FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 16-109
October 20, 2016
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Students from Manhattan and Queens Study the Ecological Health of the East River
Students Gather at Gantry Plaza State Park to Collect Water Samples and Document the Health of the East River
Statewide, Approximately 4,700 Participants at Over 80 Locations, From Troy to New York City, Studied the Hudson River Estuary Today
Photos of the Event are Available on DEP’s Flickr Page
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today sponsored more than 75 public school students who participated in the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) a “Day in the Life: Hudson River Snapshot” educational event. The students, 12th graders from Baruch College Campus High School in Manhattan and 7th graders from Hunter’s Point Community Middle School in Queens, participated in the event during which teams collected and analyzed water samples and made environmental observations along the East River, at Gantry Plaza State Park. Students used field techniques to track the river’s tides and currents, examined the water’s chemistry and identified macroinvertebrates and fish.
“The Hudson River Snapshot event is a terrific opportunity to connect young New Yorkers to the waterways that surround the five boroughs and inspire a new generation of environmental stewards,” said DEP Acting Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. “New York Harbor is cleaner today than it has been in more than a century and we thank the students and staff from Baruch College Campus High School and Hunter’s Point Community Middle School for helping us track this progress.”
During the event, five stations were set up where the students were able to measure the river’s currents and perform tests to determine the level of turbidity, pH, salinity, chlorophyll, and dissolved oxygen in the water. The high school students were paired with seventh graders and taught them how to properly measure water quality. The seventh graders taught their high school partners the techniques they use to clean and monitor the oysters they are raising in the East River. The students were supervised by science teachers from their schools and DEP staff. DEP also supplied the equipment for the event and trained the students and teachers.
This annual event is part of DEC’s Hudson River Estuary Program, which is sponsored by the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. Now in its 14th year, the program helps prepare students to become stewards of the Hudson River Estuary’s natural resources. Statewide, approximately 4,700 students and teachers representing about 100 elementary, middle and high schools, and colleges spanning from Troy to New York City participated at over 80 different locations in the hands-on scientific exploration of the Hudson River Estuary. The data collected by the participants will be analyzed and posted on “Day in the Life: Hudson River Snapshot.”
The Hudson River is not just a river—it is a tidal estuary. The estuary makes up the lower half of the Hudson River, spanning 153 miles from the tip of the Battery to the Troy Dam. The river experiences dramatic changes in salinity, circulation patterns, tidal ranges, river width and water depth, fish species, macro invertebrate communities, and plant life. While the northern half of the river is freshwater fed by snowmelt, groundwater and rain, the southern estuary section is a tidal mix of salty seawater and freshwater.
DEP manages New York City’s water supply, approximately 1 billion gallons of water each day to more than 9 million residents, including 8.5 million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,500 miles of sewer lines and 96 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program, with a planned $14 billion in investments over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. This capital program is responsible for critical projects like City Water Tunnel No. 3; the Staten Island Bluebelt program, an ecologically sound and cost-effective stormwater management system; the city’s Watershed Protection Program, which protects sensitive lands upstate near the city’s reservoirs in order to maintain their high water quality; and the installation of more than 820,000 Automated Meter Reading devices, which will allow customers to track their daily water use, more easily manage their accounts and be alerted to potential leaks on their properties. For more information, visit nyc.gov/dep, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.