Wappinger CreekWappinger Creek


“A wide variety of creatures call the Wappinger Creek Watershed home. An equally diverse community of people and places is touched by the creek everyday. To some, the Wappinger Creek may be little more that a line on a map, or a number in miles. To others, the Wappinger Creek evokes the childhood memory of an old swimming hole, the inspiration for a moving work of art, or a place to enjoy a beautiful afternoon with family. Overturned stones and scurrying crayfish along the Wappinger Creek hold a fascination for children, potential biologists of the future. The swaying trees and chirping birds that thrive alongside the creek may flow onto the pages of a poet’s journal. Anyone who can recall a time when they sat beside the creek watching their fishing line for bites can be considered part of the watershed community. Learning to keep the tiniest tributary to our creek clean can instill an understanding of stewardship in kids and adults alike. The Wappinger Creek Watershed is infinitely more than a water source to those of us who dwell within its borders – it is a source of life, learning, and wonderment.”

- from Wandering the Wappinger Creek, by Evan Chadwick, Ketcham High School, 199?

General Info

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Located entirely within Dutchess County the Wappinger Creek watershed drains approximately 211 square miles (134,871 acres) of land within 11 towns and 2 villages. Thirty eight miles long, the Wappinger Creek originates in extensive wetlands and lakes in the Town of Pine Plains and enters the Hudson River in the Village of Wappinger Falls. The Town and Villages within the watershed are (listed from upstream to downstream):

  • Pine Plains
  • Milan
  • Stanford
  • Clinton
  • Village of Millbrook
  • Washington
  • Hyde Park
  • Pleasant Valley
  • LaGrange
  • Town of Poughkeepsie
  • Town of Wappinger
  • Town of Fishkill
  • Village of Wappingers Falls

The Wappinger Creek is fed by approximately 320 miles of tributaries, including the subwatersheds of:

  • Cold Spring Creek
  • East Branch Wappinger Creek
  • Great Spring Creek
  • Grist Mill Creek
  • Hunns Lake Creek
  • Little Wappinger Creek
  • Tamarack Creek
  • Upton Lake Creek
  • Willow Brook

There are approximately 1,694 acres of ponds and lakes within the watershed and approximately 8,362 acres of wetlands.

Wappinger Creek Watershed Intermunicipal Council (WIC)

In 1995 the Dutchess County Water Quality Strategy Committee (DCWQSC) formed the Wappinger Creek Watershed Planning Committee (WCWPC) to address problems in specific to the Wappinger Creek Watershed. An in-depth water quality study was conducted from summer 1997 to spring 2000. While conducting these studies, over a 5-year period the Wappinger Creek Watershed Management Plan (WCWMP) was developed. In 2000 the Wappinger Creek Intermunicipal Council (WIC) was formed to facilitate communication and ease completion of cooperative projects in order to implement the management plan. This council primarily consists of municipal officials and their representatives from the 13 municipalities within the Wappinger Creek watershed. The Mission of the WIC is to cooperatively address common issues that may affect the quality of the watershed.

For information about the WIC, their meeting times and projects they are working in to protect the watershed, see the Contacts and Wappinger Creek section of the Community Forum.

Land Use History

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The Wappinger Creek watershed, time and again, has been the centerpiece of Dutchess County’s natural and human history. Early Dutch settlers named the creek after the area’s original inhabitants, the Wappinger Native Americans. Roughly translated from the Lenape language, “Wappinger” means “people who live in the East,” possibly referring to the eastern bank of the Hudson River.

There have been, and continue to be, many forms of agriculture in the watershed’s northern reaches. Dutchess County was largely agricultural until the mid-20th century. Dutchess County was 68% agricultural land in 1880, declining to 45% by 1935. The Hudson Valley gradually reforested through the processes of old-field abandonment and secondary succession. Post-World War II industrialization began to diminish the agricultural nature of the land, and since the lower portion of the watershed has played a key role in the county’s industrial development. Although many local communities date back to at least the 18th century, urban intensification and, in particular, suburbanization have been responsible for much of the land conversion in the past twenty years.

From 1990-2000, the population in Dutchess County increased by 8%. Urban and suburban land use increased dramatically within the Wappinger Creek watersheds from 1992-2001, with most of the increase occurring in the upper-mid portions of the watershed. Much of this growth occurred along the Taconic Parkway. Land use within the watershed is extremely diverse, ranging from agriculture and forestland in the north to extensive commercial and residential development in the south.

figure 1  - percentage of land use types
Figure 1. Percentage of land use types in the Wappinger Creek watershed.

Growth pressure throughout the watershed has resulted in environmental degradation, especially in the lower portion south of Pleasant Valley. The EPA’s recently released “Index of Watershed Indicators” shows that Dutchess County experienced greater than 7% growth in population from 1980-1990, the highest category indicated in the report. Even more impact from growth may occur in the near future, as predicted by the Dutchess County Forecasting Project. Conducted in 1997, the Forecasting Project predicts that Dutchess County will grow 7.64% by 2010 and 19.8% by 2020. Associated with this growth, nutrient loading (nitrates and phosphates) and sedimentation will continue to threaten the designated uses of the lakes and streams in the watershed unless best management practices and land use planning for sustainable development are implemented at the local level.

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The structure of soil and bedrock affects the quantity and quality of surface water and groundwater. In this section the surficial and bedrock geology of the Wappinger Creek Watershed is outlined in relation to their capacity for groundwater production.

The bedrock geology of the Wappinger Creek Watershed is primarily based on sedimentary rock, with some metamorphic rock outcrops (Map 5 of the Wappinger Creek Management Plan). The sedimentary rocks in the Watershed vary from very hard shales to softer limestones and sandstones. The Wappinger group, an elongated mass of sedimentary carbonate rocks, occurs along the Wappinger Creek for which it was named. The chemical content of the Wappinger group and associated unconsolidated deposits have produced slightly alkaline soils, which are well suited for agriculture.

The lime component also has economic value as crushed stone or agricultural limestone and is mined in the town of Pleasant Valley, near the Wappinger Creek. The Wappinger group is often overlain by thin layers of Balmville limestone and conglomerate, particularly at Rochdale in the town of Poughkeepsie. The Balmville layer is known for its fossils.

Rocks in the Wappinger group weather readily and internal erosion occurs as movement of groundwater dissolves the carbonate deposits. Solution channels and voids are consequently formed, providing storage cavities for groundwater supplies. This stored water can easily be polluted by contamination sources, such as septic systems, where unconsolidated deposits on top of the carbonate bedrock are not sufficient to filter the waste materials. Wells in the Wappinger group average 22 gallons per minute and the water is hard.

Harder sedimentary rocks including Austin Glen greywacke and shale are found in the towns of Wappinger, Fishkill, and LaGrange, along the uplands between the Wappinger and Sprout creeks, and along an arm extending from Poughkeepsie into the towns of Clinton and Milan. Wells in this formation produce approximately 16 gallons per minute of moderately hard water.

Metamorphic rock outcrops are exhibited most notably at Stissing Mountain, a gneiss outcrop with Poughquag quartzite on the flanks of the mountain. Wells tapping gneiss and quartz formations produce only a small amount of water, averaging 10-11 gallons per minute.

The surficial geology of the Watershed is made up of sand, gravel, glacial till and alluvium deposited during the ice age by glaciers. Extensive deposits of sand and gravel over limestone along the Wappinger Creek indicate underground reservoirs of water, also know as aquifers. Drilled wells in these formations may yield 10-100 gallons per minute of water.

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Wildlife and Fisheries

Animal populations are sensitive indicators of environmental health, often responding to subtle changes in pollution levels, land uses, and other stresses in observable ways. Animals that need large, continuous, or interconnected habitat units often have trouble maintaining populations as their habitats become increasingly fragmented by land use changes. As land use changes have occurred in the watershed, the wildlife has in some cases also changed. For example, the habitats of cattail nesting birds such as the marsh wren are reduced as purple loosestrife replaces cattails in disturbed marshes; introduced starlings have displaced eastern bluebirds from natural nesting cavities; cold-water fish including brook trout and sculpin have had some of their habitats ruined by the removal of bank vegetation and the silting and warming of streams. The New York Natural Heritage Program lists 14 rare or endangered animals in the watershed, located throughout the watershed from Pine Plains to Wappinger Falls. In particular, the Blanding’s Turtle (threatened in New York State) has been sighted in wetlands in Clinton, Hyde Park and LaGrange and may be breeding in some of these wetlands. The exact locations of rare and endangered species are not released to prevent collection. Although environmental degradation has changed wildlife populations in the watershed, there remains an abundance of mammals, birds and amphibians who call the Wappinger watershed home.

Mammals in the Wappinger watershed include:
  • Deer
  • Muskrat
  • Coyotes
  • Eastern cottontail
  • Beaver
  • Otter
  • Grey squirrel
  • Red fox
  • Mink
  • Grey Fox
The lakes in the watershed especially Wappinger Lake and Thompsons Pond, are attractive to migrating waterbirds such as:
  • Gulls
  • Geese
  • Ducks
  • Shorebirds
The tidal Wappinger Creek supports other birds including:
  • Mute swans
  • Black ducks
  • Migrating Canada geese
  • Wood ducks
  • Mallard ducks
  • Green herons
  • Ospreys
  • King fishers
Wappinger Creek resident fishery species include:
  • Chain pickerel
  • Bluegill
  • Redbreast sunfish
  • Black crappie
  • Pumpkinseed
  • American eel (during its juvenile life stage)
Seasonal fishery residents of the Wappinger Creek Estuary include those listed below, although eel and striped bass are off-limits for commercial fishing because of their high PCB content.
  • Alewife
  • Striped bass
  • Carp
  • Blueback herring
  • Smallmouth bass
  • Golden shiner
  • White perch
  • Largemouth bass
  • White sucker
  • Yellow perch
  • White catfish
Wappinger Lake supports (and other lakes in the watershed possibly support) a variety of warm water fish, including:
  • American Eel
  • Brown bullheads (catfish)
  • Common shiner
  • Pumpinseed sunfish
  • Smallmouth bass
  • Carp
  • Bluegill shiner
  • Redbreast sunfish
  • Largemouth bass
  • Yellow perch
  • Golden shiner
  • Rock bass
  • Black crappie
  • White sucker
Some of the amphibians and reptiles that can be found in the watershed include:
  • Blanding's turtle (endangered)
  • Ribbon snake
  • Dusky Salamander
  • Painted turtle
  • Garter snake
  • Spring peeper
  • Wood frog
  • Spotted turtle
  • Water snake
  • Bull frog
  • Pickerel frog
  • Wood turtle
  • Newt
  • Green frog

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Water Quality

There are approximately 1,694 acres of lakes and ponds in the Watershed. The largest are listed in Table 2, along with the NYSDEC Classification for each waterbody. These classifications may differ depending on the section of the stream in question; for example Tamarack Creek has four different classifications from the headwaters to the mouth where it enters Wappinger Creek.

Lake Name Municipality Approximate Size (acres) NYSDEC Classification
Bontecou Lake Washington 123 Not classified
Dieterich Pond Millbrook 32 B(T)
Halcyon Lake Pine Plains 30 D
Hunns Lake Stanford 65 B
Long Pond Clinton 82 AA
Shaw Pond Washington 28 B(T)
Mud Pond Clinton 24 B
Silver Lake Clinton 123 AA(T)
Stissing Lake Pine Plains 77 B
Thompson Pond Pine Plains 79 B
Twin Island Lake Pine Plains 61 B
Upton Lake Stanford 43 B
Wappingers Lake Wappingers Falls 88 C(T)

The NYSDEC’s Priority Waterbody List (PWL) was developed to address those waterbodies that do not meet their intended uses due to various pollution sources.Wappinger Lake, Silver Lake, Long Pond, Hunns Lake, Upton Lake, and Twin Island Pond are listed on the PWL.

Studies throughout New York State have shown that nonpoint source pollutants account for 93% of river impairment and 86% of lake impairment. Wappinger Lake exemplifies the problems of nonpoint source pollution: high fecal coliform bacteria counts, sedimentation and excessive weed growth have rendered Wappinger Lake useless for swimming, boating and fishing which historically were profitable operations. From 1950 to 1990 changes in land use of the Wappinger Creek Watershed increased sediment loads in the Wappinger Creek and its tributaries and caused the mean depth of Wappinger Lake to decrease from 15 feet to 6 feet. Wappinger Lake has been included in the NYSDEC Priority Waterbody List every year since 1990.

Groundwater quality and quantity in the watershed has also been affected by land use practices. Public water supply wells in the lower watershed have begun to show nitrate contamination from high-density development utilizing individual septic systems (data available from the Dutchess County Department of Health). During the drought of 1999, water quantity became a critical issue and resulted in water restrictions in seven of the watershed towns and villages that utilize groundwater for both public and private water supplies. Since 75% of the municipalities in the watershed rely on groundwater exclusively for drinking water, protection of groundwater quality and quantity has been identified as a critical issue for the watershed

The remaining water quality data presented below was collected by the Dutchess County Environmental Management Council (EMC) for a three phase water quality study conducted from summer 1997 to spring 2000. To facilitate the study and planning the Wappinger Creek Watershed was divided into 16 subwatersheds. The subwatersheds were delineated by the Dutchess County Environmental Management Council (EMC) on United States Geological Survey Maps (USGS) and subsequently digitized in the EMC’s Geographic Information System (GIS).

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Water Quality - Chemical

Both nitrogen and phosphorus are important nutrients for plant and animal growth but when these elements make their way into streams and other waterways in high concentrations they can lead to harmful algal blooms. These blooms can lead to low dissolved oxygen levels which in turn can lead to the loss of organisms such as fish and macroinvetebrates. The data shows that nitrate and phosphate levels in the subwatershed tributaries were fairly high throughout the watershed (Figures 2 and 3 of the Wappinger Creek Management Plan). Most likely, the nutrient concentrations can be attributed to the rapid groundwater transport of local septic system effluent, residential fertilizer applications, atmospheric deposition and agricultural operations. The eutrophication of watershed lakes and ponds is a symptom of the elevated nutrients entering the watershed. An additional symptom of pollution is the increasing number of drinking water wells in the watershed contaminated with nitrate and bacteria (See Appendix 3 of the Wappinger Creek Watershed Management Plan).

figure 2 - median nitrate concentrations for major wappinger creek watershed tributariesfigure 3 - median phosphate concentrations for major wappinger creek watershed tributaries

Nutrient (nitrate and phosphate) inputs varied among the subwatersheds, but it is clear that the Pleasant Valley East subwatershed contributed the highest concentration of phosphate to the Wappinger Creek (Figure 3). Wappinger Creek Headwaters, Willow Brook, East Branch and Great Spring Creek also showed concentrations of phosphate at or above levels that are likely to impact the ecological balance of the stream and lake. Although the Willow Brook Subwatershed contributed the smallest amount of flow to the Wappinger Creek of all the major tributaries, it contained the highest concentration of nitrate, almost 10 times the concentrations of Cold Spring Creek (Figure 2). Other contributors of high nitrate concentrations were Hunns Lake Creek, Upton Lake Creek, Great Spring Creek and the Dutchess County Airport tributary.

Dissolved oxygen (DO) concentrations and percent saturation levels of oxygen tended to be healthy in the watershed. However, the Wappinger Creek Headwaters consistently contained poor DO levels. In late summer and early fall DO levels approached levels that would stress cold water fisheries. As documented in Wappinger watershed wetland report, the low DO levels could be attributed to decomposition of organic matter from the upstream wetland and poor barnyard management.

Conductivity in the watershed was elevated according to criteria developed for inland fisheries of the United States. The Dutchess County Airport and Great Spring Creek conductivity levels were over the 500 μS threshold in 1999, which may be an indicator of inorganic dissolved solids from nonpoint source pollution such as chloride, nitrate, sulfate, and phosphate. The remainder of the concentrations at the EMC sampling sites fell below the threshold.

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Water Quality - Biological


One of the more troubling findings of the EMC Study was the amount of fecal coliform bacteria present in the subwatersheds (Figure 6). These high levels of fecal coliform bacteria were probably discharged from poorly planned septic system drain fields and/or agricultural operations.

figure 6 - fecal coliform bacteria levels for major wappinger creek watershed tributaties

Aquatic Community Health

The types of benthic macroinvertebrates (bottom dwelling organisms without a backbone) living in a stream are an excellent indicator of stream health. The types and numbers of invertebrates (also known as BMIs) present can be compared to a “biotic index” which is a rough estimate of the pollution tolerance of the community. The biotic index will increase (from 0 to 10) with increases in pollution, including organic sources like sewage and manure. In general, the more pollution-tolerant invertebrates present the higher the pollution level in the stream.

To look at the biological health of the Wappinger Creek and its tributaries, the EMC, in conjunction with Marist College, Dutchess County Soil and Water Conservation District, Institute of Ecosystem Studies (now the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies), and the Mid-Hudson Chapter of Trout Unlimited, started a comprehensive volunteer biological stream monitoring effort in the spring of 1998. The volunteer biological monitoring program was designed to provide an understanding of the biologic health of the Wappinger Creek. Additionally, it was a cost-effective method of monitoring the long-term health of the watershed.

Based on yearly values, the biotic index rose at all the sites and the organism density per sample dropped at all the sites from 1998 to 1999. The organism density per sample reflects the number of macroinvertebrates living in the stream. In general, density will decrease when organic matter decreases and habitat conditions decline. Organism density will also decrease with increased sedimentation, toxic inputs, and low pH. When analyzed by type of insect, the samples were dominated by “gathering collectors” throughout the watershed, with the exception of the Mountain Road site that was dominated by “filtering collectors”. A dominance of gathering collectors throughout the watershed could be an indicator of human and natural organic inputs deposited on the stream bottom.

Filtering collectors were the dominant feeding group at the Mountain Road site. These macroinvertebrates filter fine particulate matter from the water column, and their presence shows that there is an abundance of material in the water for the invertebrates to feed on. An agricultural enterprise and a large wetland (1,193 acres) upstream of the Mountain Road sampling site are the most likely causes of the high amount of suspended material utilized by the filtering collectors. The wetland and the agricultural land use contributed a large amount of organic material and sediment to the water column. In turn, these contributions caused dissolved oxygen levels to plummet in the summer months.

The EPT family richness measures the number of families of the order Ephemeroptera (mayflies), Plecoptera (stoneflies), and Trichoptera (caddisflies) that were represented at a sample site. These orders are known to contain many taxa that are sensitive to water quality changes. Generally, the more EPT families, the better the water quality and habitat. The EPT family richness of the Mountain Road site was low, but was good throughout the rest of the stream.

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Water Quality - Physical

Suspended material transport in the subwatersheds varied greatly throughout the watershed (Figure 4). Suspended material (solids) includes silt and clay particles, plankton, algae, fine organic debris, and other particulate matter. Suspended solids can serve as transport for toxic chemicals, phosphate, and fecal coliform bacteria. The variability made it difficult to draw conclusions based on subwatershed land use. However, it is evident that a number of the subwatershed streams consistently produced median suspended material levels that exceeded the criteria developed by the EMC (See Figure 4 and descriptions for each subwatershed in the Section IV of the Wappinger Creek Watershed Management Plan).

figure 4 - median suspended material concentrations for major wappinger creek watershed tributaries

The East Branch subwatershed had the second highest median suspended sediment concentrations in 1999 and contributed the most flow to the Wappinger Creek (Figure 4 and Figure 5). Therefore, the East Branch contributed the most sediment load to the Wappinger Creek when compared to the other major tributaries. Other subwatersheds that contributed a significant amount of suspended sediment to the Wappinger Creek included: Pleasant Valley East, Wappinger Creek Headwaters, Great Spring Creek, Dutchess County Airport, and Little Wappingers.

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Public Access Sites

There are several locations along the Wappinger Creek that are open to the public, many with walkable trails and spectacular scenery. For a complete description and directions to each of the following locations, please see Wandering the Wappinger Creek.

Beginning at the headwaters of the Wappinger Creek in the Town of Pine Plains is the Thompson Pond Preserve owned by the Lower Hudson Chapter of the Nature Conservancy. The yellow blazed trail loops around the Pond itself and goes right over where the Wappinger Creek begins. Thompson’s Pond is a kettle shrub pool, a unique type of wetland created when a “kettle” shaped depression formed and filled from the melting water of the last glacier that covered the area over 15,000 years ago. The pond and surrounding marsh, swamp, and upland forest support a great variety of animal and plant communities, some of which are rare or disappearing from the Hudson Valley. Nearby is Stissing Mountain, the highest point in the Wappinger Creek Watershed. For a magnificent view and invigorating 1 mile hike, you can hike up to the fire tower on the top of Stissing Mountain.

As you travel from the headwaters south towards the mouth of the Wappinger Creek, the next public access point can be found in the Town of Stanford. Here you can find the Buttercup Farm Wildlife Sanctuary, owned by the National Audubon Society, located just off of Route 82. The Sanctuary holds a variety of habitats including vernal pools, hardwood swamps, meadows, and a beaver pond. Just a bit further south, within Stanfordville, the next public access point is located at the Town of Stanford Recreation Park. Here the creek is still a small stream that can easily be waded across. The Town of Stanford uses water from the creek to fill a swimming pool. A state-of-the-art sand filter purifies the water before it is drained back into the creek at the end of the swimming season.

The Wappinger Creek Trail located on the property of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook is the next site along the Wappinger Creek that can accessed by the public. The “Wappinger Creek Trail” there winds its way down to the East Branch of the Wappinger Creek, a tributary that makes its way to the main stem of the Wappinger Creek. Here the Cary Institute scientists have established a long term monitoring project collecting chemistry data from the creek that continues to generate one of the most continuous records of creek chemistry in the Hudson Valley.

Just downstream where the old Pleasant Valley Manufactory was located along the Wappinger Creek Cady Recreation Park can be found. Located just behind the Pleasant Valley Town Hall, the park holds a baseball field, basketball court and pavilions. Continuing downstream, the next public access site can be found in the Town of Lagrange along the Wappinger Creek Greenway Trail. Here the Town of Lagrange CAC was able to create the trail by acquiring easements from private landowners allowing public access to property not owned by the town. The Wappinger Creek Greenway is home to many species of wildlife.

Greenvale Park and Rochdale Park, both within the Town of Poughkeepsie border the Wappinger Creek. Both parks were sites for streamside planting projects sponsored by the Hudson River Estuary Program DEC “Trees for Tribs” Initiative and organizied by the Town of Poughkeepsie and the Wappinger Creek Watershed Intermunicipal Council (WIC). Trees and shrubs were planted at both sites in the effort to prevent further erosion of the streambank at each park. The roots of plants can act as an anchor, holding sediment in place and preventing it from being carried downstream during floods.

The open field at Quiet Acres Park, containing a baseball field, basketball court and playground, is part of the Wappinger Creek floodplain. There is a short trail along the creek in the park, beginning at the downstream end of the field. As you are walking along this trail, look and listen for wood ducks, kingfishers and pileated woodpeckers. Beneath the forest canopy you will find many interesting species of wild plants, such as wild ginger, trout lily, bloodroot, and wild leeks.

Wappinger Lake was created in the 1840’s when a dam was built to provide energy for a local mill and textile operations. There is now a working hydroelectric power plant at the base of the falls. The Lake is accessible from Veteran’s Park located within the Village of Wappingers Falls. Here the Village operates a weed harvester in the summer to deal with invasive Water Chestnut Plant that covers the lake.

The Reese Sanctuary & New Hamburg Park is part of the Wappinger Greenway trail system. The Reese Sanctuary is adjacent to a very unique portion of the Wappinger Creek different from the other public access points. Here, below the dam and falls, the creek widens and becomes tidal. WARNING: Trails at the Park and Sanctuary have experienced severe erosion over the past several years and may be unsuitable for use in areas. Please practice caution. Maintenance of these trails is scheduled to occur over the next couple of years.

Public Access Sites to Water Resources in Dutchess County

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Public access sites in the Wappinger Creek watershed
Indicates a public access site on the Wappinger or a tributary to the Wappinger

Public access sites in nearby watersheds
Indicates a public access point to the Hudson River or a Hudson Direct drainage stream
Indicates a public access site on the Fall Kill
Indicates a public access site on the Casperkill
Indicates a public access site on the Ten Mile River or a tributary to the Ten Mile River
Indicates a public access site on the Fishkill Creek
Indicates a public access site for the Roeliff Jansen Kill


The Wappinger Creek Watershed is used extensively for recreation, as studied by the Marist College Bureau of Economic Research in 1998 through a survey of recreational users. The typical user engages in outdoor activities frequently, lives within 5 miles of the Wappinger Creek, and has been using the watershed for more than ten years for activities such as fishing, hiking, picnicking and boating. Over $1.2 million annually is spent in direct and indirect expenditures related to the recreational use in the watershed, including lodging, food, travel expenses, equipment and supplies, site fees and licenses.

According to the survey, nearly two-thirds of the recreational users felt that the presence of open space along the creek is very important to the recreational experience, 30% indicated that open space was somewhat important, and only 11% indicated that open space was not important to them for recreational activities. To explore this further, recreational users were asked to indicate the maximum amount of money they would be willing to contribute to pay for a hypothetical 2,000 acres of woods and fields near Wappinger Creek to preserve as open space. 85% responded that they would be willing to pay an average of $17.61 per year in order to purchase and preserve the 2,000 acres.

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Top Threats

Top Ten Threats to the Watershed Identified by Participants at the November 1998 Watershed Conference

  1. Nonpoint source pollution, especially excess nutrients, sediment and bacteria
  2. Lack of interagency/municipal cooperation
  3. Over-development within the watershed
  4. Loss and/or fragmentation of habitat and the accompanying loss of biodiversity
  5. Lack of stream management and existing regulations
  6. High property taxes promote non-sustainable agriculture and forestry practices and replacement of agriculture by residential and commercial land uses
  7. Lack of information regarding the public water supply, how it works and what needs to be done to protect surface and groundwater
  8. Lack of funds, volunteers and the public interest needed to implement a watershed education program
  9. Over-development causes excessive water consumption that results in reduced base flow and an increase in impervious surfaces that decreases recharge
  10. Division of interests and lack of communication among groups that are using the same resource

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Documents and Reports

Much of the content for this page was adapted from “Natural Resource Management Plan for the Wappinger Creek Watershed” report.

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  • Urban Wilderness Festival

    August 8th

    Date: Saturday, August 8th, 2015
    Time: 11:00am - 4:00pm
    Location: Vassar Farm and Ecological Preserve

    On Saturday, August 8th from 11am to 4pm, join us for a free Urban Wilderness Festival celebrating the beauty and diversity of the Vassar Farm and Ecological Preserve. Come on one of our many nature walks, play around with crafts, get your face painted, and go on a scavenger hunt! Enjoy food by local vendors, browse our tabling booths, and listen to some great music. It will be a blast! Parking will be in the main parking lot by the Poughkeepsie Farm Project.

    For more information on the this event, see the Facebook event page

  • Mitzvah Day 2015

    May 3rd

    Date: Sunday, May 3rd, 2015
    Location: Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, Room TBA

    Join the Jewish Family Services of Dutchess County and the Casperkill Watershed Association for Mitzvah Day, an annual day of community service. This year the CWA will be removing invasive vines from the vegetation surrounding the Casperkill Creek. Invasive species, especially vines, can crowd out beneficial native species and negatively impact the stream. Clippers, waders, boots, gloves, and garbage bags will be provided.

    Join the Jewish Family Services of Dutchess County and the Casperkill Watershed Association for Mitzvah Day, an annual day of community service. This year the CWA will be removing invasive vines from the vegetation surrounding the Casperkill Creek. Invasive species, especially vines, can crowd out beneficial native species and negatively impact the stream. Clippers, waders, boots, gloves, and garbage bags will be provided.