The 600-acre area around Windham Mountain Ski Center that drains to the Batavia Kill represents one of the most developed areas within the Schoharie basin. Rain and snowmelt descend from more than 3,000 feet elevation to the Ski Center, condominiums, and parking lots at the base, where (prior to the implementation of this project) there were limited or no stormwater controls. In 2006, Greene County Soil & Water Conservation District, in partnership with Ski Windham Operating Corp., Kaaterskill Associates, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection, NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation, and the Catskill Watershed Corporation, developed a phased plan to address these stormwater impacts.
In the spring of 2010, GCSWCD and Ski Windham began the construction of the first phase of the plan that addresses runoff from 16 acres of commercial land use, including the ski center’s parking areas, maintenance facility, and several identified stormwater hotspot locations. Both structural and non structural stormwater management practices have been constructed to halt existing erosion and loading from the parking areas. The treatments include the reduction of the natural slopes of the parking areas by providing terracing, resurfacing, and an improved runoff conveyance system that includes swales, deep sump catch basins, and an underground pipe network that delivers runoff to a sand filter before discharging to the snowmaking pond.
Enlargement of Windham Mountain’s snowmaking pond has increased treatment storage and will provide greater snowmaking capacity to the ski center. Fill that was removed in the pond expansion was used to create the parking lot terraces. A pond forebay (a sediment and pollutant settling area) and a new staged outlet structure have been constructed to provide water quality treatment and extended detention of stormwater runoff to meet NYCDEP and New York State SPEDES standards for new construction.
The removal of a large culvert and restoration of an adjoining tributary that drains to the Batavia Kill will enhance stream stability and improve water quality and aquatic habitat. GCSWCD also installed several stream rock structures, which have further reduced channel degradation and sediment loading to the Batavia Kill. Native riparian (streamside) vegetation has been planted to provide stability to the streambanks and enhance wildlife habitat. Additionally, GCSWCD constructed a wetland in order to mitigate the disturbance to a small (0.1 acre) existing wetland.
Soon after much of Phase I was installed, the Mountaintop was hit by two major storms. These new stormwater retrofit installations were tested by the large rain events on October 1 and December 1, 2010, but follow-up inspections by GCSWCD staff found that the retrofit project held up very well with the basic integrity of the installations being uncompromised.
In the second phase of the project, planned for 2011, improvements to maintenance buildings will be constructed, including new roofing over existing fuel pumps, and the installation of a large underground sand filter galley. These treatments will reduce the entrainment of pollutants from leaks and spills, as well as from regular maintenance and wear of the machinery from this stormwater hotspot. Long-term operation and maintenance of all implemented practices have been addressed in a plan that includes instructions, schedules, and thresholds for operation and maintenance to be conducted by Windham Mountain staff.
“Working with GCSWCD for the past several years on this exciting and important retrofit project has been a great experience. Windham Mountain is very fortunate to have the opportunity to participate and benefit from this project. We are excited about the operational benefits and believe that this will serve as a benchmark for future storm water projects in the Catskills.”
- Tim Woods, President and General Manager of Windham Mountain
“The public-private partnership is a great example of how working together we can prevent potential stormwater and erosion pollutants from reaching our water resources and maintain New York’s high quality drinking water. With these new stormwater retrofits and stream improvements, this portion of the Schoharie basin will have an updated stormwater conveyance and treatment system that will protect the water supply of millions of New Yorkers and improve the quality of life for local residents.”
- Paul Rush, NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection Deputy Commissioner
“The public-private partnership working towards a common environmental benefit is noteworthy. This is truly a win-win project.”
- GCSWCD Executive Director Jeff Flack