State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project ID: 2008NY105B
Title: Evaluation of sediment sources in the Hudson River Watershed
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2008
End Date: 2/28/2009
Congressional District: 22
Focus Categories: Sediments, Water Quality
Keywords: Sediment transport processes, land use patterns, erosion control strategies, runoff
Principal Investigator: Walter, Todd
Federal Funds: $ 20000
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 27450
Abstract: Sediment loads in the Hudson River continue to pose a variety of environmental and managerial problems from the headwaters to the estuary. Perhaps most tangibly, sediment deposition in the Hudson River system necessitates periodic dredging to maintain navigable ports, harbors, and marinas. Additionally, high suspended sediment loads often result in reduced light penetration into water (i.e., high turbidity) leading to reduced dissolved oxygen levels. Sediments may also facilitate the transport of some pollutants to estuaries or other sensitive aquatic ecosystems. It is difficult to accurately predict sediment erosion, transport, and deposition at the landscape scale with current models. This is especially true in the northeastern U.S. where recent land use changes are a generally a mixture of increased urbanization and abandonment of agricultural land. Increased development expands the impervious surface coverage and associated stormwater drainage, which is likely to increase peak stream discharge leading to increased stream erosive power and transport capacity. On the other hand, reversion of agricultural lands to forests likely decreases sediment loads from the surrounding watershed to streams. The goal of our proposed work is to help planners, agencies, and watershed managers target areas that are likely prone to high sediment loss and/or potentially contributing to increased erosive power in the Hudson River and its tributaries.

Progress/Completion Report, PDF

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