Stormwater Project Summary
This project mitigates the harmful effects of stormwater runoff from the 4.7 acre project area in the Hamlet of Maplecrest.
Prior to implementation of the project, stormwater from the site flowed into the Batavia Kill via an undersized culvert. In order to improve stormwater conveyance, protect water quality from runoff-associated pollutants, and encourage groundwater infiltration, the project employs a stormwater wetland, rain gardens, permeable pavement, and upgraded culverts. The project also involved the demolition of a dilapidated building to reduce the amount of impervious surfaces in the area.
In addition to reducing the harmful effects of stormwater runoff from the site, this project also demonstrates "low impact development" (LID) stormwater management techniques in order to increase public understanding and appreciation of these best management practices.
Why Do We Care About Stormwater?
Contributes to flooding
Can damage buildings and infrastructure
Can increase erosion in stream channels and degrade the habitat for fish and stream insects
Carries pollutants to streams, lakes, wetlands, and ponds
The Sugar Maples Stormwater Project involved the installation of a stormwater wetland. Stormwater wetlands are often created as a stormwater management practice because of the ability of natural wetlands to remove excess nutrients, pollutants, and sediments from stormwater runoff. As stormwater flow through the wetland, pollutants are removed through settling and plant uptake. Wetlands are also home to a variety of insects, birds, and amphibians, many of which feed on mosquitoes and mosquito larvae.
Rain gardens are depressions in the ground that consist of loose, deep soils that encourage rainfall infiltration and are typically planted with native vegetation. This project employs 7 rain gardens to reduce runoff quantity and velocity by encouraging groundwater infiltration.
Unlike traditional pavement, permeable pavement allows rainwater to move vertically down through the parking surface and into the underlying soils. This project involved demolishing a dilapidated building in order to reduce the amount of impervious surfaces on the site, and the permeable grass parking area was installed on the building's footprint.
The following video highlighting the Sugar Maples Stormwater Project was shot by Kim Ackerley, Catskill Watershed Corporation Stormwater Program Specialist, on the Sugar Maples tour during their Local Government Day, October 20, 2010.
Stream Restoration Project Background
When the Sugar Maples resort was originally built, the small stream on the northeast side of County Route 56 was channelized within rock walls. As a result of being straightened, confined, and cut off from the floodplain, the water flowing through the channel had no way to dissipate its energy, causing the stream to cut down into its bed. This eventually led to the walls along the channel being undermined and collapsing. In 2009, a GCSWCD stream restoration project removed the walls, recreated a natural stream meander pattern, reconnected the stream to its floodplain, and reestablished native vegetation.
What is a Riparian Buffer?
A riparian buffer is a vegetated area (a "buffer strip") near a river or stream that protects the body of water from the negative impacts of adjacent land uses while providing many other habitat and water quality benefits. At the Sugar Maples Stream Restoration Project, student volunteers planted 250 native trees and shrubs, ~50 feet of willow fascines (bundles of live willow cuttings), 1,584 herbaceous plugs, and 340 willow stakes to help restore the riparian buffer.
Why are Riparian Buffers Important?
Slow stormwater runoff
Slow and store flood waters
Capture pollutants and excess nutrients
Protect stream banks
Regulate cool water temperatures needed for fish and aquatic life
Provide wildlife habitat and food
If you are a streamside landowner within the West-of-Hudson NYC Watershed and are interested in establishing or improving a riparian buffer on your property, check out the Catskill Streams Buffer Initiative, a program that provides funding and technical assistance to assist landowners in the protection, enhancement, management, or restoration of their streamside areas.
Why Do Stream Reaches Require Restoration?
When streams are disturbed through natural (large floods) or human-induced causes (poorly sited or designed roads, bridges, culverts, filling of floodplains, over excavation of stream channels) they will often adjust their width, depth, and position in the landscape, and often do so dramatically. These adjustments often exacerbate erosion which can threaten homes or infrastructure, as well as increase the amount of pollutants and sediments in the water.
The Sugar Maples Stormwater Retrofit and Stream Restoration Project involved a number of partners. The Greene County Soil & Water Conservation District worked in conjunction with the New York City Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) to implement this project as part of DEP's Stream Management Program. The Catskill Watershed Corporation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also provided funding for this project. The Catskill Mountain Foundation is the owner of the Sugar Maples Center for Creative Arts.
Click here for a complete stormwater project report
Click here for a complete stream restoration project report
Click here to view more information on GCSWCD's stream and floodplain restoration projects throughout the Schoharie basin