April 23, 2006


Seedlings planted to restore Fishkill Creek balance

By Dan Shapley
Poughkeepsie Journal

Photo courtesy of Fred Robbins
Volunteers with the Fishkill Creek Watershed Committee
planted seedlings along the banks of the Fishkill Creek
Friday. Left to right are Keith Coultis, Richard Dennison,
Judy Lacombe and Cathy Wieck.

Eight volunteers turned out Friday to plant tree seedlings along the Fishkill Creek, as part of the The Fishkill Creek Watershed Committee's ongoing effort to protect and restore the creek.

The seedlings included silky dogwoods, buttonbush and willows.

In the years to come, their branches will overspread the creek, shading the water so it remains cool enough for cold-water species such as trout. Their roots will hold tight to the earth to keep it from eroding. And as they take up water and nutrients, they will help to filter some pollutants from the land before they reach the creek. The area will also provide habitat for wildlife.

The 193-square-mile Fishkill Creek Watershed includes the 35-mile-long Fishkill Creek, as well as all the streams that feed it. The creek drains water from 338 miles of streams in 11 southern Dutchess municipalities and three Putnam County towns before spilling into the Hudson at Dennings Point in Beacon.

The Natural Resources Management Plan for the Fishkill Creek Watershed identified loss of native vegetation along its banks as one of the chief concerns.

"That's one of the things we hope to do is raise awareness with the fact that it is not environmentally sound to cut down all the vegetation along the stream bank, and a lawn is not an adequate riparian buffer," committee chairman Rick Oestrike said. Riparian means streamside.

The symptom is common to many of the Hudson Valley's streams as development clears land for new homes, or homeowners clear their land to improve the view.

The group planted trees at the homes of Catherine Wieck and Keith and Diane Coultis, on Creek Bend Road [in East Fishkill]. Their interest in planting trees demonstrates that there is more than one way to love a creek.

Wieck got involved because she was concerned about a deterioration in the quality of the creek in the 35 years she's lived there. And she still has a view.

"I leave a small window of a view with low-growing shrubs, with the rest being higher so that even though it's not terribly high in front, it's still protected," Wieck said.

How to help

Volunteers with the Fishkill Creek Watershed Committee will plant more seedlings today at 1 p.m. at the Dalton Farms well field in the Town of Beekman, rain or shine. Call Committee Chairman Rick Oestrike for information at 845-452-1267. Landowners who have cleared land along streams in the Fishkill Creek Watershed can also call to get help replanting in the coming years.

On the Web

Fishkill Creek Watershed Committee: [FishkillCreekWatershed.org]

Copyright 2006, Poughkeepsie Journal. Reprinted with Permission.
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