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2017 Mohawk River Watershed Grants Awarded for Six Projects

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The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has awarded more than $200,000 in grant funding for six project. The grants, funded by the state's Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) will help to improve water quality, promote resiliency and create recreational opportunities for watershed communities, all goals outlined the Mohawk River Basin Action Agenda. Grants have been awarded to the following organizations:

Oneida County Soil and Water Conservation District: Ninemile Creek Natural Channel Stream Bank Stabilization Project ($50,000)

The Oneida County SWCD in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will stabilize 200 feet of the southern bank of Ninemile Creek to restore the stream bank and reduce downstream sedimentation through creation of a natural, self-maintaining stable stream that will improve aquatic habitat.

Research Foundation for SUNY Polytechnic Institute: Determination of Baseline and Augmented Conditions of Microbial Indicators in the Mohawk River ($50,000)

Building upon positive results of an initial 2016 SUNY Poly study, this project proposes to construct baseline distributions of the microbial indicators E.coli and enterococci at 10 locations in the Utica/Rome area of the watershed, as well as seek to identify microbial contaminant sources, predict microbial concentrations following rain events, and provide guidance on the risk/recover of the river to microbial contamination events.

Onondaga Environmental Institute: Lessons for the Mohawk River: Youth Engagement and Environmental Stewardship ($42,227)

A continuation of a previous Mohawk River Basin Program grant where the Onondaga Environmental Institute partnered with the Oriskany school district to develop and pilot classroom lessons and field trips about the Mohawk River watershed, stream ecology and water quality, this project seeks to expand the number of students reached by providing teachers with tools and support to incorporate this curriculum into their classrooms, and ultimately help normalize the incorporation of Mohawk River watershed-based lessons into schools throughout the watershed.

Town of Niskayuna: Aqueduct Park River Access Upgrades ($37,825)

Creation of a new bulkhead, dock anchoring system, walkway and stormwater management measures at a Mohawk River public access point in Aqueduct Park. This proposal will improve water quality by reduction of riverbank erosion, improve public access to the river, protect existing docks from severe weather and flooding and create a safer, more accessible gangway to the docks for people launching kayaks and canoes.

Trustees of Union College: Investigation of Microplastic Pollution in Tributaries of the Mohawk River ($15,630)

A continuation of previous Mohawk River Basin Program grant which demonstrated that microplastic pollution is pervasive in the Mohawk River, but which remained unclear as to specific sources. This project will focus on clarifying the role of tributaries in delivering microplastics to the Mohawk River and will involve collecting samples of river water from tributaries along the length of the Mohawk River and quantifying the microplastic load from each tributary.

Research Foundation for SUNY Brockport: Mapping Manure-Sensitive Karst Zones for Farmers in Schoharie County ($14,842)

Identification and mapping of sinkholes and other karst-related features utilizing oblique imagery, which will be converted into GIS shapefiles. Mapping will be provided to farmers and other interested agencies to implement manure management practices to protect domestic groundwater supplies, reducing the potential recharge of liquid manure into the carbonate aquifer via sinkholes and thinly soiled karst features. A brochure will be produced on how to identify karst and a workshop conducted to share maps and findings with agricultural planners, and a field trip that will include a Google earth/iPhone demonstration.