current situation also illustrates the wastefulness and inflexibility of the Montague target.  Since the beginning of August, the driest part of a dry summer, the Montague target has required DEP to dump water, creating unnaturally high summer flows and accelerating the whole system’s plunge toward drought warning.  The wastefulness in recent weeks has been even more pronounced, as releases have hovered over 1,000 cfs, and reservoir storage has plummeted.

Although we recognize that there is little to be done in the short term, we urge DEP in coming weeks to balance Rivermaster-directed releases between Cannonsville, Pepacton, and Neversink.  This could help stave off a water quality crisis in Cannonsville if the basin does receive some rain, and will in any event at least delay it a bit.

More importantly, we urge DEP to make sure that these issues are on the table as part of the ongoing process at the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) to develop a new long-term management regime for the Upper Delaware.  The Flow Management Technical Advisory Committee will, hopefully some time this winter, decide what options for reforming the flow regime will be on the table for further evaluation and negotiation.  We urge DEP to make sure that the following issues (among a variety of others) are kept on the table and ultimately included in any agreement:

·      The Montague target must be made more flexible and rational.  If the same amount of water were delivered downstream in a more sensible way, it would greatly improve the health of the river and serve the needs of all water users.  This year, for example, Montague releases were relatively sparse through mid-July (largely because of wet conditions and hydroelectric generation in the lower basin), and the upper basin suffered as a consequence.  The upper mainstem in particular was very low and warm beginning in June through late July, and river users reported some fish kills.  Beginning in late July, the Rivermaster began calling for large releases, leading to the problems discussed above.  If the same amount of water had been released, but spread out over the whole summer instead of concentrated in August and September, the upper basin, particularly the upper mainstem, would have been far healthier.

·      The phenomenon that is occurring this year (huge releases and rapidly dropping reservoir levels triggering a drought declaration) also occurred during the 2001-02 drought.  Some mechanism needs to be developed to avoid this phenomenon.  Slightly lower Montague releases as the reservoirs drain would keep the rivers healthy and serve to delay a drought declaration.  Delaying a drought declaration by gradually cutting back on the largest Rivermaster directed releases, if done properly, has the potential to benefit water users and river health.

·      Releases need to be rationally balanced between rivers.  One of the few positive notes from the past year has been that slightly higher minimum flow targets (begun in 2004) have kept the East Branch and the Neversink in much better shape than they have been in past years.  DEC is currently doing studies to quantify the benefits of higher flows on these tributaries.  We recognize that Pepacton and Neversink provide better drinking water, and are harder to refill.  Nonetheless, as the Supreme Court decree parties move to develop a long-term flow agreement, they need to include some mechanism for balancing releases between all three tributaries to protect overall river health and the health of each of these fisheries.

Please contact me if you have any questions about these concerns.  Representatives of TU’s New York Council would be happy to meet with you to discuss our concerns about the upper Delaware further.


Ronald Urban, Chairman

cc: Denise Sheehan, Acting Commissioner, NYDEC

Cuddebackville Dam structures demolished to improve the habitat for fish and mussels

Nature Conservancy Press Release

CUDDEBACKVILLE, NY - The Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced today the demolition of one of the two structures that make up the Cuddebackville Dam on New York's Neversink River. The removal of the Cuddebackville Dam will mark the first dam removal in New York history for environmental restoration purposes.

The Conservancy and Army Corps are removing the dam to improve the habitat for migratory fish, endangered mussels and resident fish. In addition to restoring disrupted habitat, the project will eliminate a public safety hazard and launch a monitoring program that will survey the effects that removing a small dam has on upstream and downstream biological communities.

Urgent Appeal

We all have those special needs in our chapters. But, there is a need to help NY Council affiliate chapters Ashokan/Pepacton and Catskill Mountains. They have endured tremendous financial outpourings for the battles facing the upper Catskill Mountains and developments along with the current Esopus Creek Litigation.

Individually or your chapters, please consider donations to the environmental causes they are facing. There is a need to have a sufficient fund to continue the current Belleayre Crossroads Coalition with their consultants. Would you make a donation today to:

Catskills Opposition Fund
PO Box 1487
Kingston, NY 12402