Watershed Planning

Watershed Planning Project Background

The Boquet River is a nationally known river that provides a salmonid fishery, scenic beauty, recreational opportunities, drinking water, rich agricultural lands, timber production, and critical habitat for a wide array of fauna and flora.  The health of the river and its watershed is important to keep all these uses active and viable.  The Boquet River is listed on the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation’s Waterbody Inventory/Priority Water-bodies List as stressed for habitat/hydrology, recreation, public bathing, aesthetics, and recreation.  Among some of the known and suspected pollutants are silt and sediment from stream bank erosion, nutrients and pathogens from agriculture and failing onsite wastewater treatment systems.  (View Maps)

The Boquet River Association (BRASS) is managing a NYS Department of State Local Waterfront Revitalization Program grant on behalf of the Town of Westport and is taking the lead to prepare a Phase I Draft Watershed Plan on behalf of the watershed communities. The Project began in 2009 and expects to finish up its Phase 1 draft by November, 2014. The draft plan includes a characterization of the watershed, analysis of local land and water use controls, and public participation.  Having a Watershed Management Plan in place demonstrates that we, as a watershed community, have a vision for our future and a roadmap to get there. Most funding agencies require that a Plan be in place to be eligible for funding to help us achieve our watershed goals.

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Watershed Planning Fact Sheet

The devastating effects of all the high water events in 2011 harshly reminded people of the damage flood waters can cause. Yet the river is not just a monster to be tamed, if such is even possible, it is also a source of joy and inspiration. Watershed management planning is the way the people of the five Townships in the Boquet River’s watershed can cooperate together to help protect our communities’ roads, bridges, businesses and homes as well as to achieve many other goals including economic development, community enhancement, government efficiency, improving recreational opportunities and restoring the environment.

The first Boquet River watershed plan was drawn up in 1984. One goal of the initial plan was to create the Boquet River Association to facilitate the achievement of the other goals in the plan. Over the years since, BRASS and its many partners have conducted scientific studies of the river, stabilized stream banks, planted hundreds of thousands of trees and bushes, and established fishing access sites, and much, much more. The original goals in the 1984 plan continue to help guide our efforts but, after 28 years, it is necessary to update the plan in order to focus our continuing efforts on what people want and need now and also to qualify for funding from sources that now require the existence of an up-to-date community-based watershed management plan.

The actual process of watershed planning begins with the creation of an Advisory Committee. The Boquet River’s Advisory Committee is made up of Town-appointed representatives from the five watershed Townships, interested and concerned residents, many local organizations and county and state agencies. The Advisory Committee acts like a steering committee to guide and inform the process. BRASS acts like the committee’s staff person. For example, BRASS will schedule the committee’s meetings, organize, publicize, and facilitate public input, take notes, gather information, organize data, and help compile and print the plan the Advisory Committee develops.

This project is funded by the New York State Department of State with funds provided under Title 11 of the Environmental Protection Fund. The grant was awarded to the Town of Westport and BRASS is managing the grant on behalf of the town.