Life depends on fresh water. As the human population grows, freshwater protection has emerged as one of the most critical issues facing society. For the more than 10 million people living in the Hudson River drainage, fresh water is also an issue of local concern. Is the Hudson River clean? Does it support fish? Will it continue to serve as a source of potable water for Poughkeepsie and beyond?
For three decades, our scientists have been researching the Hudson River, from the way shoreline development impacts water quality to how invasive species influence resident plants and animals. By treating the river as an integrated system—with research sites spanning from Troy, NY, to the Tappan Zee Bridge—our Hudson River Ecosystem Study has gained an unprecedented insight into the river’s ecosystem.
As a result of Cary Institute research, the Hudson River is one of the most scientifically-scrutinized rivers in the world. With more than one hundred papers published in scientific journals, as well as popular magazine, radio, and television coverage, our research team is informing sound river management.
Our regional work river, lake and fog systems has global applications; our scientists are also working on freshwater projects in Wisconsin, Chile, New York’s Adirondacks, the Midwestern U.S., and the Grand Canyon reach of the Colorado River. Information revealed includes Chilean forests being fed by fog, genetically-modified crops polluting Midwestern agricultural streams, and the Glen Canyon Dam reducing populations of the endangered humpback chub. Through involvement in the Global Lake Ecological Research Network (GLEON), Cary scientists are engaged in a team science approach to better understand freshwater ecosystem response to global change.