Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Citizen Science Volunteer Opportunities in the Hudson River Estuary

Every year, hundreds of volunteers help DEC scientists and naturalists collect data on fish and wildlife and plant native trees along Hudson River tributary streams. You, too can get involved! We invite you to participate in any of the following outdoor opportunities. These projects are conducted through partnerships with the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve and Cornell University.

Download our Citizen Stewardship Volunteer Opportunities handout (PDF) (600 KB)

A volunteer helps salamanders cross the road

Amphibian Migrations and Road Crossings Project

In early spring, forest amphibians move from their woodland habitat to breed in vernal pools, often making dangerous road crossings. Volunteers can help conserve salamanders, frogs, and toads by moving them to safety during migrations; locating high-mortality crossings; and collecting data on this spring phenomenon. Following guidance on the DEC website, volunteers survey roads or known crossings for a few hours during "Big Night" migrations, usually in late March or early April. All ages are welcome, but younger volunteers should be closely supervised due to road safety concerns. This project is a partnership with Cornell University. Visit the Amphibian Migrations and Road Crossings webpage or contact

American Eel Research

High school students sample their local stream for juvenile eels

We are looking for volunteers to help monitor juvenile glass eels as they enter Hudson River tributary streams from the ocean. The American eel (Anguilla rostrata) is in decline over much of its range, and we are conducting baseline studies to aid conservation efforts. Volunteers help collect glass eels using specialized nets and traps on Hudson River tributaries. The young eels are counted, weighed, and released upstream, often above barriers to continue their migration. Volunteers can assist at streams from New York City to Greene County. This requires mostly outdoor field work from late March through May, with very flexible schedules. All volunteers under 18 are accompanied by an adult experienced in the eel research project. On-site training is provided. For more information visit the Eel Project webpage or contact or contact: or at the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve.

Hudson Estuary Trees for Tribs

Volunteers plant trees along a stream

Hudson Estuary Trees for Tribs (tributaries) program engages volunteers in restoring thousands of feet of streamside buffer through native trees and shrub planting. The program offers land owners free native trees and shrubs for qualifying riparian (streamside) buffer planting/restoration projects. Trees for Tribs staff may also be able to assist with plant selection, designing a planting plan, and other technical support to improve the odds of success for projects.Trees for Tribs hosts volunteers for a seedling potting event on Arbor Day in late April (April 29, 2016) at NYSDEC Region 3 Office in New Paltz. Planting projects take place throughout the Hudson Valley in May and September. All ages are welcome, but younger volunteers must be accompanied by an adult. On-site training is provided. Visit the Hudson Estuary Trees for Tribs webpage to learn more.

Hudson River Cooperative Angler Program

A Hudson River angler with a striped bass

Do you fish for striped bass in the Hudson River? Whether you catch-and-release or take home a keeper, you can be part of the Cooperative Angler Program. Share your fishing trip information and help biologists understand and manage our striped bass fishery.

Here's how it works: Fill out a logbook provided by us whenever you fish on the Hudson River (by boat or on the shore). Record general location, time, gear used, what you caught (or if you didn't catch anything) and return the logbook when you are done fishing. You'll receive an annual newsletter summarizing the information in addition to the latest news regarding regulations and the river.

Join today! Call or e-mail Jessica Best at 845-256-3009;