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2020 Mohawk Watershed Symposium - Abstract Volume

Authors:
  • State University of New York Polytechnic Institute at Utica/Rome

Abstract and Figures

The 12th Mohawk Watershed Symposium was cancelled due to Covid-19. This abstract volume, which was essentially complete at the time of cancellation, is the record of the meeting that did not happen. Over the years this Symposium has taken on an important role in unifying and galvanizing stakeholders in the watershed. A coalition of invested stakeholders allows us as a group to tackle important issues that affect water quality, recreation opportunities, flood mitigation, and other basin-wide issues. By all measures, 2019 was a big year in the watershed. The historic 2019 Halloween Storm caused significant damage in the upper part of the watershed, especially in the West Canada Creek, East Canada Creek, and a number of smaller tributaries. Aid from FEMA for individual assistance was denied and this has caused considerable distress for those with damaged homes. A major effort this year was the work of the Reimagine the Canal task force. This task force took on a number of issues related to the entire Erie Canal, which was divided into Western, Central, and Mohawk sections. Issues included water for irrigation, invasive species, flooding, and ice jamming. The Mohawk was perhaps the most complicated because the Canal and the main stem of the Mohawk need to co-exist despite change in the watershed. The task force effort included the Mohawk Flood Assessment aimed at evaluating benefits from a number of flood mitigation strategies along the length of the River. It also acted on a separate report on ice jamming in the Schenectady Pool in front of the Vischer Ferry Dam, at Lock E7. The Vischer Ferry Dam (VFD) on the lower Mohawk has been under the spotlight for years – in part for its suspected role in causing ice jams that then can flood the Stockade of Schenectady. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license is coming up, so NYPA, the dam owner, started the renewal process last year for both the VFD and the Crescent Dam, just downstream. The FERC review process can force significant environmental review of the ways in which dams integrate into the local ecosystem and relate to river hydrology. Meanwhile, the City of Schenectady continues formulating its ambitious plan to use FEMA funds to mitigate flooding in Stockade. The plan moving forward may involve elevating or perhaps moving homes in a managed retreat. This plan is intertwined with mitigation efforts for ice jamming at the VFD because jamming causes back-up flooding that can affect the Stockade. Water quality remains a central issue in the watershed and a growing number of stakeholders are involved in this effort. For a healthy and vibrant ecosystem we need clean water. The health of our waters can only be assessed from hundreds of measurements taken across the watershed by students, educators, and dedicated professionals from SUNY Cobleskill, SUNY Polytechnic in Utica, Union College, Cornell, Schoharie River Center, Riverkeeper, DEC, USGS, and others who have been addressing water quality through research. These critical measurements include quantifying the distribution, source, and fate of environmental contaminants including fecal bacterial, microplastics, nitrogen, phosphorus, and others. Stewardship and education are a critical piece of effective watershed management. Stakeholder meetings such as the Mohawk Watershed Symposium, and local water advocates (including West Canada Creek Alliance, Riverkeeper, and Dam Concerned Citizens) play a key role in identifying problems, educating the public, and effecting change where it is most needed. Youth education programs centered on water quality and ecosystem health, such as the Environmental Study Teams at both the Schoharie River Center and Fort Plain High School, insure that all our waterways pass into the hands of the next generation of active, engaged, and knowledgeable stewards. The meeting this year would have featured approximately 30 presentations covering a wide range of topics. We were delighted to see so many familiar names and we welcome those new to the Mohawk Watershed Symposium. We will be back as soon as possible. Abstracts include: Reimagining the Erie Canal / Mohawk River as flood risk mitigation resource K. Avery, B. Juza . S. 6893 Flood Buyout Bill M. Buttenschon, J. Griffo Detection, quantification and identification of enteric bacteria in the upper Hudson River – a pilot study J. Cohen, N. Geier, K. Songao, O. Spencer, A. LoBue, W. Quidort Algal community dynamics in the lower Mohawk River A. Conine, M. Schnore Relating microbial diversity to nitrogen cycling in the Mohawk River and diverse freshwater ecosystems J. Damashek, A. Dautovic, C. Garrett Stockade resilience: adaptive preservation on the Mohawk River, Schenectady, New York K. Diotte Increasing fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) counts in the Mohawk River and elsewhere in the Hudson watershed since 2015 J. Epstein, B. Brabetz, A. Juhl, C. Knudsen, N. Law, J. Lipscomb, G. O’Mullan, S. Pillitteri, C. Rodak, D. Shapley Notes from a Watershed – The Mohawk River J. Garver The Halloween flood of 2019 in the Mohawk River watershed C. Gazoorian Streamflow capture along the Mohawk River: determining transit time to municipal well-field J. Gehring, M. Stahl, D. Gillikin, A. Verheyden-Gillikin Eastward expansion of invasive Round Goby towards the Hudson River S. George, B. Baldigo, C. Rees, M. Bartron Pervious concrete offers a prospective solution to contaminated runoff threatening water quality A. Ghaly The swinging environmental pendulum: how policies and attitudes shift with changes in US administration A. Ghaly eDNA methods help reveal barriers to American Eel (Anguilla rostrate) migration into the Mohawk River, New York H. Green, M. Wilder, H. Miraly, C. Nack, K. Limburg Naturalizing the Mohawk River: navigating the political challenges of change S. Gruskin “Plastic Pollution: Nurdles and the Coleco Connection” Utilizing digital storytelling by youth to educate the public about emergent environmental concerns in their community K. Hensley, F. Staley, C. Cherizard, A. Francisco, L. English, D. Carlson, P. Munson, J. McKeeby, S. Hadam, E. McHale Numerical modeling of breakup ice dynamics in the lower Mohawk River F. Huang, H. Shen, J. Garver A five-year series of snap-shots: Data and observations of Enterococci and Escherichia coli levels from a Mohawk River water quality project as it enters Year Six of a longitudinal study N. Law, B. Brabetz, K. Boulet, A. Giacinto, C. Rodak, J. Epstein, J. Lipscomb, D. Shapley A flood insurance analysis of Schenectady’s Stockade district W. Nechamen Potential opportunities for tributary reconnections within the Erie Canal and Mohawk River A. Peck, K. France, R. Shirer Exploring baseline water quality conditions in the Mohawk River: Observations of fecal indicator bacteria during the Fall of 2018 and Summer of 2019 C. Rodak, E. Haddad Mohawk River watershed modeling in SWAT M. Schnore, A. Conine Microplastic pollution in Mohawk River tributaries: likely sources and potential implications for the Mohawk Watershed J. Smith, E. Caruso, N. Wright Is there a Corps of Engineer/State Flood Control role in the Mohawk Basin? R. Wege Climate related discoveries, 62 years of daily CO2 measurements, and the Keeling Curve F. Wicks Enterococci levels in the Hans Groot Kill and Mohawk River, Schenectady, NY E. Willard-Bauer, J. Smith, J. Garver, D. Goldman, B. Newcomer Incorporating ice jam flooding into regulatory base flood elevations at the historic Schenectady Stockade J. Woidt, J. Rocks
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