The Maurice D. Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center is the recipient of a grant from the Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program (AWSMP) to develop a riparian demonstration project. A riparian zone is the area immediately on both sides of a stream. Protecting riparian areas insures good water quality in the stream and a good habitat for the creatures that live in and around the stream. Improving a degraded stream side is often called creating a riparian buffer. The Catskill Interpretive Center site has an intermittent seasonal stream that runs along the back end. This site is choked with invasive plants and is subject to erosion.
The AWSMP grant will pay for restoring the riparian buffer with native plantings to check erosion and the grant also provides for a demonstration project that includes a small trail and interpretive signs to educate visitors about the importance of protecting streams and stream sides. On Saturday, September 10th just past there was an amazing event where 20 or so concerned people came together to clear the project site of the worst of the invasive plants in preparation of planning native species.
The Pull Party consisted of representative from the AWSMP, the Catskill Stream Buffer Initiative (CSBI), New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the Catskill Regional Invasive Species Program, the Catskill Interpretive Center, Ulster County Master Gardeners and a group of wonderful volunteers.
The event began with an orientation. Bobby Taylor of CSBI explained what a riparian buffer is and why the work we were about to do was so important. Bobby showed everyone examples of the invasive plants to be removed, specifically multiflora rose, barberry, and bittersweet vine. He then demonstrated the use of various tools to pull out the offending plants.
The group then went to work. Armed with tools provided by CSBI and Ian Dunn of the DEC, the group yanked, ripped and pulled with gusto. We cleared about 2 acres in 2 hours of intense but joyful work. The plant material was piled up for a future bon fire. The group then convened a lunch of pizza and salad.
After lunch the party continued with a walk around the Catskill Interpretive Center’s new History Trail. We saw many other invasive plants, such as purple loosestrife. We also talked about the history of the site and looked at the new interpretive trail wayside signs installed by the DEC.
This was a great event in that it brought together a diverse group of volunteers and organizations. Later this fall the planting of native species will begin as will the design of signage and a trail.