The Casperkill watershed is located within the City and Town of Poughkeepsie and extends from the Peach Hill area to the Hudson River, just southwest of the Poughkeepsie Galleria. The Casperkill Creek itself traverses Vassar’s campus where it is dammed to make Sunset Lake.
The Casperkill Creek constitutes a great recreational and aesthetic resource for local residents. For students and scholars at Vassar and in the surrounding community, the watershed has also been a great educational resource. Unfortunately, human development over the past century has significantly affected the health of the stream and its watershed.
The past few years have seen the emergence of several efforts to reclaim both the creek and the watershed as important cultural and environmental assets. Below is a list of projects seeking to raise awareness and take action on behalf of the Casperkill with the ultimate goal of making it the best and healthiest possible community resource. Click on the title for more information on any given project.
Since its inception in the spring of 2006, the Casperkill Assessment Project (CAP)—a partnership between Vassar’s Environmental Research Institute (ERI) and local organizations and individuals – has been conducting research on the Casperkill Creek and its watershed. Students and faculty at Vassar have conducted in-depth research on the biology, geology, and chemistry of the creek, as well as the land use and policy decisions that affect it.
The Casperkill Watershed Oral History Project addressed the need for more awareness of the Casperkill using the personal experiences and memories of watershed residents themselves. Through interviews and archival research, the two Ford Scholars collected numerous stories, articles, maps, photographs and other materials illuminating the history of human interactions with the Creek and the watershed. All this information was compiled onto a blog that is now a repository of local knowledge and experience.
The Casperkill Watershed Alliance is a partnership between the Vassar Environmental Research Institute (ERI), Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County (CCEDC) and watershed residents, civic officials, and other interested parties. The alliance meets monthly and organizes various community watershed events such as streamside plantings, storm drain marking projects, creek cleanups, natural lawn care workshops, rain barrel workshops, bike rides, and more.
Dutchess Watersheds is an online community of individuals and watershed organizations working in education, advocacy, research and protection of the watersheds in Dutchess County, New York. On its website, you will find information on community events, watershed facts and research data, and multimedia materials for education, including plenty of information relating specifically to the Casperkill.
-Nadine Souto, email@example.com