Water Quality

Permanent URI for this collection


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 6 of 6
  • Item
    Barriers to Oyster Recovery in Hudson River Estuary
    Hare, Matthew (New York State Water Resources Institute, 2019)
    Interest in eastern oyster restoration in the Hudson/Raritan estuary (HRE) has been building in conjunction with water quality improvements near New York City. Restoration is motivated by the ecosystem services typically provided by a large oyster population. Multiple projects have tested the performance of post-settlement oysters in different parts of the HRE, or attempted to assess available habitat. Only one study tested whether oyster larvae can survive to settlement (to produce juvenile oyster “spat”), and that effort in Jamaica Bay found larvae but no local settlement. Larvae represent the critical dispersal stage of eastern oysters, but it also is the most vulnerable life cycle stage. Restoring a sustainable population requires that we understand environmental constraints on larval survivorship. In this project we continued systematic monitoring of newly settled oyster spat south of the only known wild population in the Hudson River. Oyster settlement in 2019 decreased to the south in a pattern similar to 2018. A net southward pattern of larval dispersal is expected, so our second objective was to experimentally test whether waste water treatment plant effluent increases oyster larval developmental abnormalities or mortality. No treatment effect was observed, but logistical challenges prevented sufficient testing to support a conclusion.
  • Item
    Validation and Application of qPCR-MST of Fecal Contamination in the Mohawk River Watershed
    Rodak, Carolyn; Endres, Lauren (New York State Water Resources Institute, 2019)
    Fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) are often used to determine whether a waterbody can be safely used for recreation. However, FIB are not source specific and provide minimal information on the source of contamination. Therefore, the combination of FIB and new techniques such as microbial source tracking (MST) have the potential to refine information for remedial efforts. In the summer of 2019, water samples from the western portion of the Mohawk river watershed were evaluated for FIB and the occurrence of two source specific markers: human and bovine. In addition to providing proof of concept for MST in this specific location, the study showed wide spread detection of the human marker HF183 in over 50% of the samples. The marker was the most prominent within the city of Utica, where detection of HF183 occurred in 69-77% of the samples and is likely due to the impact of the network of combined sewer overflows (CSOs). Overall, there was strong co-occurrence between elevated FIB concentrations and source markers in the region and vice versa (low FIB concentrations and no marker detection). However, 35% of samples with elevated FIB concentrations had no detection of the human or bovine markers suggesting the potential of a significant contribution from a source not evaluated in this study.
  • Item
    Road Salt Delivery Mechanisms and Water Quality Impacts in the Hudson River Watershed
    Meierdiercks, Katherine (New York State Water Resources Institute, 2019)
    Road salt entering surface stream channels can negatively impact water quality and ecosystem and human health. While it is generally understood that salt runs off into surface water with melting snow, much less is known about how and when salt enters surface streams through groundwater baseflow. This project examines how land use and watershed structure control delivery of road salt to the Hudson River. This question is addressed in the Hudson River Watershed using publicly available Hudson River Environmental Conditions Observing System (HRECOS) and US Geological Survey (USGS) data and data from independent researchers participating in The Hudson River Tributary and Subwatershed (THuRST) research network. For the watersheds in this study, results suggest that salt is entering surface streams through groundwater baseflow, but there is less evidence that salt is also delivered by the road network as snowmelt. The one exception is the Patroon Creek, the most urban study watershed, where large fluxes of salt in the winter and spring months are likely the result of road salt runoff.
  • Item
    Microplastic Pollution in Onondaga and Skaneateles Lakes in Central New York
    Driscoll, Charles; Markley, Laura (New York State Water Resources Institute, 2019)
    Microplastic (<5 mm) pollution is a globally recognized problem which varies regionally. Freshwater ecosystems have been vastly overlooked and under characterized for microplastics, including those in central New York. We provide the first measurements of suspected microplastic abundance and form in the surface waters of Onondaga Lake and its tributaries, as well as in the relatively pristine Skaneateles Lake. We found that samples from Onondaga Lake had higher concentrations than Skaneateles Lake, likely owing to more prevalent sources of plastic pollution from litter, wastewater effluent, combined sewer overflows (CSOs), and others. Our methodological development found that microplastic concentrations are highly influenced by sampling methodology, with lower concentrations but greater morphological diversity found in net samples compared to lower volume grab samples. Our findings indicate that microfiber pollution is the primary source of microplastics to these freshwater ecosystems. We also observed that, despite a ban on rinse-off cosmetics in 2015, samples from Onondaga Lake contained microbeads. Our work suggests the need for further improvements to policies addressing microplastic pollution in New York State and has important implications given the use of Skaneateles Lake as the primary drinking water source for the City of Syracuse.
  • Item
    Hyperspectral Drone Detection of Harmful Algal Blooms: Ground truthing new approaches for water quality assessment
    de Smet, Timothy S.; Chiu, Kenneth (New York State Water Resources Institute, 2019)
    Harmful algal blooms (HAB)s are an increasing threat to freshwater quality, public health, and aquatic ecosystems, costing New York State millions of dollars in annual damages. Yet the frequency, magnitude, and duration of HABs is poorly documented for inland freshwater lakes and ponds. Current field-based sampling followed by laboratory analysis to detect and monitor HABs is expensive, labor-intensive, and slow, delaying critical management decisions. The utility of satellite-based multispectral remote sensing to rapidly detect, monitor, and forecast HABs has been demonstrated at large oceanographic scales; however, low spatial and spectral resolution and inadequate revisit time severely limit the usefulness of satellite-based remote sensing techniques for inland freshwater ponds and lakes. We conducted a pilot study aimed at assessing the utility of efficient low-cost unmanned autonomous vehicle systems and spectral sensors for the rapid real-time detection and monitoring of HABs. The research resulted in the production of chlorophyll-a and cyanobacteria concentration maps and the development of a hyperspectral calibration methodology. This new state-of-the-art research methodology will allow for targeted assessment, monitoring, and design of HABs management plans that can be adapted for other impacted water bodies in New York State and implemented by managers at the NYSDEC, NYSDOH, and NYSDAM.
  • Item
    Mid-Hudson Young Environmental Scientist Project in Urban Stream Ecology (MH-YES) Yr-2
    Berkowitz, Alan; Esposito, Rhea; Fitzgerald, Neil (New York State Water Resources Institute, 2019)
    Broadening participation of diverse groups in Science, Math, Engineering and Technology (STEM) fields is critical to future science success. The MH-YES project aims to raise awareness of options to study and work in the environmental sciences among diverse groups of students. Teams of high school and college students work with teachers and scientists to conduct authentic water quality research to build their knowledge, skills, motivation, and confidence for pursuing environmental science. In 2019, the Marist-based MH-YES team compared rural and urban streams and the factors that influence harmful algal blooms. The Cary-based team studied the effects of dams on the ecology of the Fall Kill Creek. At the end of the six week program, teams presented their results in posters at the MH-YES Final Symposium and each wrote a final report that will be used by their mentors in their future research. Students and teachers participated in enrichment activities that supported their skills, interest and identity as scientists. They also joined students in partner programs in New York City and the lower Hudson Valley to share their experiences, attend a panel discussion on diversity in science, a workshop on science communication, and a forum on opportunities in translational ecology.