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: 85
Date published: September 10, 2015
Status: Active

Mercury Bioaccumulation in Fish in New York's Streams and Rivers

Background Although New York State has more than 70,000 miles of streams and rivers, little is known about the status, distribution, and trends of mercury (Hg) levels in stream fish, or the environmental drivers of these patterns. Streams and their riparian zones provide critical habitat for fish, birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, and serve as the interface between aquatic and...

Date published: September 3, 2015
Status: Active

Assessment of Acidic Deposition Effects on the Chemistry and Benthos of Streams of the East-Central Adirondack Region

Project Summary. The Western Adirondack Stream Survey (WASS), conducted in 2003-2005, showed that acidic deposition was causing toxic forms of Al to move from soils to streams in 66% of the 565 watersheds assessed in the study region. The WASS encompassed only 20% of the Adirondack region, and for the remaining 80% (referred to hereafter as the East-Central Adirondack region), there is l...

Contacts: Gregory Lawrence, Barry P Baldigo, A J Smith, Karen Roy
Date published: September 2, 2015
Status: Active

Effects of acid rain on the ecological health of Long Island’s forests and ponds

BACKGROUND Air emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels in electrical power plants, building heating systems and vehicles are the major source of gaseous sulfur (SOx) and nitrogen (NOx) oxides in the atmosphere. These oxides dissolve in atmospheric moisture forming ions which are deposited by rain, snowfall and dust particles as acidic deposition. Acidic deposition releases soluble...

Date published: September 2, 2015
Status: Active

Regional assessment of sugar maple health and associated soils conditions in the contiguous Oswegatchie and Black River Basins in the western Adirondack Mountains, N.Y.

Abstract The proposed research will provide a regional assessment of sugar maple health and associated soils conditions in the contiguous Oswegatchie and Black River Basins in the western Adirondack Mountains and will develop/refine relationships among watershed characteristics, soils chemistry, and responses of vegetation to acidic deposition. This project is extremely important for the...

Contacts: Gregory Lawrence, Timothy Sullivan, Scott W. Bailey
Date published: September 2, 2015
Status: Completed

Appalachian Trail MEGA-Transect Atmospheric Deposition Effects Study

The Appalachian Trail (AT), a 14-state footpath from Maine to Georgia, is a unit of the National Park Service that is cooperatively managed and maintained by the National Park Service (NPS), the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, AT Club volunteers, the USDA Forest Service, and other public land-management agencies. Upper elevation and ridge-top ecosystems, which comprise much of the trail corr...

Date published: August 31, 2015
Status: Active

Development of a Graphical User Interface (GUI) to Predict Streamflow Statistics using USGS Streamstats and Precipitation from Downscaled Global Climate Change Models

Background Climate change during the past century has resulted in changes to precipitation amounts, form (rain vs. snow), as well as frequency and intensity in the northeastern US (Huntington et al., 2009). Additional changes in precipitation are forecast for the 21st Century as the global and regional climate is expected to warm substantially (Hayhoe et al., 2007). These ongoing and proje...

Contacts: Douglas A Burns
Date published: August 31, 2015
Status: Active

Effects of flow alteration on ecological health of streams across the Atlantic Highlands Ecoregion

Problem: The Clean Water Act (PL 92-500) requires that the health of the Nation’s rivers and streams be assessed on a regular basis, and in the Northeast such assessments often use information from aquatic biological communities that live in the stream. Biomonitoring programs implemented by individual states evaluate biological data to assess stream health on the premise that certain...

Date published: August 28, 2015
Status: Active

The Effectiveness of Total Mercury as a Surrogate for Methylmercury in Aquatic Invertebrates

A. BACKGROUND Aquatic macroinvertebrates, such as dragonfly larvae or crayfish have great potential for Mercury (Hg) monitoring, both as indicator organisms (or "sentinels'), and to provide critical information on Hg in lower food webs to assist in interpreting fish Hg levels. Despite these advantages, macroinvertebrates are not widely used in Hg monitoring because of the current need to...

Date published: August 28, 2015
Status: Active

Status of benthic macroinvertebrate communities and toxicity of sediments in the Eighteenmile Creek Area of Concern, New York

Background: The USGS propose a collaborative investigation with the NYSDEC to evaluate the current condition of benthic macroinvertebrate communities and toxicity of bed sediments in the Eighteenmile Creek Area of Concern (AOC). Sediment-toxicity data provided by the USGS and benthic-community data provided by the NYSDEC from inside the AOC will be compared to similar data from non-AOC sites...

Contacts: Barry P Baldigo, Scott George, Brian Duffy
Date published: August 28, 2015
Status: Active

Status of benthic macroinvertebrate communities and toxicity of sediments in the Niagara River Area of Concern, New York

Background: The USGS propose a collaborative investigation with the NYSDEC and NOAA to evaluate the current condition of benthic macroinvertebrate communities and toxicity of bed sediments in the Niagara River Area of Concern (AOC). Using a probabilistic study design, sediment-toxicity data compiled by the USGS, invertebrate community data collected by NYSDEC, and sediment-chemistry data...

Contacts: Barry P Baldigo, Scott George, Brian Duffy
Date published: August 27, 2015
Status: Active

Effects of Watershed and In-stream Liming on Accelerated Recovery of Macroinvertebrate Assemblages in Tributaries to Honnedaga Lake

Background Acidification of lotic and lentic environments has been found to adversely affect the integrity of resident biological assemblages. These effects have been particularly severe in poorly buffered regions like the Western Adirondacks. Although the Clean Air Act and its amendments have greatly reduced levels of atmospheric deposition, many streams in this region are still chronical...

Date published: August 27, 2015
Status: Active

Long-term Effects of the Clean Air Act on Water Toxicity and Brook Trout Survival in Acidified Streams of the Southwestern Adirondacks, 1984-2017

Background Forested watersheds in the southwestern Adirondack Mountains of New York received some of the most acidic deposition in North America from the 1970s through much of the 1990s (NADP 2005). Thus it is not surprising that associated effects on surface-water quality and ecosystems in lakes and streams of the southwestern Adirondack Mountains of New York were investigated to various...

Contacts: Barry P Baldigo