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New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Awards Third Round of Mohawk River Watershed Grants

The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation awarded more than $155,000 in Mohawk River Basin Program grants for four projects in the Mohawk River watershed. These grants, funded by the state Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) will help to improve water quality, promote resiliency and create recreational opportunities in the communities, all in keeping with the goals outlined in the Mohawk River Basin Action Agenda. Grants were awarded to the following organizations:

Oneida County Soil and Water Conservation District: $50,000 for the Washington Mills Sewer Line Protection and Streambank Stabilization project.  This project involves the stabilization of an existing sanitary sewer line in the Sauquoit Creek that is exposed as a result of streambank erosion. This project will also restore the stream's natural function and improve habitat in this urbanized and channelized stretch of Sauquoit Creek. This stretch of stream has been encroached upon by development which has created a barrier to fish passage within the channel. A low flow channel will be installed to accommodate fish passage in low water.

Research Foundation for SUNY Cobleskill: $50,000 for the Community Science Water Quality Monitoring to Support Data Collection, Student Engagement and Public Outreach project. SUNY Cobleskill and its partners will perform water sampling blitzes from May through October in the Mohawk River and its major tributaries. Results from each testing blitz will be analyzed and mapped to help identify trends of chronic or unexpected contamination. Additionally, K-12 STEM educators from Middleburgh High School and the Madison Oneida BOCES New Visions Program in Utica will be trained to use standard testing and analysis procedures and will serve as liaisons with community members.

Onondaga Environmental Institute: $40,473 for the Lessons for the Mohawk River, Youth Engagement and Environmental Stewardship project. This project will engage youth through classroom lessons and field activities for students in the New York Mills, Oriskany, Utica and Waterville school districts. Students will learn about key ecological, watershed and anthropogenic concepts critical to the understanding of the Mohawk River ecosystem. Educational programs designed to increase environmental awareness and stewardship will focus on the Mohawk River watershed. Student posters about issues impacting the Mohawk River watershed will be on display at various schools and/or local libraries so students and adults can recognize their role in preserving the health of the Mohawk River.

The College of Saint Rose: $15,200 for the Investigation of Microplastic Pollution in the Mohawk River project. Undergraduate science students from the College of Saint Rose will partner with the Schoharie River Center in Burtonsville to collect Mohawk River water and sediment samples from Rome, NY to the confluence of the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers in Waterford, NY. The samples will help quantify microplastic particle pollution and help identify potential pollution sources to better understand the environmental threat posed by microplastics in personal care products. Maps showing microplastic concentrations and potential sources will be prepared and made available for use by state, regional and local entities.