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Changes in Water Quality in Hudson River Wetlands

Level 3
Hudson River Ecology
An example of a Hudson River tidal wetland. Photo: Heather Malcom.

Hudson River Wetland Nitrate, Vegetation and DO Data

background information and more resources


The Hudson River Estuary is home to tidal wetlands from the Troy Dam to Battery Park in New York City. Wetlands play a vital role in protecting habitats for fish and other wildlife, improving water quality, and creating a buffer for storm surges and floodwaters. Wetlands are subject to environmental changes, just like every other ecosystem, but the vital role they play in stabilizing other ecosystems make it very important to understand how they work and how they are affected by human impact.

Tidal wetlands play an additional role in recycling the chemicals and nutrients that all life requires in order to live. During tidal exchange (the ebb and flood of tides that exchanges old water for new), these wetlands alter their concentrations of particles as part of nutrient cycling.

Additional Resources

There's a lot of other information available, so we recommend you look over the data files and this nitrogen reading.

Data Sampling & Compilation

Data provided for use:

  • Vegetation types at four Hudson River wetlands: Iona marsh, Roger's Point, Vanderburgh Cove, and Athens South.
  • Dissolved oxygen (DO) at the Vanderburgh Cove marsh over one week. Vanderburgh Cove was the site with the most submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) of all the sites sampled in this study.
  • Dissolved oxygen (DO) at Athens South marsh. This site had low levels of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV).
  • Nitrate-nitrogen (NO3-N) data for Iona marsh. This site had high levels of graminoid vegetation.
  • Nitrate-nitrogen (NO3-N) data for Roger's Point. This site had low levels of graminoid vegetation.

Data Source:  Stuart Findlay, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies.  Data were published in Findlay & Fischer.  2013.  Ecosystem attributes related to tidal wetland effects on water quality.  Ecology, 94(1): 117-125.