Welcome to the Disaster Preparedness and Recovery webpage. The Town of Olive, in conjunction with the Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Ulster County has developed a bank of resources to help prepare yourself, your family, your neighborhood, and your community.
As the impacts of climate change become more intense, it has become evident that disasters don't plan ahead, but you can! Disasters can occur unexpectedly and have devastating consequences for individuals and communities. In these situations, it is crucial to have a plan in place to minimize the impact of the disaster and recover as quickly as possible.
This webpage provides resources and information to help you prepare for disasters and emergencies. It covers a range of topics, from developing a family emergency plan to the multi-faceted relationship between climate change and natural disasters. We also provide information on what to do during and after a disaster, including how to access emergency services and how to start the recovery process.
Our goal is to empower individuals and communities to take proactive steps to reduce the impact of disasters and emergencies. By preparing in advance, we can better protect ourselves, our families, and our communities. We encourage you to explore the resources available on this webpage and take the necessary steps to be prepared for the unexpected.
Community Notification System
When an emergency strikes, it's important to be in the know. For access to urgent alerts, visit the Town of Olive public emergency alert system and subscribe to local e-alerts related to weather events and more. The system is intended to be used for emergency alerts, as well as non-emergency notifications.
You can sign-up for emergency alerts and other non-emergency notifications from the Town of Olive. Please pay attention to other sources of information including the Town of Olive website and social media. Emergency Alerts could be related to specific hazards that require some kind of action be taken such as evacuation, shelter in place, etc.
NOTE: CivicReady will not be used for electric power outages and service-related messages. Please sign up through Central Hudson to receive electric service-related messages. If you wish to report downed utility wires, please call 911.
The Integrated Public Alert & Warning System (IPAWS) is FEMA's national system for local alerting that Ulster County can access and use. IPAWS can assist in providing authenticated emergency and life-saving information to the public through mobile phones using Wireless Emergency Alerts, to radio and television via the Emergency Alert System, and on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Weather Radio when there is a disaster or emergency incident that warrants public notification.
To learn more about IPAWS, visit FEMA.gov.
New Yorkers can subscribe to NY-Alert to receive critical information and emergency alerts on what is happening in their area. NY-Alert contains critical, emergency-related information including instructions and recommendations in real-time by emergency personnel. Information may include severe weather warnings, significant highway closures, hazardous material spills, and other emergency conditions.
All areas of New York State are included in the system, and you can decide which area you would like to receive alerts about.
The New York Extension Disaster Education Network (NY EDEN) is a collaborative educational network based at Cornell University and dedicated to educating New York residents about preventing, preparing for and recovering from emergencies and disasters. Utilizing an aggregated collection of research-based guidelines and best practices aggregated from across the national Extension network, NY EDEN provides communication outreach on these critical and timely subjects through their website as well as its Facebook and Twitter social media channels.
NY EDEN is affiliated with the national USDA Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN). EDEN is a national organization of land-grant universities that links Extension educators from across the United States and throughout various disciplines, enabling them to develop and use resources to reduce the impact of disasters.
Please visit the Ulster County Department of Emergency Services webpage on updated road closure information. The list includes locations where the roads are shut down or traffic is currently being affected due to traffic hazards or weather. This list is constantly changing. The county will provide updates to this list throughout the day.
Stream Gage Monitoring
Stream gages indicate water levels and serve as an indicator of drought or flooding. Understanding gage information will be an important tool with increasing fluctuations in weather patterns.
Emergency management and services personnel, as well as citizens, can access daily water level readings from the following websites:
United States Geological Survey (USGS) National Water Dashboard
The gages in the surrounding streams can provide important data relating to residents and the safety of their homes. Use this interactive map to learn more about discharge, turbidity, and more.
The USGS Mobile Water Data site highlights USGS current conditions water data in a mobile-friendly website, allowing users to monitor conditions at a favorite river or stream or locate nearby monitoring locations.
Use the links below for information on stream gage locations relevant to Town of Olive residents.
National Weather Service Advanced Hydraulic Prediction Service
You can also visit the National Weather Service webpage for direct access to local information pertaining to the Town of Olive.
The Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service provided by the National Weather Service is a helpful tool to evaluate current stream conditions. The USGS stream gage on the Esopus Creek at Coldbrook will be most relevant for Olive residents. The page titled, “Probability information” has several tools to predict short term (1-10 days) flood risks.
Here is a short breakdown on translating the Coldbrook gage height (height of the stream) into relevant stream conditions:
- 22 ft - Boiceville business district underwater.
- 21 ft - Water reaches Route 28.
- 18 ft - Water reaches trailer park in Phoenicia. Roads and bridges washed out.
- 16 ft - Water reaches roads.
- 11 ft - Flood stage. Water begins to overflow banks above Ashokan Reservoir with little damage.
- 10 ft - The river is about a foot below bankfull.
Note that your local conditions may vary considerably from stream conditions at Coldbrook.
Ask neighbors and town officials for information on past flood history at your location. Another strategy is to monitor the Coldbrook gage height in a variety of conditions and relate that measurement to visual observations of your local stream. How does the stream look after a few days of consistent rain? How does the stream look after weeks of no rain followed by a large rain event? Relating your visual observations to gage height measurement leads to a better understanding of how local streams respond to rain events.
Emergency Assistance and Shelters
During an emergency or natural disaster, emergency shelters play a critical role in ensuring the safety, well-being, and survival of affected individuals and communities. These shelters provide a safe haven for those displaced or at risk, offering temporary refuge, basic necessities, and essential services. They offer protection from immediate threats, such as extreme weather conditions, and help mitigate the potential impact of the disaster on vulnerable populations. Emergency shelters also facilitate coordination and support from relief agencies, enabling the efficient distribution of food, water, medical assistance, and emotional support.
For access to information pertaining to Ulster County Emergency shelters, visit the Ulster County shelter and center page. The site will be updated when a shelter or center is opened in Ulster County.
You can also visit the Red Cross Shelter Map to discover open shelters that are operated by the Red Cross or partner agencies.
Warming and Cooling Centers
Extreme cold weather events such as blizzards are becoming more likely in the Northeast and are predicted to increase in intensity despite rising temperatures and shortened winters. Warming centers can ensure your safety and prevent exposure to dangerous and inclement weather.
The Town of Olive has warming centers in select locations that are open when the need has been determined by the organization operating the center. All have generator power, heat, and electricity.
The Olive Free Library located on Route 28A in West Shokan will often open with limited hours as a warming center.
Olive firehouses will often open as warming centers on an as needed basis. Most facilities have potable water available for people if they bring closable containers. All facilities have electric for device charging but residents are advised to bring a charger and adaptor for portable devices. To visit their web site, click here: Olive Fire Dept.
All locations can be found below:
- Olivebridge Fire House
Company #1 (Central House)
9 Mill Road
Olivebridge, NY 12461
- Shokan Fire House
3064 Route 28
Shokan, NY 12481
- West Shokan Fire House
53 Watson Hollow Road
West Shokan, NY 12494
- Samsonville Fire House
1578 County Road 2
Olivebridge, NY 12461
- Boiceville Fire House
4067 Route 28
Boiceville, NY 12412
Law Enforcement agencies or any other organizations that come in contact with or become aware of any individuals that need shelter can bring them to the warming center. Warming Centers will open when there is a temperature that drops below 32 degrees.
Location: 2nda Iglesias La Misión Church, 80 Elmendorf St, Kingston
Warming Center Transportation: UCAT 845-340-3333
Planning for extreme heat is critical for ensuring the long-term resilience of a community and reducing the number of deaths and hospitalizations that occur during high-heat events. Cooling centers are air-conditioned spaces where the public can cool down. Air-conditioned libraries, supermarkets, and malls are great places in the community to get cool. Shaded areas of local and state parks or swimming facilities like community pools and beaches are also places you can go to get cool during the summer heat.
The Olive Free Library located on Route 28A in West Shokan will often open with limited hours as a cooling center.
Residents may also consider visiting local parks equipped with swimming pools and pavilions to cool off during less extreme heat events:
- Lester S. Davis Park
45 Watson Hollow Road
West Shokan, NY 12494
- Services include: Swimming Pool, Rest Rooms, Pavilion
- Grant Avery Park
39 Bostock Road
Shokan, NY 12481
- Services include: Rest Rooms, Pavilion
- Olivebridge Park (Tongore Park)
County Route 213
Olivebridge, NY 12461
- Services include: Pavilion
- *Please note that there is no running water at this location.
Law Enforcement agencies or any other organizations that come in contact with or become aware of any individuals that need shelter can bring them to the warming center. Cooling Centers will open when there are 3 or more consecutive days above 90 degrees.
Location: 2nda Iglesias La Misión Church, 80 Elmendorf St, Kingston
Cooling Center Transportation: UCAT 845-340-3333
During and after an emergency, residents are encouraged to utilize food pantries. These resources play a vital role in providing essential nourishment to individuals and families facing food insecurity during challenging times. Food pantries help bridge the gap when access to regular food supplies is disrupted or limited due to emergencies such as natural disasters. They offer a lifeline by distributing donated food items and groceries to those in need, ensuring that nobody goes hungry.
You can also reference this map of Ulster County Food Pantries, Meal Programs and UCAT bus lines, developed & maintained by UlsterCorps & Family of Woodstock.
Food and Water Safety
In the event of an emergency or disaster, access to food, water, and electricity may be limited or scarce. Prepare for yourself and your family by storing emergency food and water supplies.
During an emergency situation, it's important to take steps to ensure that the food you consume is safe to eat. Here are some food safety and storage tips to follow during and after an emergency:
- Keep food at safe temperatures: Keep perishable foods such as meat, poultry, seafood, and dairy products refrigerated at a temperature below 40°F. If there is a power outage, try to keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature. Use a thermometer to check the temperature inside the refrigerator and freezer when power is restored.
- Use food within recommended timeframes: Check the expiration dates on your food items, and use them within the recommended timeframe. If you are unsure whether a particular food is still safe to eat, use your senses to check for any unusual odors, colors, or textures.
- Store food properly: Keep food stored in airtight containers or packaging to prevent contamination from pests and bacteria. Avoid storing food near chemicals, cleaning supplies, or other hazardous materials.
- Use clean utensils and surfaces: During an emergency, it's important to use clean utensils and surfaces to prepare and handle food. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, and use clean cutting boards, knives, and other utensils.
- Cook food thoroughly: Cook all meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs to the proper temperature to kill any harmful bacteria. Use a meat thermometer to ensure that the internal temperature of cooked food reaches at least 165°F.
- Use safe water: Use only safe, clean water for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. If you are unsure about the safety of your water supply, boil it for at least one minute before use.
- Discard any questionable food: If you suspect that any food may be contaminated, discard it immediately. Don't take any chances with food safety, especially during an emergency situation.
- Familiar foods are important and create a feeling of security in times of stress. Try to include foods that you and your family will enjoy and that are also high in calories and nutrition. Foods that require no refrigeration, water, special preparation, or cooking are best.
For more questions about food safety, contact the USDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) to talk to a food safety expert or chat live at ask.usda.gov from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.
Water safety and storage are critical during an emergency. Here are some tips and resources to help you ensure that you have safe and clean drinking water before, during, and after an emergency:
- Store enough water: It's recommended to store at least one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days. Store water in clean, airtight containers, and label them with the date they were filled.
- Rotate stored water: If you're storing water for an extended period, rotate it every six months to keep it fresh.
- Learn how to purify water: Learn how to purify water in case your stored water runs out. Some methods for purifying water include boiling, using water purification tablets, and using a water filter.
- Locate emergency water sources: Identify sources of water that you can access in an emergency, such as a nearby lake, river, or well.
- Use safe water sources: If your regular water supply is compromised, use your stored water or find a safe water source to use. Boil or treat any water from an unknown source before drinking it.
- Avoid contaminated water: Do not drink water that has a strange color, odor, or taste. Also, avoid water that may be contaminated by chemicals, sewage, or other hazardous materials.
- Collect and store rainwater: You can also collect rainwater during an emergency. Place a clean container outside to collect the rainwater.
- Check for safety: Check with your local authorities to see if your water supply is safe to drink. Listen to news reports and follow any instructions from local officials.
- Purify water: If your water supply is not safe, use a water purification method to make it safe for consumption.
- Dispose of contaminated water: If you suspect that any water may be contaminated, do not use it for any purpose. Dispose of it properly.
Resources for food and water safety/storage:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - Emergency Water Supply Preparation
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) - Water
- American Red Cross - Water Storage
Electrical/Gas Outages & Water/Bagged Ice
Power outages may become more frequent with increased storm intensities due to climate change. Stay informed on outages by using the Central Hudson Interactive Outage Map. In the event of a gas-related emergency, call 911 to contact the local fire department. For information regarding electric and natural gas safety, visit https://www.cenhud.com/Safety.
In the event of an emergency, Central Hudson will also distribute dry ice and bottled water to customers in need.
Customers can stay informed of storm and restoration conditions in the following ways:
- By text messaging: Customers should enroll in Central Hudson’s Texting Program to use text messaging to report their power condition and to obtain repair status. To enroll, visit CentralHudson.com/Alerts or text REG to 236483
- On the Web: Visit CentralHudson.com/Storms to report outages and obtain restoration updates
- Via smartphones: Updated free Central Hudson mobile applications are available for Android and Apple devices by logging onto www.cenhud.com/mobileapp.
- Through social media: “Like” Central Hudson on Facebook (Facebook.com/CentralHudson) and “Follow” on Twitter (Twitter.com/CentralHudson)
- By phone: Call the Central Hudson PowerLine at (845) 452-2700 or 1-800-527-2714, and please use the automated system to report or monitor your power condition.
- If a member of your household needs electricity to operate life-sustaining equipment, please contact customer service at (845) 452-2700.
Power Line Safety
Downed power lines can be extremely dangerous and can cause severe injury or death. Here is some detailed information and resources on how to stay safe when there are downed power lines after a storm:
- Stay away from downed power lines: Always assume that any downed power line is energized and dangerous. Stay at least 10 feet away from the downed line and anything that it may be touching.
- Avoid contact with anything in contact with the downed line: If a power line has fallen on a car, fence, or tree, avoid touching these objects as they may be energized.
- Never attempt to move a downed power line: Only trained professionals should handle downed power lines. If you see a downed power line, call your local power company or emergency services immediately.
- If you're in a vehicle that encounters a downed power line: Stay inside the vehicle and wait for help to arrive. If you must exit the vehicle, jump out with both feet together, landing on the ground without touching the vehicle and the ground at the same time. Shuffle away from the vehicle, always keeping your feet close together and on the ground.
- Report downed power lines: If you see a downed power line, report it to your local power company or emergency services immediately.
- Central Hudson – Electrical Safety
- Electrical Safety Foundation International - Downed Power Lines
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Power Outages
- Ready.gov – Power Outages
In the event of an electric failure, generators are typically used as a source of secondary power. Unfortunately, this emergency equipment can present serious health and safety concerns. The following information is sourced from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Red Cross, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The primary hazards that arise when using a generator include:
Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning
- Never use a generator inside a closed space, including but not limited to, homes, garages, basements, crawlspaces, or any partially enclosed area.
- Ensure devices are outdoors and are kept away from doors, windows, and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to circulate indoors. Follow manufacturer’s recommendations on exact distance specifications.
- CO cannot be seen or smelled, leading to incapacitation or death. Do not attempt to use fans, open doors, or windows to allow for air flow. Rather, if you begin to feel sick, dizzy, or weak – get to fresh air immediately and seek medical attention. Do not re-enter the area until it is determined to be safe by trained and properly equipped personnel.
- Install CO alarms in central locations with your home. Test batteries frequently and replace when necessary. Ensure alarms are located on every level and in close vicinity to sleeping areas to ensure proper warning of accumulating carbon monoxide.
- Generators increase in temperature while running and may remain hot even after they are stopped. Ensure proper cool off time before refueling, relocating the generator or placing objects nearby.
- Generator fuels (gasoline, kerosene, etc.) are flammable and will ignite when spilled on a hot engine part. All fuels should be stored in containers with proper designs, ventilation, and labeling for contents. Fuels should NOT be stored in the home.
- An increase in voltage or a surge to outside power lines can occur when hooking your generator directly into your home power supply. This action could lead to potential injuries or electrocution of utility linemen but may also bypass circuit protection devices, resulting in a surge electricity leading to major injury or death.
- Generator safety video (Includes American Sign Language (ASL) translation)
- How to operate a generator
- CDC carbon monoxide video or call 800-232-4636
Electric Car Charging Stations
In the event of an emergency, visit NYSERDA’s Electric Vehicle Station Locator to find nearby electric charging station locations. The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC) provides up-to-date information on alternative fueling station locations.
Pets and Livestock
The best way to protect your household from the effects of a disaster is to have a disaster plan. If you are a pet or livestock owner, that plan must include your pets and livestock. Proper planning and preparedness measures, such as creating emergency kits, securing shelter, and identifying evacuation routes, can help safeguard our pets and livestock.
Your pets are important members of your family, so they need to be included in your family’s emergency plan.
- Visit ready.gov/pets for more information and resources.
- Learn how to prepare a disaster plan for your pet by visiting AmericanHumane.org.
- Create a pet emergency preparedness kit.
- The Ulster County Animal Response Team (UCART) can also offer humane care and treatment of animals in case of a disaster or other situations that cause animal suffering by rescuing, relocating, fostering, etc.; and will assist in protecting public health concerns where humans and animals interact.
- Cold Weather Pet Safety by the American Veterinary Medical Association: Resources and steps to take to keep a variety of different pets safe during winter weather.
- Pets and Disasters from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC): How to make a disaster plan and evacuation kit and information on sheltering in place or sheltering during an evacuation.
- Pet-friendly lodging information is available from petswelcome.com.
- Animals in Evacuation Shelters: Many shelters cannot accommodate pets; this page from the CDC covers ways to minimize health risks if animals are housed in a public evacuation shelter.
- Protecting Pets and Livestock from Wildfire Smoke.
Livestock play critical roles in agriculture and food production. Safeguarding them during emergencies helps sustain our communities and the broader economy. Consider the following tips when learning how to protect your livestock during an emergency:
- Sign up for the Cornell Cooperative Extension Ulster County Agriculture and Horticulture Newsletter for updates and information on livestock and more!
- Do you have a plan for your livestock should disaster strike? Use this checklist to prepare.
- Keep identification and medical records handy, including vaccination records, ownership information, and any special instructions or requirements for each animal.
- Stay up to date on emerging diseases at the Animal Health Diagnostic Center and via the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.
- Dairy and Livestock Farm: Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Guide
- Learn about caring for livestock after a disaster.
- What do you do if you lost livestock in a climate disaster? Click here for information on the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) and here for a complete list of Disaster Assistance Programs.
- New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets (NYSDAM) is the official source of information for agriculture which includes the animal industry division.
- Protecting Pets and Livestock from Wildfire Smoke.
During and after a natural disaster or emergency in rural areas, when residents don't have access to cell service, internet, or power, it is crucial to follow specific steps to ensure their safety and well-being.
During the Natural Disaster/Emergency:
- Seek Shelter: Move to the sturdiest and safest part of your home or to a designated community shelter to protect yourself from the immediate threats of the disaster.
- Stay Informed: Use battery-operated radios to tune in to local news and emergency channels for updates on the situation and instructions from authorities.
- Stay Put: Avoid going outside during the disaster unless absolutely necessary. Wait until the immediate danger has passed before attempting to leave your shelter.
- Preserve Resources: Conserve food, water, and other essential supplies to ensure you have enough to sustain yourself until assistance arrives.
After the Natural Disaster/Emergency:
- Check for Injuries: Administer basic first aid to yourself and others if needed. Seek medical attention for serious injuries as soon as possible.
- Assess Your Surroundings: Look for hazards like downed power lines, debris, or damaged structures before moving. Be cautious and avoid dangerous areas.
- Contact Loved Ones: Use alternative communication methods like two-way radios or messages through trusted neighbors to check on family and friends.
- Local Community Support: Participate in local recovery efforts, such as clearing debris and helping neighbors in need. Community support can be invaluable in these situations.
- Report Emergencies: If you encounter life-threatening situations or require urgent assistance, use any means available to reach out to emergency services or authorities.
- Seek Community Gathering Points: Local community centers, churches, or other public spaces may serve as gathering points for information, aid, and support.
- Access Local Resources: Engage with local authorities and relief organizations that may be providing aid and assistance to residents in the area.
- Document Damages: Take photos or videos of damages to your property for insurance and disaster assistance purposes.
- Help Each Other: In rural areas, strong community bonds are vital. Work together to share resources, support vulnerable residents, and overcome the challenges brought by the disaster.
Remember that during natural disasters and emergencies, local communities often come together to help each other. Staying connected and assisting one another can make a significant difference in coping with the aftermath of the disaster.
Post Emergency Resources
For post-emergency assistance services, visit the Hudson Valley Red Cross webpage to learn more.
For general advice on steps to take after disaster strikes in order to begin getting your home, your community, and your life back to normal, visit Ready.gov.
After a natural disaster, several mental health resources are available to help individuals and communities cope with the emotional and psychological impact of the event.
- Disaster Distress Helpline: The Disaster Distress Helpline provides 24/7 crisis counseling and support for individuals experiencing emotional distress related to a disaster. The helpline is free, confidential, and available to everyone. You can call 1-800-985-5990 or text "TalkWithUs" to 66746 to connect with a trained counselor.
- Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program: The Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program (CCP) is a federal program that provides short-term counseling and support to individuals and communities affected by a disaster. The program is designed to help people cope with the immediate emotional and psychological effects of the disaster and can provide referrals to longer-term mental health services if needed.
- Mental Health America: Mental Health America is a national organization that provides resources and support for individuals struggling with mental health issues, including those related to a disaster. Their website offers a variety of resources, including fact sheets, guides, and tips for coping with disaster-related stress and trauma.
- Local mental health services: After a disaster, local mental health services may be available to provide counseling and support to those affected. Check with your local health department or mental health agency for information on available services.
It's essential to prioritize mental health and seek support if needed after a disaster. Remember, it's okay to ask for help, and there are resources available to support you.
Volunteering before, during, and after an emergency is an essential act of compassion, unity, and resilience. The importance of volunteering lies in its power to uplift, restore, and heal communities, fostering resilience and reminding us of the strength we possess when we come together. It is through volunteering that we demonstrate the best of humanity, showing that kindness, empathy, and solidarity can conquer any challenge that comes our way. Consider getting involved in the following opportunities or contact local organizations to find out how you can help.
You can also consider reaching out to the following organizations that may be present in your municipality:
- Faith-Based Organizations: Local churches, mosques, synagogues, or other religious institutions often mobilize volunteers in times of crisis. Reach out to them to inquire about disaster relief initiatives and how you can assist.
- Community-Based Organizations: Research and contact community-based organizations in your area that are actively involved in disaster response and recovery efforts. They may have specific volunteer needs and projects tailored to the local community.
- Social Media and Online Platforms: Utilize social media platforms and online volunteer databases to find local volunteer opportunities after a natural disaster. Websites like VolunteerMatch or Serve.gov can connect you with disaster-related volunteer opportunities in your area.
Remember to inquire about any necessary training or certifications required before volunteering in disaster-affected areas. It's also important to be patient and flexible, as volunteer needs may vary depending on the stage of the disaster response and recovery process.
Citizen Preparedness Training
The Citizen Preparedness Corps gives residents the tools and resources to prepare for any type of disaster or emergency, respond accordingly and recover as quickly as possible to pre-disaster conditions. Learn more here. For general resources related to weather emergencies, visit the NYS Department of Health's webpage.
For additional information on trainings such as the Incident Command System (ICS), National Incident Management System (NIMS) Training, FEMA Professional Development Series (PDS), and the NYS OEM Training, visit the Ulster County Department of Emergency Services webpage.
Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program
The Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program (AWSMP) is a joint effort between Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County, the Ulster County Soil and Water Conservation District, and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. The three agencies work collaboratively with municipalities and landowners to maintain the health of streams in the Ashokan Reservoir Watershed.
The program aims to improve stream stability and reduce erosion threats to water quality and infrastructure, mitigate potential damage from flooding, and enhance aquatic and riparian habitat. AWSMP works to educate and inform the community about stream stewardship best management practices and coordinates stream management activities in the watershed. Stream management plans — comprehensive evaluations of stream characteristics with recommendations and strategies for improvement — provide the basis for the program’s activities.
From the heights of Slide Mountain to the Esopus Creek valley, the Ashokan Watershed contains a diverse array of geographic features. An abundance of streams provide habitat for a variety of wildlife, many opportunities for outdoor recreation, and drinking water for nearly 10 million New York City and Hudson Valley residents. The Ashokan Watershed’s social and natural history make this area an endearing and special place to residents and visitors alike.
To learn more about the Ashokan Watershed, visit the following pages:
- Social History
- Creation of the Reservoir
- Natural History & Geology
- Physical Characteristics
- Climate & Hydrology
- Land Use & Land Cover
Streamside residents and landowners are stream managers! The Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program (AWSMP) offers help to streamside landowners with assessing stream issues and installing best management practices for streams and streambanks.
AWSMP offers residential landowners assistance with riparian buffer plantings through the Catskill Streams Buffer Initiative (CSBI). Through CSBI, landowners can receive a field visit to review problems, riparian corridor management plans, and assistance with stream buffer installation. Landowners with stream-related technical assistance needs should contact the AWSMP office at (845) 688-3047.
Get Involved with AWSMP:
AWSMP has several different committees and working groups. The members who are involved in these groups volunteer their time and expertise to help AWSMP accomplish its mission and program objectives. Please visit Working Groups and Committees to learn more and contact the program staff if you would like to be involved.
Catskill Watershed Corporation
The Catskill Watershed Corporation (CWC) was born out of the landmark January 17, 1997, New York City Watershed Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between City, State, Federal and environmental entities, the Coalition of Watershed Towns, and every Watershed municipality. The CWC is a not-for-profit Local Development Corporation which executes numerous New York City-funded environmental protection, economic development and education programs throughout the New York City Watershed West of the Hudson River.
CWC’s primary purpose is to administer protection and partnership programs necessary to preserve and support Watershed communities by strengthening the region’s economy. In recent years, multiple flood events in the New York City Watershed West of the Hudson River have prompted emergency response programs to repair roads and other infrastructure, remove stream debris and assist homeowners and businesses in the weeks and months immediately following a natural disaster. Residents are also encouraged to participate in programs related to flood resiliency and hazard mitigation to ensure proper preparedness.
To learn more about each program offering, follow the links below:
- Septic Repair and Replacement
- Stormwater Management
- Community Wastewater
- Flood Hazard Mitigation
- Economic Development
- Public Education
- Community Initiatives
Make a Plan
Disasters can happen anywhere, any time. That’s why it’s important you’re prepared. Do you have a plan for yourself, your pets, and your family? Consider the specific needs you might have in an emergency by visiting Ready.gov.
You may not be together when disaster strikes, so it’s important to know how you’ll reconnect if separated. Use this Ready.gov form to create a Family Emergency Communication Plan, which you can email as a PDF file once complete.
Useful Documents (Ready.gov):
- FEMA Online Ordering Site
- Emergency Plan for Commuters (PDF)
- Pet Owners (PDF)
- Safeguard Documents and Valuables (PDF)
- Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (PDF)
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Disaster Checklist (PDF)
Build a Kit
An emergency kit should have everything you need to survive for several days. Keeping your kit stocked with necessities like food, water, and medical care can make the difference in the face of a disaster. Visit Ready.gov to learn more.
Disaster Kit Checklist:
- First aid kit
- Local maps
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Cell phone with charger and backup battery
- Water (one gallon per person per day for several days, for drinking and sanitation)
- Food (at least a several-day supply of non-perishable food)
- Battery operated radio
- Essential medications
- Extra blankets, sleeping bag
- Personal sanitation equipment (Feminine supplies, garbage bags, moist towelettes, hand sanitizer, etc.)
- Can opener
- Pet food, water, and supplies (*If applicable)
- Infant formula and diapers (*If applicable)
How do we know we are experiencing climate change? Click here for the facts and to learn what the causes are.
- More information about how climate change affects NYS.
Climate Change and the Town of Olive
Climate change poses significant and imminent dangers to our planet and intensifies hazards such as increased flooding, increased drought, heat stress on vegetation and aquatic organisms, increased invasive species, and human population migration to northern regions. International, national, and local actions are necessary to prevent the further advancement of global warming.
Climate change has affected us in Olive in some of the following ways:
- Larger storm events with heavier winds causing property damage, and eroding streambanks. Major flooding after large storm events.
- Increase in droughts resulting in diminished well capacity and negative environmental effects on ecological systems.
- Changes in seasonal temperatures that affect maple syrup production.
- Devastation of ash trees by the emerald ash borer negatively impacting effective forest management.
- Increase in the presence of invasive species that crowd out local plants and vegetation.
- Increase in water temperatures causing harm to the health and habitat of aquatic organisms.
*Please note: The Town of Olive has developed a Comprehensive Emergency Response Plan to utilize in the event of an emergency. The town is also collaborating with the Ulster County Division of Emergency Management to contribute updated and relevant information to the Ulster County Multijurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan.
The Town Board of Olive re-formed the Olive Conservation Advisory Council (OCAC) in 2015. The OCAC’s mission is to help the Town Board, the Planning Board, and the Zoning Board of Appeals make informed decisions about residential and commercial development. By gathering vital information about environmental conservation and protection of our natural resources, the OCAC helps town decision-makers to balance future development with the desire to preserve the natural beauty that makes our town special.
The Town of Olive, often with the advisement of the OCAC and Olive Highway Department, has responded to the effects of climate change in the following ways:
- Partnered with various local conservation groups to spread information on climate change mitigation.
- Completed a Government Operations Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory to assess our current greenhouse emissions.
- Completed a town-owned building energy audit to assess energy loss and consumption.
- Completed a municipal government fleet inventory to understand the emissions from the town vehicle inventory.
- Installed a solar array on the Town Office building to offset energy use.
- Created a Natural Resource Inventory (NRI) to document the natural environment and ecology of the town.
- Established stream-crossing culvert projects to repair and increase the size of culverts to ensure proper preparation for larger storm events.
- Conducted free educational seminars for residents to learn more about climate related issues such as energy conservation and solar installations.
- Participated in the New York City funded Flood Buy-out Program to allow flood-prone property owners the ability to relocate out of the floodplain in Boiceville.
- Participate in the NYS Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) Clean Energy Communities (CEC) Program.
- Participate in the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Climate Smart Communities (CSC) Program.
- Eliminated the regular use of Roundup on town properties.
- Schedule annual mowing of town right-of-ways to best align with pollinator seasons.
- Enacted legislation to allow town participation in a Community Choice Aggregation program.
- Participated in the Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program (AWSMP) to assess stream conditions and implement strategies to preserve stream vitality and prevent stream erosion and hazards.
- Identifying Critical Environmental Areas in the town to assist the Town Board, Planning Board, and Zoning Board of Appeals in land use decisions.
Invasive Species and Climate Change
Invasive species and climate change are two major global environmental issues that are closely interconnected. Climate change can create new habitats or alter existing ones, which can make it easier for invasive species to establish and spread. In turn, invasive species can exacerbate the impacts of climate change by altering ecosystems, reducing biodiversity, and damaging infrastructure.
For example, as temperatures warm, some invasive species that were once confined to tropical or subtropical regions may be able to survive and spread into new areas. This can lead to a loss of biodiversity, as native species are outcompeted for resources. Invasive species can also alter ecosystems by changing the frequency and intensity of fires, reducing soil quality, and impacting water resources. Moreover, invasive species can also contribute to climate change by releasing large amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. For instance, the invasive plant species known as purple loosestrife can cause significant carbon emissions by outcompeting native vegetation and reducing carbon sequestration.
Invasive Species in the Hudson Valley and Catskills Regions:
The Hudson Valley and Catskills regions of New York are home to several invasive species, which can cause harm to native ecosystems and biodiversity.
Here are a few examples:
- Japanese Knotweed: Japanese Knotweed is a tall, fast-growing plant that can quickly overtake native vegetation. It forms dense thickets that can block waterways and alter the ecosystem. It is prevalent in the Hudson Valley and Catskills regions, and its control and removal can be challenging.
- Emerald Ash Borer: The Emerald Ash Borer is a small, metallic green beetle that feeds on and kills ash trees. It is a significant threat to the ash tree population in the region, and efforts are underway to control its spread.
- Spotted Lanternfly: The Spotted Lanternfly is an invasive insect that feeds on the sap of plants, causing damage to fruit trees, grapevines, and hardwood trees. It was first detected in the region in 2020 and is considered a significant threat to agriculture.
- Mile-a-Minute Vine: The Mile-a-Minute Vine is a fast-growing, invasive vine that can smother native vegetation and alter the ecosystem. It has spiky stems covered in barbs that can make it difficult to control and remove.
- Zebra Mussel: Zebra Mussels are small, freshwater mollusks that can attach to and damage water infrastructure, boats, and other structures. They can also outcompete native species for resources and alter the ecosystem. They were first detected in the region in the early 2000s and have since spread to several waterways in the Hudson Valley and Catskills regions.
Efforts are underway to control and prevent the spread of these and other invasive species in the region. Community members can help by learning to identify invasive species, reporting sightings to local authorities, and taking steps to prevent the introduction and spread of invasive species, such as cleaning boats and equipment before entering waterways.
- New York Invasive Species Information: This website provides comprehensive information about invasive species in New York, including identification, management, and prevention strategies. It also offers a variety of educational resources, such as videos, posters, and fact sheets.
- New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC): The DEC is responsible for managing and protecting New York's natural resources, including invasive species. Their website offers a wealth of information about invasive species, including an identification guide, a list of prohibited and regulated species, and information about management and control.
- NY iMapInvasives: This is an online mapping tool that allows users to report and track invasive species sightings. It is a collaborative effort between government agencies, non-profit organizations, and citizen scientists, and is designed to help identify and manage invasive species populations. Community members can use the tool to report invasive species sightings in their area and contribute to the overall effort to combat invasive species in New York.
- New York Natural Heritage Program (NYNHP): NYNHP works to facilitate the conservation of New York’s biodiversity by providing comprehensive information and scientific expertise on rare species and natural ecosystems to resource managers and other conservation partners.
- Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership (CRISP): CRISP promotes education, prevention, early detection and control of invasive species to limit their impact on the ecosystems and economies of the Catskills.
- Lower Hudson Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (LHPRISM): The Lower Hudson PRISM works to protect the biodiversity and ecosystem services of the nine counties and boroughs which make up the Lower Hudson region through a collaborative and integrated approach to invasive species management.
View the map below to discover which PRISM region you belong to:
Harmful Algal Blooms
Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) are a serious environmental issue in New York, particularly in the summer months when temperatures are warm and water levels are low. HABs are caused by an overgrowth of cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, which can produce toxins harmful to humans and animals.
HABs can occur in both freshwater and marine environments and can be triggered by a variety of factors, including warm water temperatures, excessive nutrients from sources such as agricultural and urban runoff, and changes in water chemistry. In the Hudson Valley and Catskills regions, HABs are often associated with nutrient pollution from agricultural runoff and sewage discharge, which can contribute to the growth of cyanobacteria.
HABs can have serious impacts on human and animal health. The toxins produced by cyanobacteria can cause a range of symptoms, including skin irritation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and even liver damage. In some cases, exposure to HABs can be fatal for pets and wildlife.
To address the issue of HABs in the Hudson Valley and Catskills regions, efforts are underway to reduce nutrient pollution, improve water quality monitoring and reporting, and develop early warning systems to alert the public to potential HAB outbreaks. Community members can also take steps to help prevent HABs by reducing their use of fertilizers and other sources of nutrient pollution and reporting suspected HABs to local authorities.
- New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC): The NYS DEC provides information on harmful algae blooms across the state. Their website includes updates on current blooms, health advisories, and information on how to report a bloom.
- New York State Department of Health (DOH): The DOH oversees the health, safety, and well-being of New Yorkers by utilizing new developments in science as critical tools in the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases.
- The New York State Federation of Lake Associations (NYS FOLA): NYSFOLA is a not-for-profit coalition of lake associations, individuals, and corporate members dedicated to the protection and restoration of New York lakes.
- Hudson River Watershed Alliance: The Hudson River Watershed Alliance is a network of organizations and individuals working to protect the Hudson River and its watershed. Their website includes information on harmful algae blooms, including resources for prevention and management.
- The United State Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): The mission of EPA is to protect human health and the environment by providing accurate scientific information.
With increased oceanic and atmospheric temperatures, it is likely that residents will encounter increased precipitation, heatwaves, and substantial likelihood of extreme flood events. All residents should be aware of risks and know how to find information and help when flooding occurs. Whether you live in the flood zone or not, being prepared for an emergency is important. Visit this checklist to find important information before you take steps to repair your flooded home.
To learn more about preparation for a flood and other protective actions, visit FEMA.gov.
The Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program (AWSMP) has their own Flood Emergency Preparedness fact sheet to help local residents learn more about floods and how to best prepare.
Visit FEMA's Flood Map Service Center to know types of flood risk in your area. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
View your location relative to flood zones on maps published by FEMA. Enter your address in the Ulster County Parcel Viewer and under the heading ‘Map Layers – Water Resources’ click the button for ‘FEMA Adopted Flood Hazards.’ The map identifies different flood zones that indicate the probability a flood will occur within the zone in any given year. Zone AE is called the ‘100-year flood zone’ because this zone has at least a 1% chance of being inundated by floodwaters in any given year. While that may not sound like much risk, this rarer and deeper flood has a 26% chance of occurring over the life of your 30-year mortgage. Structures within this zone may also be at risk during shallower and more frequent floods.
Homeowner’s insurance policies do NOT cover flooding. It is recommended that residents in flood-prone areas purchase or renew a flood insurance policy. Policies typically go into effect 30 days after purchase. Get flood coverage under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
For information and resources related to repairing your flooded home, visit Health.ny.gov.
Post Flood Resources:
MyCoast NY is a statewide portal used to collect and analyze photos of flooding, storm damage, and coastal change. When a photo report is submitted, it is automatically linked to data from the closest weather, river, and tidal or lake gauge to help provide context to the photo and is then posted to the website for anyone to see. Photo reports can be submitted through the app (iPhone / Android) or the website with a registered account. The three photo report types are:
- Flood Watch: Tracking flooding across the state. This includes inland and coastal flooding.
- Storm Reporter: Documenting storm damage across the state.
- Coast Snap: Capturing the changing shoreline- currently at three locations.
Use MyCoast as a repository for photos of flood and storm impacts that can help raise awareness, build political will, inform municipal planning and emergency management, and complement other data and mapping. MyCoast brings together community members, local officials, state agencies, researchers, and NGOs in sharing and using the information.
To learn more about MyCoast NY, contact Jessica Kuonen at [email protected].
How Can I Help?
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is crucial for mitigating climate change. To learn more about mitigation and adaptation strategies in response to climate change, visit NASA. Here are some strategies to achieve this through energy efficiency, renewable energy adoption, sustainable transportation choices, and waste reduction practices:
- Energy Efficiency:
- Improve insulation and weatherization of homes and buildings to reduce energy consumption. Learn more: Energy.gov - Energy Efficiency Upgrades
- Upgrade to energy-efficient appliances, lighting, and HVAC systems. Explore: ENERGY STAR.
- Receive no-cost energy advising and assistance with accessing NYS energy efficiency assistance programs through CCE Smart Energy Choices - MidHudson.
- Renewable Energy Adoption:
- Install solar panels on rooftops to generate clean, renewable electricity. Discover: New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA).
- Consider joining community solar projects to access renewable energy even if you can't install panels at your location. Find out more: New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA).
- Sustainable Transportation Choices:
- Consider purchasing an electric vehicle (EV) or hybrid vehicle to reduce emissions from transportation. Find out more: New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA).
- Waste Reduction Practices:
- Practice recycling and composting to minimize waste sent to landfills. Find recycling facilities near you:
- Reduce single-use items by opting for reusable alternatives like water bottles, shopping bags, and food containers. Learn more: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
These strategies, when adopted by individuals and communities, can significantly contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. For more information and resources on reducing emissions and sustainable practices, you can refer to organizations such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and Sustainable America.
Recognizing the negative effects of climate change is the first step in making a change. If you would like to learn more about how you can get involved in adaptation and resiliency projects related to climate change, you can contact the Olive Conservation Advisory Council for more information.
Email the Olive CAC Co-Chairs:
You can also visit the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) webpage for more information on what you can do to help.
This project was made possible by a program of Cornell Cooperative Extension Ulster County in partnership with the NYS DEC Hudson River Estuary Program, NY Water Resources Institute and Cornell University with support from the NYS Environmental Protection Fund. For more information, visit the Climate Resilience Partnership (CRP) webpage.