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RiverNet Issue #4 - Fall 2012

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NYS Department of Environmental Conservation - Hudson River Estuary Program

Hudson River Estuary and Watershed News

Stay connected through RiverNet, the Hudson River Estuary Program's e-newsletter, which covers projects, events and actions related to the Hudson and its watershed. Please email Hudson River Estuary Program with your feedback for future issues!

In This Issue:


Celebrating Milestones, 25 Years of the Estuary Program - Commentary by Estuary Coordinator Fran Dunwell

Twenty-five years ago, the 1987 creation of the Hudson River Estuary Program was the beginning of a journey that continues to evolve much like the ever-resilient ecosystem the program protects. In the past, the Hudson River endured pollution and was in need of motivated pioneers to initiate change. Today, those tireless champions of the River continue their work as we acknowledge other milestones in 2012: the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, 30 years of the Hudson River Research Reserve, and 10 years of A Day in the Life of the Hudson River.

Surrounded by scenic forest lands, the streams of the estuary's watershed provide drinking water to millions. As a spawning and nursery area for many aquatic species, the Hudson's tidal waters provide habitats for more than 200 species of fish that use the estuary to complete part or all of their life cycle. In these waters you can find stripped bass, American shad, bluefish, and blue crab. The birds that feed on the Hudson's bounty while nesting or migrating include bald eagles, herons, and waterfowl, which are often recorded in the Almanac with citizen sightings.

Through science and monitoring of water chemistry, fish movements, habitat changes, and river flows, the Estuary Program has been able to help manage the river to sustain its resources for the public to enjoy for generations to come. The dynamic ecosystem of the Hudson River estuary is globally unique and we invite you to join us in celebrating the Hudson River region through one of the many events happening in the watershed this fall!

Current Tidings

River Ecology Conference

On October 12, the annual Hudson River Watershed Alliance Conference took place at the Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz and focused on protecting the ecology of the Hudson River and its watershed. Topics included sediment management for people and the environment and the HRWA Annual Watershed Stewardship Awards were presented. Find out more.

National Water Trail Designation

Estuary Program Coordinator Fran Dunwell speaks at the announcement event at Kingston Point Beach. Photo credit: Robert Goldwitz
Estuary Program Coordinator Fran Dunwell
speaks at the announcement event at Kingston
Point Beach. Photo credit: Robert Goldwitz

This year the 13th annual Hudson River Valley Ramble began with the September 8 recognition of the Hudson River Greenway Water Trail's new designation as pat of the National Water Trail by the United State Department of Interior. The Greenway Water Trail is 256 miles in length, stretching from the Adirondack Park and Lake Champlain to Manhattan and currently includes 96 designated public access sites -- one of the first in the nation to receive the National Water Trail designation. The Estuary Program played a role in developing the water trail by funding new sites and nearly half of the water trail sites are at boat-launch sites the program helped to develop.

The designation was announced by Karl Beard of the National Park Service and Mark Castiglione of the Hudson River Valley Greenway. Water Trail enthusiasts were joined at Kingston Point Beach by Congressman Hinchey, Kingston Mayor Shayne Gallo and other dignitaries.The announcement was followed by a paddle on the Hudson River and Rondout Creek.

Tenth Day in the Life of the Hudson River

The tenth annual Day in the Life of the Hudson River on October 4 engaged approximately 3,000 students, teachers and volunteers in hands-on science exploration of the Hudson River. Held at 70 sites from New York Harbor to Troy, this year expanded to include locations on the Mohawk River and Upper Hudson. The estimated participation in this anniversary year will bring the total number of people involved to more than 20,000 since 2003. Find out more.

The crowd celebrates at the Kingston Home Port Barn Raising - Photo credit: Randall Wolf
The crowd celebrates at the Kingston Home Port
Barn Raising - Photo credit: Randall Wolf

Kingston Home Port Barn Raising

On September 15, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater and the Hudson River Maritime Museum gathered with collaborators and supporters to witness the timber frame "Amish-style" barn raising to celebrate the much anticipated Kingston Home Port and Education Center. The Estuary Program's long-term support of the development of this site for education and interpretation has included grants awarded to the city of Kingston, the Maritime Museum and and Clearwater for environmental education and watershed protection in Kingston.

As an educational center and an environmental hub for the region, the shared Kingston Home Port and Education Center will serve as the winter home for the sloop Clearwater and as a multi-purpose building for the Hudson River Maritime Museum. Clearwater and the Maritime Museum are working closely together within this partnership to redefine the waterfront and continue to revive the historic Rondout district of downtown Kingston as a center for community and maritime interests.

DEC Finalizes New York State River Herring Regulations

NYSDEC Commissioner Joe Martens announced this month that New York adopted the final changes to regulations that will reduce fishing mortality of river herring and create a sustainable fishery. River herring (alewife and blueback herring) are "anadromous" fish, which means that they spend most of their life in the ocean but return to their natal rivers to spawn. Read more.

Celebrators gather for the Clearwater Hudson River Day celebrations at the Maritime Museum on Rondout Crek. Photo credit: Randall Wolf
Celebrators gather for the Clearwater Hudson River Day
celebrations at theMaritime Museum on Rondout Creek.
Photo credit: Randall Wolf

Hudson River Day - Looking Back, Moving Forward

The fourth annual Hudson River Day 2012 was celebrated on July 21 with over 40 events happening on the River and throughout the watershed. The inaugural Great Hudson River Fish Count seining program was a success, with 29 species of fish being netted and recorded. Visit HudsonRiverDayNY.org to see all events that took place, plus news and updates related to Hudson River Day. If you have captured any additional photos that could be added to the website, please submit them to us!

Science on the River participants observe a Golden Eagle
Science on the River participants observe a Golden Eagle
Photo credit: Chris Bowser

Searchlight: Science on the River

River science was the focus on September 15 when the Hudson River Research Reserve hosted this public event at Norrie Point Environmental Center for the sixth time. Participants were able to analyze sediment cores from the cove, canoe a tidal march of the Hudson, fish in the waters at Norrie Point and enjoy the live birds of prey program. Highlights included a focus on submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) and opportunities to observe how the types of organisms living in a stream can be indicators of its health. Young visitors were entertained by educational environmental games.

Catch of the Day: Dates for Events, Activities and Volunteer Opportunities

Wetland Conservation: What Do We Have To Lose?

This presentation will take place on October 18 and 24 and will focus on the different types of wetlands that occur in the Hudson Valley. The workshops will also highlight human benefits provided by wetlands, including water filtration, flood control, mosquito control, recreation, and wildlife habitat. There will be an overview of what wetlands are protected by Federal and State programs and what local communities can do to conserve wetlands. Email Laura Heady ltheady@gw.dec.state.ny.us to learn more.

Working Together to Protect Drinking Water Sources through Watershed Protection

Protecting source water areas is vital to providing clean water, and on November 29, this workshop will focus on Orange County water supplies, highlighting the key links between land use and water quality, and take into consideration the larger watershed for drinking water supplies. Register here or contact Emily Vail eevail@gw.dec.state.ny.us to find out more.

The Web of Life: Internet Links to Vital Estuary Information

Hudson River Research Reserve is operated by New York State and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as a field laboratory for estuarine research, stewardship and education.

The Hudson River Environmental Conditions Observing System (HRECOS) (link leaves DEC's website) is a network of real-time monitoring stations on the Hudson River estuary.

Study the Hudson in your school classroom

Download free lesson plans created by Hudson River Estuary Program educators. These plans use the Hudson as a context to build understanding and skills required by state standards and tests. Approximately two dozen units are available, mainly for grades 3-7.

Contact us:

Hudson River Estuary Program
NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
21 South Putt Corners Road
New Paltz, NY 12561
email the Program
Hudson River Estuary Program web page

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Helping people enjoy, protect and revitalize the Hudson River Estuary and its Valley.