Erosion around Lower Esopus Creek threatens homes


Outside the back door of the DeRosa Cottage is a deck that overlooks Lower Esopus Creek and what once housed a family summer play area and a water spring teeming with wildlife.

The releases from the Ashokan Reservoir have since changed that, as their waterfront property gets way too close to the water.

The discharges dumped such large quantities of water that they washed away the shore of Lower Esopus and left the water unsuitable for swimming due to turbidity or blurring. On February 9, 2022, the New York State DEC issued a call to action for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, requiring it to “undertake additional analysis and prepare a draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) for the city’s Ashokan releases”. Tank.”

What do you want to know

  • Sandra and Tom have owned their home along Lower Esopus Creek for 30 years, seeing the effects of erosion from Ashokan Reservoir discharge.
  • NYSDEP asked NYSDEC to reevaluate the effects of Ashokan Reservoir discharges into the creek
  • About 1,300 comments were filed expressing concerns about the water quality of the creek

This came in response to a public comment period consisting of 1,300 comments, all from residents, local politicians and other stakeholders, all expressing concern about water quality in Lower Esopus. , and how this was the result of releases from the Ashokan Reservoir.

Tom DeRosa and Sandra Dickson-DeRosa were among this group, expressing concern about the changing landscape around their cottage. They married in the backyard of their cottage in 2001, just days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. They reworked several aspects of the occasion, originally planned in New York, to accommodate both the ceremony and their family.

They kept a few memories from the day, including the arch under which they said their vows, right next to the river. They remember the day fondly, looking back in pictures.

With the creek rising, however, they can’t imagine some of those images now.

It was once a playground for their daughter, and Tom and Sandra hoped it could do the same for their grandson. In the past year, a weeping willow tree that clung to the shore and hung over the water had fallen, leaving them one less swing above Esopus and one less habitat for their animals. .

Their daughter enjoyed it so much that she often appeared in her school art projects as she shared how much she loved summers at their cottage. She has since grown up, married and had a son, with whom these new grandparents want to share the stream.

“We had really hoped that he would be the next to swing off that rope and into the stream,” Sandra said.

The gradual slope of the yard also proves difficult for the couple, and they move sideways to make sure they don’t lose their footing. The once flat shoreline has been eroded over the years of liberation, leaving unstable ground upon which DeRosas’ fear will continue to be swept away.

“Now I don’t spend much time here. I’m scared of falling down a hole or whatever,” Tom said.

Sandra’s time on the shore is usually used to take materials she finds in her yard.

“That particular spot was washed away, but I was pushing a long stick and some logs behind those ropes, so every time the water came down, the sediment and mud stayed put,” Sandra said.

The effects of the rising waters even reached the foundations of their house. Their basements and foundation walls are lined with cracks in the cement, none of which existed a few years ago.

“It was just a hairline crack, and now it’s a huge, massive crack,” Sandra says, pointing to the floor. “This crack just went past the bar, and now it’s going through the entire bathroom floor.”

Either way, the family is looking to change and find their home. They are frustrated with the lack of transparency and improvements after previous studies and assessments done on the creek, and don’t see much results for residents.

“No one comes here to help us,” Sandra said.


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