West Kill Stream Management Plan

Since 1997, the Greene County Soil & Water Conservation District (GCSWCD) has been working in partnership with the New York City Department Of Environmental Protection Stream Management Program (NYCDEP-SMP) on the development of comprehensive Stream Management Plans (SMP) for streams which supply the City’s upstate reservoirs. In 2002, this process was extended to the West Kill watershed, and working with a local project advisory committee a detailed management plan for the West Kill was completed.

A sub-basin of the Schoharie Creek, the West Kill is located in the southwest section of Greene County with its origin on the southwest slopes of Hunter Mountain (4000'). The stream is approximately 11 miles long, with a contributing drainage area of 59 square miles.

Located in the Town of Lexington, the West Kill Stream has a reputation as a productive wild trout fisheries. The West Kill has benefited from cold, groundwater contributions and a fairly good riparian zone which shades the stream. The West Kills fishery was a favorite spot of noted angler and author Art Flick, who made it the subject of his writings. The Westkill Valley also has a long history of damaging floods. From a flood event in 1927 which wiped out every bridge in Spruceton valley, to more recent events in 1996 & 99 which resulted in significant instability in the stream corridor and over 5 million dollars in damages to public infrastructure.

On December 31, 2005 the GCSWCD and NYCDEP-SMP completed the first draft of the West Kill Stream Management Plan which was presented to the USEPA as a component of the City’s watershed protection program. The SMP represents the most detailed assessment of the streams physical condition that has ever been completed, and it is backed by several years of field collected data as well as extensive research and analysis of many factors which may influence stream stability.

Cover, Foreword and Table of Contents

Introduction to the West Kill Stream Management Plan

West Kill Natural and Institutional Resources

This section provides watershed background information and characteristics which influence the West Kill. A chapter on living streamside and stream related activities may be of particular interest to landowners, answering commonly asked questions, including necessary permits and agency contacts, relating to activities which may impact stream health or stability.

Regional Setting


Hydrology and Flood History


Wetlands & Floodplains

Riparian Vegetation

Land Use & Land Cover


Recreational Opportunities

Agency Contacts and Institutional Resources

Stream Related Activities and Permit Requiements


Watershed Inventory and Assessment of the West Kill

This section includes a summary of water quality assessments that have been undertaken over the years in the West Kill, an introduction to the science of stream processes, and a description of the watershed assessment protocol used to develop this stream management plan.

Water Quality Assessment

Introduction to Stream Process

Watershed Inventory and Assessment


Stream Reach Description & Recommendations
This section contains very detailed descriptions and specific recommendations for the West Kill, from the headwaters at the top of the watershed, downstream to its confluence with the Schoharie Creek, located in the Town of Lexington. The West Kill mainstem has been organized into 21 Management Units (MUs), defined using physical stream characteristics, historical channel alignments, location of bridges and road infrastructure, and valley characteristics. These MU descriptions outline stream conditions (its bed and banks), general streamside (riparian) vegetation condition, and proximity and arrangement of roads, bridges and culverts.

Management Unit Map  
Management Unit 1 (2.9 MB) Management Unit 1 Maps (2.7 MB)
Management Unit 2 (2.9 MB) Management Unit 2 Maps (2.9 MB)
Management Unit 3 (2.9 MB) Management Unit 3 Maps (3.0 MB)
Management Unit 4 (2.7 MB) Management Unit 4 Maps (3.7 MB)
Management Unit 5 (3.3 MB) Management Unit 5 Maps (3.6 MB)
Management Unit 6 (2.9 MB) Management Unit 6 Maps (3.4 MB)
Management Unit 7 (2.9 MB) Management Unit 7 Maps (3.3 MB)
Management Unit 8 (3.1 MB) Management Unit 8 Maps (3.7 MB)
Management Unit 9 (3.2 MB) Management Unit 9 Maps (3.4 MB)
Management Unit 10 (3.5 MB) Management Unit 10 Maps (3.6 MB)
Management Unit 11 (3.0 MB) Management Unit 11 Maps (3.6 MB)
Management Unit 12 (3.2 MB) Management Unit 12 Maps (3.8 MB)
Management Unit 13 (3.1 MB) Management Unit 13 Maps (3.5 MB)
Management Unit 14 (2.8 MB) Management Unit 14 Maps (3.8 MB)
Management Unit 15 (3.0 MB) Management Unit 15 Maps (3.3 MB)
Management Unit 16 (2.5 MB) Management Unit 16 Maps (4.1 MB)
Management Unit 17 (2.8 MB) Management Unit 17 Maps (2.9 MB)
Management Unit 18 (2.8 MB) Management Unit 18 Maps (3.7 MB)
Management Unit 19 (3.1 MB) Management Unit 19 Maps (3.3 MB)
Management Unit 20 (2.5 MB) Management Unit 20 Maps (2.9 MB)
Management Unit 21 (3.0 MB) Management Unit 21 Maps (3.1 MB)


Stream Restoration Projects

Full Channel Restoration Demonstration at Shoemaker on West Kill

RAH Stables Restoration Project (2.1 MB)


General Recommendations

This section sets forth an extensive list of recommendations related to education and outreach, flood protection, water quality, public enjoyment, fisheries, riparian zone management, stream management, and programmatic issues, providing a frame work for watershed stakeholders to develop a long term management strategy to protect and improve the West Kill.

General Recommendations for Stream Protection/Enhancement

Stream Management Plan Implementation Strategy




Greene County Soil & Water Conservation District  907 County Office Building, Cairo NY 12514  Phone (518) 622-3620 Fax (518) 622-0344 

Abbe Martin, Project Manager


NYCDEP Stream Management Program

71 Smith Ave, Kingston NY 124021

Phone (845) 340-7850 Fax (845) 338-1367

David Burns, Project Manager



For more information, e-mail info@catskillstreams.org

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