This site is located in the northern part of Ulster County and includes
the Ashokan reservoir and extensive surrounding forest habitat. The
reservoir is approximately 9,000 acres and is part of the New York
City water supply system, owned by the New York City Department
of Environmental Protection. Surrounding lands are generally
undisturbed beech/oak/maple and mixed pine/hemlock forest, much
of which is protected as a buffer zone for the reservoir. According to
the NY GAP land cover data, approximately 85% of the site is forested,
and includes Appalachian oak-pine, deciduous wetland, evergreen
northern hardwood, evergreen plantation, oak, and sugar maple mesic
forests. The area has been largely undisturbed since 1915.
This site has supported a nesting pair of Bald Eagles for the past ten years and hosts up to six Bald Eagles during the winter. The reservoir also serves as a stopover site for waterfowl, including an estimated 325 American Black Ducks and 50 or more Common Loons. Surrounding
woodlands support an estimated 20 pairs of breeding Red-shouldered Hawks, as well as other breeding at-risk birds, including American Black Ducks, American Woodcocks, Whip-poor-wills, Red-headed Woodpeckers, Willow Flycatchers, Wood Thrushes, Blue-winged Warblers, Prairie Warblers, and Worm-eating Warblers. Migrating at-risk species include Pied-billed Grebes (potential breeder), Ospreys,
Sharp-shinned Hawks, Cooper?s Hawks, and Peregrine Falcons. In the fall, when the reservoir is low, the site also supports shorebirds, including American Golden-Plovers, Pectoral Sandpipers, Whiterumped
Sandpipers, and Baird?s Sandpipers. Flocks of Snow Buntings
and Lapland Longspurs also use the site during the fall.
This site is listed in the 2002 Open Space Conservation Plan as a priority
site under the project name New York City Watershed Lands. The
surrounding area is under heavy development pressure, due in large
part to its close proximity to New York City. The reservoir is a major
water supply for New York City and has been protected since 1915.
It is open to fishing and there are hiking and hunting access points
surrounding the reservoir. Occasionally, logging has taken place on
the city-owned parcels. New York City?s 2001 Watershed Protection
Program Summary, Assessment, and Long-term Plan has been published.
Perhaps the most direct human impact is on nesting eagles by anglers.
Signs forbidding entry near eagle nests have been posted. Monitoring
of disturbance to eagles by anglers should continue.