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For Release: Thursday, May 29, 2014

Mohawk River Study Kicks off

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) will undertake a three-year cooperative study of Mohawk River fish species commencing this week, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens announced today.

"Under Governor Cuomo's leadership and goals to conserve and protect fish, wildlife and their habitats in the Mohawk River watershed, this comprehensive study will help us to better understand Mohawk River fisheries and how changes in the river may have impacted fish species," said Commissioner Martens. "This is the first comprehensive study of Mohawk River fish species in more than 30 years."

This study will help implement the Action Agenda of Governor Cuomo's Mighty Waters cabinet-level work group which seeks to promote environmental sustainability and reduce the hazards of flooding in the Mohawk River Basin.

The nearly $200,000 project will be funded by DEC and the USGS and is intended to improve knowledge and understanding of contemporary fisheries in the main stem of the Mohawk River, which extends from Lake Delta Dam near the city of Rome downstream to its confluence with the Hudson River near the city of Cohoes. The study areas will encompass representative segments of the natural river, the river canal, lock sections with removable dams, and power pool segments with permanent dams.

DEC and USGS will sample fish species at multiple sites this summer utilizing a number of collection methods such as electrofishing and beach net fishing. Most of the fish collected will be returned to the river after data collection is complete. All fish collected will have their species, size, abundance and distribution documented. DEC will continue to monitor and collect samples of blueback herring, a species of concern that is declining in the Mohawk River.

In addition, the study will identify management practices that could lessen anticipated effects of invasive species, climate change or other factors that could impact fish in the main stem of the Mohawk River.

Preliminary results of the study will be available on the USGS website (which can be found in the right hand column of this page) this fall.

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