Sunday, May 10, 2009

Esopus Meadows Lighthouse Seeks Volunteers for Weekly Work Parties

The Friends of Esopus Meadows Lighthouse could use help on the project to restore the "Maid of the Meadows." Built in 1871 and put on the National Register of Historic Places about 100 years later, the Esopus Meadows Lighthouse is the Hudson's only remaining wooden lighthouse. (I had the good fortune to cover the story for the Poughkeepsie Journal in 2003 when the lighthouse was re-lit after 38 years of darkness.)

Work parties leave at 9 a.m. Sundays and Mondays through the warm season from Norrie Point Marina (Staatsburg, Dutchess County - enter via Norrie Point State Park from Rt. 9).

Here are additional details from The Esopus Meadows Lighthouse Website:

The normal schedule is Sundays and Mondays. The barge departs Norrie Point marina at 9 a.m. and returns at 5 p.m. Wear old clothes, bring your lunch, favorite tools and join the crew! Last minute confirmation of work schedule will be available on 845-331-4083 or 845-848-3669. The weekend plans will be recorded each Thur evening and updated should there be a last minute change due to weather or what ever. Check before departing for Norrie. Leave a message if you have questions.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Upstream, Dealing With Flooding on the Wallkill

The TH Record today has a report about steps taken (or, mostly, not taken) to address flooding on the Wallkill River, as well as the Esopus and Minisink. The Wallkill forms the western boundary of the Town of Esopus. The article focuses on efforts in the Black Dirt area of Orange County, once the nation's premiere onion-growing region and still a major agricultural center. The Black Dirt region is essentially a prehistoric swamp that's been mostly drained to create amazingly rich and productive soils ... that are also highly erodable.

One interesting point in the article:

"Since 2005, the Black Dirt has suffered three floods that models predict should happen only once every 50 years."

Note that climate scientists have predicted that global warming will result in more intense short bursts of precipitation. The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation predicts that "Rising sea levels and strong storms will cause localized floods and threaten shoreline infrastructure and development," as one local consequence of global warming (from Fact Sheet: Climate Change in the Hudson Valley, also available as a printable pdf.

In other words, this upstream problem is likely to continue to affect the Town of Esopus in the coming years, so we should keep an eye on developments with this flood-control project.