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 11, 2015
Status: Active

Hydrologic Assessment of the Shallow Groundwater-Flow System Beneath the Shinnecock Nation Tribal Lands, Suffolk County, New York

Background The Shinnecock Nation is located on the south fork of eastern Long Island adjacent to the town of Southampton to the east, and the hamlet of Shinnecock Hills to the west, in Suffolk County, NY. Shinnecock Nation tribal lands encompass approximately 1.2 square miles and are bounded to the east and west by tidal creeks, and to the south by Shinnecock Bay. The Shinnecock Nation has a...

Date published: August 11, 2015
Status: Active

Assessment of Regional Forest Health and Stream and Soil Chemistry Using a Mulit-Scale Approach and New Methods of Remote Sensing Interpretation in the Catskill Mountains of New York

The overall goal of this project has been the development of forest health and sensitivity indicators and “1st-generation” maps of potential sensitivity to disturbance for lands within watersheds of the NYC water supply in the Catskill Mountains of New York. The methodologies and data layers created in this effort can now be used to aid management decisions and help determine the extent and...

Contacts: Jason Siemion
Date published: August 11, 2015
Status: Active

Balancing Wetland Functions in an Urban Setting -- Water-Quality Improvement and Habitat Preservation, Ellison Park Wetland, Monroe County, New York

The Ellison Park wetland, a 423-acre, predominantly cattail marsh at the mouth of Irondequoit Creek in Monroe County near Rochester, N.Y., was evaluated for its potential role to decrease phosphorus loads that are derived from a 151-square-mile largely urbanized area and that ultimately enter and exacerbate efforts to ameliorate the eutrophic conditions in Irondequoit Bay. Monroe County's wa...

Contacts: William F Coon
Date published: August 10, 2015
Status: Active

Sediment toxicity and status of benthic invertebrate communities in the St. Lawrence River and its tributaries within the Massena Area-of-Concern

Background Past water-quality issues in the St. Lawrence River at Massena, NY resulted in a determination that selected beneficial uses were impaired in a surrounding Area of Concern (AOC) and on the Canadian side of the international boundary (Cornwall, Ontario). The benthic macroinvertebrate community or “benthos” Beneficial Use Impairment (BUI) was designated degraded because impairment...

Contacts: Barry P Baldigo, Brian Duffy
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...