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: 89
Date published: August 19, 2015
Status: Active

Development of a Coordinated Water Resources Monitoring Strategy for the South Shore Estuary Reserve, Long Island NY

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is collaborating with the New York Department of State (NYDOS) Office of Planning and Development to prepare a new Long Island South Shore Estuary Reserve (SSER) Coordinated Water Resources Monitoring Strategy (CWRMS). Since 2000, when the last CWRMS was published, numerous research projects and studies are demonstrating several new threats to the ecologic...

Contacts: Shawn C Fisher
Date published: August 19, 2015
Status: Active

Whole Ecosystem Restoration Through Liming of Honnedaga Lake Tributary Watersheds

Summary Acid rain levels in the Adirondack region have substantially declined and recovery from acid rain is underway. Recovery is being limited by the depletion of soil calcium that occurred over past decades. Not only is calcium needed for neutralizing acidity, it is an essential nutrient for terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. However, recovery of soil calcium has not yet been observed...

Date published: August 18, 2015
Status: Active

Mercury Deposition in the Biscuit Brook Watershed

This project provides weekly wet-only mercury deposition samples at the Mercury Deposition Network (MDN) station in the Biscuit Brook watershed at the Frost Valley YMCA. The station has been in operation since 2004 and is currently funded by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). This is the only MDN station located in the Catskill Mountains and one of only 3 st...

Date published: August 14, 2015
Status: Active

Detection and Quantification of Oxygenated Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (oxy-PAHs) in Groundwater Near the Former Manufactured Gas Plant in Bay Shore, N.Y.

Introduction As a result of storage and disposal practices at a former Manufactured Gas Plant, or MGP, in Bay Shore, NY, a variety of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) have been detected at high concentrations in the surficial, upper glacial aquifer of Long Island. Levels of PAHs initially detected over 10 years ago were in the parts-per-thousand range within a groundwater contaminant...

Contacts: Shawn C Fisher, Paul Misut, Steven D Zaugg
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...