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For Release: Thursday, October 20, 2016

DEC Commissioner Seggos Joins Local Student Scientists for "Day in the Life of the Hudson River Estuary"

Annual Hudson River Fact-Finding Day Connects Students with River and New York Harbor

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today that shorefronts up and down the Hudson River and the piers of New York Harbor are bustling with activity as thousands of local students armed with seine nets, minnow pots, and water testing gear collect data and study the Hudson River's 200-plus species of fish and myriad invertebrates during DEC's annual "A Day in the Life of the Hudson River Estuary" event. Commissioner Seggos joins dozens of students and their teachers at Corning Preserve in Albany as they collect and analyze real data during this hands-exploration. Students also examine water chemistry and quality across New York State.

"The Day in the Life of the Hudson River Estuary gives students the chance to experience the tidal Hudson River firsthand with its diverse habitats and fishery, learn how scientists are working to protect this irreplaceable resource, and get inspired to become the River's future stewards and protectors," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "From the Hudson's headwaters in the Adirondacks to New York Harbor, the River's ecosystems are linked in ways that offer myriad benefits for not only our state, but the environment as a whole."

One hundred schools and thousands of students, from first grade to college, are partnering with DEC Hudson River Estuary Program staff and environmental education centers to collect scientific data using hands-on field techniques to capture a snapshot of the River's ecology at more than 80 sites. The data collected by students will provide insights into an ecosystem spanning 160 miles of the Hudson River and New York Harbor and will be posted online within a few days of the event. Participating classes represent the diversity of the schools in urban, suburban, and rural communities along the Estuary.

"Day in the Life" gives students the opportunity to don waders or use a fishing rod to collect data on many of the Hudson's fish, from the abundant Atlantic silverside, to the lined seahorse and spotted hake, each caught only once. Most are young fish, evidence of the Hudson's importance as a nursery habitat. Students also examine the physical and chemical aspects of the river using a range of equipment. High-tech refractometers and simple plastic hydrometers are used to measure salinity and find the salt front - the leading edge of diluted seawater pushing up the estuary.

"A Day in the Life provides a great opportunity to form connections to the Hudson," said Meg Maisch, Rondout Valley High School Biology and Environmental Science Teacher. "It gives them the experience to become stewards of their local estuary, now and in their future lives."

Estuary Program staff connect the field day with the classroom by conducting pre- and post-visits to numerous schools participating in the event. Lessons on-site and in the classroom fulfill state learning standards in a variety of subjects. Additionally, students learn about the Hudson River Environmental Conditions Observing System (HRECOS), a computerized network of real-time monitoring stations extending from Manhattan to the Mohawk River. Dissolved oxygen levels, water temperature, turbidity, and other parameters are measured by HRECOS every 15 minutes and posted online at HRECOS.org. The data can be used to help students better understand the dynamic factors that are constantly impacting the Hudson River ecosystem.

Now in its 14th year, "Day in the Life" is sponsored by DEC's Hudson River Estuary Program, in partnership with the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve, DEC Stamford Fisheries, the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, Cornell University's New York State Water Resources Institute, and the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission.

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