New York Water Science Center

Ecosystem Health

Ecological assessments are a central focus of multidisciplinary projects and programs managed by the NYWSC and managed in cooperation with the water and soil chemistry laboratory as well as other Federal, State, county, and city agencies, academia, and nongovernmental organizations in New York and nationwide. The NYWSC studies the condition of aquatic communities to assess the effects of various manmade and natural stressors and of resource management practices on the aquatic ecosystems and environments in the State and nationwide and in cooperation with a wide array of partners and monitors climate change indicators to identify trends and data gaps for indicators of climate and habitat change. Specific studies include the effects of forest harvesting on the health of ecosystems at headwaters, the influence of remediation of watersheds on ecosystem health, and the interactions between urban landscapes and ecosystem health.

Filter Total Items: 87
Date published: September 5, 2019
Status: Active

Status of American Eel populations in the Mohawk River Basin

Fig 1: Native range of American Eel. Map from USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species (NAS) https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/factsheet.aspx?SpeciesID=310. Background: The waters of the Mohawk River basin are inhabited by one of the richest fish communities on the East Coast. The American Eel, Anguilla rostrata, is a unique...

Date published: August 8, 2019
Status: Active

Track down survey of PCBs in three tributaries to the Niagara River Area of Concern (AOC)

Study site for SPMD sampler in a tributary to the Niagara River Background Industrial discharges of toxic and bio-accumulating compounds to the Niagara River and its tributaries have occurred over many decades. High concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) have been found in samples of fish tissue from many locations, including three tributaries to the Niagara River: Tonawanda...

Contacts: Barry P Baldigo, David Alvarez, Ph.D., Mark Filipski
Date published: April 26, 2019
Status: Active

Contaminants in fish tissues from AOCs in New York State: The Niagara River AOC

DEC collaborators collect fish from a Niagara River tributary using an electrofishing boat The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and Department of Health (NYSDOH), and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) are gathering data on chemical contaminants in fish from multiple Areas of Concern (AOCs) in New York State and plan to use this information to evaluate fish cons...

Date published: October 23, 2018
Status: Active

Harmful Algal Bloom monitoring in the Finger Lakes region, New York

Background: Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are increasingly a global concern because they pose a threat to human and aquatic ecosystem health and cause economic damages. Cyanobacterial HABs (CyanoHABs) represent a substantial threat to drinking-water supplies, aquatic ecosystem health, and safe recreational uses of freshwater resources in New York. Toxins produced by some species of...

Date published: September 4, 2018
Status: Active

Niagara River AOC-wide Benthos BUI Assessment

A USGS biologist prepares to collect a sediment sample using a petit ponar dredge. Background:The Niagara River forms the boundary between the United States and Canada and was designated as a binational Area of Concern (AOC) in 1987 because past industrial discharges and hazardous waste sites had caused extensive degradation of aquatic habitats. Within the United States (eastern) portion of...

Contacts: Scott George, Barry P Baldigo, Brian Duffy
Date published: August 30, 2018
Status: Active

Quantitative Fish Surveys of Mohawk River Tributaries

Background Fish communities of the mainstem Mohawk River and Barge Canal have been well-documented (Carlson, 2015; George et al., 2016) but comparatively less information is available regarding the current status of fish communities in tributaries to the Mohawk River. This information gap is problematic because long-term shifts in species distributions or abundances due to climate change,...

Date published: May 4, 2018
Status: Active

Long-term trends in Rainbow Trout growth and naturalized populations in the Ashokan Basin

Background: Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) have thrived in the Esopus Creek since their introduction in the 1880s. The construction of the Ashokan Reservoir in 1915 changed the fishery by providing a stable lentic environment where adult trout could grow large and find refuge during periods when stream conditions become stressful. Although many adult Rainbow Trout spend time in the...

Date published: October 31, 2017
Status: Active

Monitoring the Status and Expansion of Round Goby Populations in the Mohawk River/Barge Canal System

Background: The waters of the Mohawk River and its tributaries are inhabited by some of the most diverse fish communities in the Northeast. The construction of the Erie Canal in 1825, and later the Barge Canal in 1918, enabled the westward expansion of fishes from the Hudson River drainage as well as the eastward expansion of fishes indigenous to the Great Lakes drainage. Today, almost half of...

Contacts: Barry P Baldigo, Scott George, Christopher Rees
Date published: October 27, 2017
Status: Active

Contaminants in fish tissues from AOCs in New York State: The Buffalo River AOC 2-year post remediation

Background The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and Department of Health (NYSDOH), and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) plan to obtain data on chemical contaminants in fish from multiple Areas of Concern (AOCs) in New York State and use this information to evaluate fish consumption advisories, which are a critical component of most removal criteria for “...

Date published: October 19, 2017
Status: Active

A Comprehensive Water Resources Monitoring Program for the Central Pine Barrens Region, Suffolk County, New York

Problem Statement The sustainability of natural resources in the Pine Barrens region of Suffolk County, N.Y., is a concern for the Central Pine Barrens (CPB) Joint Planning and Policy Commission. The effects of development within and surrounding the Pine Barrens region present a risk to the quality and quantity of ground and surface water in this sensitive ecosystem. Development in the area...

Date published: September 13, 2017
Status: Active

New York Statewide Fish Collection: Contaminants in fish from the Buffalo River AOC

Background: The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) plan to obtain data on chemical contaminants in fish from multiple Areas of Concern (AOCs) in New York State and use this information to evaluate fish consumption advisories, which are a critical component of most removal criteria for “Restriction on Fish and Wildlife...

Contacts: Barry P Baldigo, Scott George, Damianos Skaros
Date published: June 9, 2017
Status: Active

Responses of fish assemblages to changing environmental conditions in the Neversink River and Rondout Creek

Problem The Neversink River and Rondout Creek are historic trout fishing and recreational streams in the heart of the Catskill Mountains of southeastern NY. Waters throughout upper reaches of both rivers currently range from neutral to severely acidic due to deposition of acid rain throughout their watersheds. Fish surveys conducted by the USGS during the late 1980s and early 1990s found that...