State Water Resources Research Institute Program


Project ID: 2007NY93B
Title: The mystery of chloride in Hudson Valley Streams: An opportunity for involving local citizens and government in puzzle solving
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2007
End Date: 2/28/2008
Congressional District: 21
Focus Categories: Methods, Groundwater, Surface Water
Keywords: Chloride levels, surface waters, groundwater, sampling, local watershed groups
Principal Investigators: Findlay, Stuart; Kleppel, Gary
Federal Funds: $ 13,743
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 18,556
Abstract: There are regional and national reports of rising chloride levels in diverse surface waters and while there is general agreement that de-icing road salts are the ultimate source there are several unexplained aspects. Most striking is the observations of persistently high chloride concentrations during summer and autumn long after one would expect flushing of a mobile solute from surface and shallow groundwaters. Secondly, why are concentrations increasing over the long-term even in areas where salt application in the watershed has not increased? Resolution of these questions requires a research program ideally suited to involvement of local watershed groups who can 1) provide the necessary person-power and focus to obtain certain types of samples and 2) provide the local connection to town boards and planners who need to appreciate the scope and implications of the issue. In short watershed groups are essential to get the science done and can act as the familiar conduit for communication with officials. The sampling effort will benefit greatly from local residential involvement because it calls for small-scale and event sampling which requires people in the field. The strength of this project is direct involvement of citizen groups in generating the scientific information germane to the problem and transferring these findings to local government. We believe this project will 1) help answer a science question (described below), 2) provide important tools to local groups suitable for application to additional watershed issues and 3) test the notion that communication with local decision makers is best carried out by residents and neighbors.

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