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Local News

February 24, 2014

More than 15,000 trees to be removed from watershed site

More than 15,000 trees are slated for removal from a site near the Cannonsville Reservoir, according to a media release from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. 

The forestry project aims to clean up trees that were topped or damaged during tropical storms Irene, Lee and Sandy. The damaged trees are on Houck Mountain in Beerston, just northeast of the reservoir. The project is one of several aiming to remove damaged trees from the New York City watershed. It will continue through 2015 and is the largest ever on water supply lands, according to records dating back more than four decades.  

According to the release, removing the damaged trees will help promote forest regeneration and prevent forest fires. 

“Removing fallen and damaged trees throughout the watersheds is a matter of public safety, water quality protection, and good management of our natural resources,” DEP Deputy Commissioner Paul Rush said in the release. “While we move to address storm damage, DEP also realizes that it’s important to promote healthier forests that regenerate on a regular basis, maximize the use of this important natural resource, and continue to protect water quality around our reservoirs.”

The work on Houck Mountain is one of seven timber projects on water supply lands that were awarded to qualified bidders in 2013. The project will remove black cherry and other hardwood trees comprising more than 1 million board feet of wood — more than 70 times the amount of lumber needed to frame the average single-family home.  

The harvest and salvage project becomes the largest on water supply lands, according to records dating back to 1970, surpassing a 1988 harvest at Ashokan Reservoir that removed some 849,000 board feet of red pine.

According to the release, DEP will take precautions to ensure that water quality is protected, including regular inspections for erosion and a stormwater pollution prevention plan. The use of heavy equipment can also be suspended during heavy rain to avoid rutting and erosion. 

DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than 1 billion gallons of water each day to New York City area residents from the Catskill, Delaware, and Croton watersheds. For more information, visit 

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