Mohawk River Ice Jam Monitoring

Science Center Objects

The Mohawk River near Schenectady, NY is prone to ice jams during periods of river-ice break-up. Ice jams in this reach typically form at channel constrictions, bridge piers, lock and dam structures, and sections with a reduced floodplain (Foster and others, 2011). Ice jam related flooding can result from backwater associated with the jam or from water released downstream when a jam fails. Schenectady is particularly vulnerable to ice jam related flooding; Lederer and Garver (2001) estimated that 80% of historic Mohawk River floods in Schenectady have been associated with winter snowmelt and associated ice floes.

In cooperation with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the New York State Power Authority, Brookfield Renewable Power, and Union College, the New York Water Science Center developed a monitoring system and interactive dashboard to help emergency managers efficiently and effectively assess river conditions and the potential for ice jam flooding along the Mohawk River near Schenectady, NY. The dashboard, which includes near real-time observations of river height and live web cam imagery is available at https://ny.water.usgs.gov/maps/mohawk-icejam