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DEP Announces Temporary Closure for Ice Fishing at West Branch Reservoir

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced that it will temporarily close ice fishing at West Branch Reservoir in Putnam County. DEP has been drawing additional drinking water for New York City from West Branch Reservoir, which will cause its water elevation to drop. This could cause ice to shift or break, making conditions unsafe for ice fishing. DEP has informed the public of the temporary closure by posting signs at access points around the reservoir, and by providing information to elected officials and bait and tackle shops.

DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than 1 billion gallons of high-quality water each day to more than 9.5 million New Yorkers. This includes more than 70 upstate communities and institutions in Ulster, Orange, Putnam and Westchester counties who consume an average of 110 million total gallons of drinking water daily from New York City’s water supply system. This water comes from the Catskill, Delaware, and Croton watersheds that extend more than 125 miles from the City, and the system comprises 19 reservoirs, three controlled lakes, and numerous tunnels and aqueducts. DEP has nearly 6,000 employees, including almost 1,000 scientists, engineers, surveyors, watershed maintainers and other professionals in the watershed. In addition to its $70 million payroll and $166 million in annual taxes paid in upstate counties, DEP has invested more than $1.7 billion in watershed protection programs—including partnership organizations such as the Catskill Watershed Corporation and the Watershed Agricultural Council—that support sustainable farming practices, environmentally sensitive economic development, and local economic opportunity. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year.