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Catskill Research Updates: Stream Restoration & Health

Catskill Science Collaborative Fellows to share the results of their summer research.

Join us for session 2 of the Catskill Science Collaborative’s Research Fellowship Program updates. Topics to be explored include: assessing efficacy of stream restoration projects and measuring stream habitat quality.

The Catskill Research Fellowship Program was developed to engage graduate and undergraduate students in research that addresses gaps identified by natural resource managers in the Catskills. Students conduct research with a professor in collaboration with advisors from natural resource management organizations.

Session 2 will include presentations by Jenny (Kezhen) Wang of Cornell University and Brenden Bixby of State University of New York Cobleskill:

Evaluating suspended sediment and turbidity reduction from stream restoration projects 
Jenny (Kezhen) Wang, Cornell University

Implementing stream restoration projects at suspended sediment-sourced headwater basins can be effective to help reduce turbidity in water supplies. However, it is often difficult to assess the effectiveness of these restoration projects due to changing hydrologic conditions, which can indicate natural system recovery. We are proposing a framework of techniques to provide more rapid feedback for the assessment of the projects that can guide additional investment decisions.

This research was done in partnership with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.

Use of the Rosgen Salmonid Index to predict habitat quality in Catskill streams
Brenden Bixby, SUNY Cobleskill

We use the newly developed Rosgen Salmonid Index to quantify habitat quality for trout and invertebrates in Catskill streams. We selected five stream sites that were either restored, in need of restoration, or a reference for restoration. To complete the index, we quantified the sites’ geomorphology and scored physical habitat variables. We also collected invertebrate samples at each site to compare with overall index output and to the predictions of invertebrate habitat quality. Understanding the factors that promote quality habitat will be helpful in modifying restoration designs to maximize benefits to aquatic organisms.

This research was done in partnership with the Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program, New York City Department of Environmental Protection, and the United States Geological Survey.

About the Catskill Science Collaborative

Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies hosts the Catskill Science Collaborative, a program funded by the NY State Environmental Protection Fund through a grant with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The Catskill Science Collaborative facilitates and communicates environmental science in the Catskill Region by sharing science with the public, promoting science-informed resource management, and enabling data- and idea-sharing among scientists working in the Catskills.