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: August 14, 2015
Status: Active

Simulation of Streamflow and Water Quality by a Precipitation-Runoff Model of the Tonawanda Creek Basin in Western New York

Problem Nutrients and sediment are generated by and removed from agricultural and urban areas, transported in streams, and ultimately delivered to the Great Lakes. The nutrients stimulate excessive algal growth and potentially cause noxious blooms and hypoxia. Sediment increases turbidity near stream mouths and, when deposited, can smother bottom-dwelling animals, drive fish from affected a...

Contacts: William F Coon
Date published: August 14, 2015
Status: Active

Changes in Soil and Stream Water Chemistry in Response to Reduction in Acid Deposition in the Catskills

Summary The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Long Term Monitoring (LTM) network has supported the collection of stream chemistry data in the Catskills since the 1990s. Trends in stream chemistry have periodically been evaluated in these streams but the most recent assessments only extend through the early 2000s. An updated assessment of stream chemistry trends will help evaluate the...

Date published: August 14, 2015
Status: Active

Developing and Implementing Predictive Models for Estimating Recreational Water Quality at Great Lakes Beaches

The Great Lakes Restoration initiative (GLRI) template #77 (Beach Recreation Water Quality) in cooperation with 23 local and state agencies expanded the use of predictive modeling at 45 beaches throughout the Great Lakes (fig 1). Local agencies measure fecal-indicator bacteria such as Escherichia coli (E. coli.) along with easily obtained environmental variables used as surrogates to estimate...

Date published: August 14, 2015
Status: Active

Assessment of Groundwater Resources to Adapt to Climate Change at Fire Island, New York

Summary Fire Island National Seashore (FIIS) occupies 42 km of the barrier island for which it is named that lies off the southern shore of western and central Suffolk County, Long Island, N.Y. Fire Island is underlain by a complex aquifer system consisting of unconsolidated glacial, lacustrine, deltaic, and marine deposits of clay, silt, sand, and gravel that range in age from Late Cretaceo...

Contacts: Paul Misut
Date published: August 14, 2015
Status: Active

Mercury Cycling and Bioaccumulation in the Upper Hudson River Basin--Fishing Brook

BackgroundDetailed investigations of mercury cycling and bioaccumulation have been done in the Upper Hudson River basin (upstream of the Hudson River near Newcomb, in New York's Adirondack Mountains, with a focus on the Fishing Brook sub-basin, part of the western headwaters of the Hudson River. This study is part of a National mercury study that includes a concurrent study of McTier Creek, a...

Date published: August 13, 2015
Status: Active

Assessing Spatiotemporal Patterns in Fish Assemblages from Acid-Sensitive Streams in the Adirondack and Catskill Mountains

Background With few exceptions, the contemporary and past effects of acidification on fish populations and communities in streams across acid-sensitive regions of NY have not been documented. The pervasive lack of information only permits anecdotal insight into the spatial effects of acidification on stream-fish assemblages and essentially precludes any broad effort to quantify temporal tre...

Date published: August 13, 2015
Status: Active

Organic Wastewater Contaminants in New York City Watersheds

Problem - In August 2000, eleven sites were sampled from 9 streams within the Croton watershed for pharmaceuticals and other organic compounds associated with wastewater as part of a national study of these compounds in streams receiving wastewater discharges. Results from the national study indicated that streams in the Croton Reservoir downstream of sewage treatment plants had concentrati...

Date published: August 13, 2015
Status: Active

Organic Wastewater and Pesticide Monitoring at Key Points in the New York City Reservoir System

Problem Samples were collected from 10 Key Point sites in the New York City Reservoir system as part of the cooperative USGS-New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) statewide pesticide monitoring project ( Phillips and others, 2000). Ten pesticides were detected in the key-point samples collected between January 1999 and September 2000 - the herbicides atrazine, meto...

Date published: August 13, 2015
Status: Active

Estimating Loading Above and Below Agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs) and Combined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) in the Genesee River Watershed

The current information available for the Genesee River and watershed is insufficient to assess if the Beneficial Use Impairment (BUI) delisting criteria for the Rochester Embayment Area of Concern (AOC) can or have been met. With on-going and future projects that are implementing best practices to control soil erosion and the reduction of nutrients that reach the Rochester Embayment, the...

Contacts: Brett Hayhurst
Date published: August 13, 2015
Status: Active

Use of telemetry to assess potential effects of Schoharie Reservoir waters on trout populations in the Upper Esopus Creek

Background - Turbid waters originating in the Schoharie Reservoir allegedly impair habitat and resident trout populations in Upper Esopus Creek; however, to date no scientific studies have documented adverse affects of altered thermal, suspended sediment (turbidity), and flow regimes on survival, growth, or behavior of trout or the health of their populations. The 424 mi2 Esopus Creek...

Contacts: Barry P Baldigo
Date published: August 13, 2015
Status: Active

Quantitative assessment of water quality in the Upper Esopus Creek using fatty acid content of periphyton

Problem - The Esopus Creek is located in the Catskill Mountains of New York State and is part of the New York City (NYC) drinking water supply system. The basin was dammed in 1915 to form the Ashokan Reservoir splitting the creek into Upper (upstream of the reservoir) and Lower segments. The Schoharie Reservoir, located 27 miles north of the Ashokan Reservoir, supplies water to Upper Esopus...

Date published: August 13, 2015
Status: Active

Didymosphenia geminata in the Upper Esopus Creek: Seasonal changes in density and distribution, controlling environmental factors, and potential ecosystem impacts

Background The invasive diatom Didymosphenia geminata (didymo) has historically been a wide-spread, but rare, micro algae found in moderately flowing cold-water streams of North America, Europe, Asia, and (more recently) New Zealand. Demographic patterns of didymo have recently changed resulting in greater spatial coverage and temporal persistence (e.g. blooms) in streams worldwide. Didymo...