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 10, 2015
Status: Active

Estimating chronic toxicity of waters from the St. Lawrence River at Massena Area-of-Concern using two plankton species

Background Past water-quality issues in the St. Lawrence River at Massena, NY resulted in a determination that selected beneficial uses may be impaired in a surrounding Area of Concern (AOC) and on the Canadian side of the international boundary (Cornwall, Ontario). The plankton (phytoplankton zooplankton) Beneficial Use Impairment (BUI) was so designated because impairment metrics were...

Contacts: Barry P Baldigo
Date published: August 7, 2015
Status: Active

The Effects of Watershed and Stream Liming on Mercury Dynamics at Honnedaga Lake

Problem The Adirondack region of New York has 128 lakes that are listed as impaired by acidity under section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act. Acidity can limit the survival and reproduction of native fishes such as brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis). Chronic and episodic acidification also stresses fish, aquatic macroinvertebrates, and other biota of inflowing tributaries of these and many...

Contacts: Douglas A Burns, Karen Riva Murray, Ph.D., Charles Driscoll
Date published: August 6, 2015
Status: Active

Assessing American Eel Populations in Tributaries to the Upper Delaware River

American Eel (Anguilla Rostrata) Background The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has worked in cooperation with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) over the past 11 years to study the effects of channel geomorphology and impoundments on the distribution of common and rare mussels in the Neversink River and to characterize fish assemblages in tributaries to the Upper Delaware River in New York,...

Contacts: Barry P Baldigo
Date published: August 6, 2015
Status: Active

Estimating Acute and Chronic Toxicity of Waters from the Rochester Embayment Area of Concern Using Two Plankton Species

Background Discharges from non-point sources, municipal and industrial point sources, and combined sewage overflows over the last century resulted in elevated levels of heavy metals, conventional pollutants, phosphorus, and toxic organic contaminants in water and sediments of the Lower Genesee River and Rochester Embayment. As a result, the zooplankton and phytoplankton or “plankton”...

Contacts: Barry P Baldigo
Date published: August 6, 2015
Status: Active

Estimation of PCB Loads from the Black River Basin to Lake Ontario, NY

Problem - There is a stated need to provide information on loading of persistent toxic pollutants to Lake Ontario from New York tributaries. The information is specifically required for the Lake Ontario Mass Balance Model, which is an integral part of the long-term Great Lakes research. The project described here is designed to demonstrate a cost-effective approach for estimation of loads of...

Contacts: David A Eckhardt
Date published: August 6, 2015
Status: Active

Geomorphology, Biology, & Stability of Catskill Mountain Streams, New York

Problem - The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP) Stream Management Program, in cooperation with local Soil and Water Conservation Districts, is implementing stream-restoration demonstration projects to decrease channel bed and bank erosion and improve water quality (lower suspended sediment and turbidity) in several priority streams of the Catskill Mountain Region...

Contacts: Barry P Baldigo
Date published: August 6, 2015
Status: Active

Estrogenicity in Streams of New York State

Problem Almost 1900 public, private, and commercial waste-water treatment plants (WWTPs), many located upstream of drinking water intakes or within tributaries to water-supply reservoirs, are permitted to release effluents into surface- or ground-waters across New York State. More than 150 facilities have New York State SPEDES permits to discharge waste waters in the New York City East of...

Date published: August 6, 2015
Status: Active

Mercury concentration in water, sediment, and fish in the Neversink watershed, New York

The distribution of mercury (Hg) and sites of greatest Hg methylation are poorly understood in Catskill Mountain watersheds. Although concentrations of Hg in the water column are low, high concentrations of Hg in smallmouth bass and walleye have led to consumption advisories in most large New York City reservoirs in the Catskill Mountains. Mercury in natural waters can exist in many forms...

Date published: August 6, 2015
Status: Active

Response of Fish Assemblages to Changing Acid-base Chemistry in Adirondack Long Term Monitoring Lakes, 1984-2012

Background The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and Adirondack Lakes Survey Corporation (ALSC) repeatedly surveyed fish assemblages and characterized water chemistry from 44 to 52 lakes during the periods 1984-1987 and 1994-2005, and 2008-2012 to document the regional effects of acidic deposition and potential recovery associated with the 1990 Clean Air Act...

Contacts: Barry P Baldigo, Scott George, Karen Roy, Charley Driscoll
Date published: August 6, 2015
Status: Active

Natural Resources of the Neversink River Watershed

Problem - A variety of factors potentially impact natural resources in the Neversink River basin and in other tributaries to the Upper Delaware River along the New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey boarders in the northeastern US. Increased urbanization within most watersheds of the Delaware River has decreased forested lands and ground permeability; fractionated forests, streams, and rivers...

Contacts: Barry P Baldigo
Date published: August 6, 2015
Status: Active

Potential Recovery of Water Chemistry and Stream Biota from Reduced Levels of Acid Deposition at a Sensitive Watershed in the Catskill Mountains, New York

The Catskill Mountains of southeastern New York receive among the highest loads of acid deposition in New York and the northeastern U.S. Additionally, the Catskills are underlain by sandstone and conglomerate, which is base poor and weathers slowly. Thus, the Catskills contain numerous streams with low (< 50 µeq/L) acid-neutralizing capacity (ANC) and are sensitive to impacts from atmospher...

Date published: August 6, 2015
Status: Active

Regionalization of Channel Geomorphology Characteristics for Streams of New York State, Excluding Long Island

Problem - Geomorphologic techniques for stream channel and bank restoration are fast becoming the techniques of choice among federal, state, county, and local agencies to reduce suspended sediment loads, reduce flood damage, improve aquatic habitat, and generally stabilize stream channels. One reason for this upswing in use is that appropriate application of these techniques has been shown t...