Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2014NY210B

Water Quality Assessment using Advanced Technology to Improve Adaptive Management of the St. Lawrence River

Institute: New York
Year Established: 2014 Start Date: 2014-03-01 End Date: 2015-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $20,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $40,050

Principal Investigators: Michael Twiss, Joseph Skufca

Abstract: Water level regulation in the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario is a key State water problem for which ecosystem-based management (EBM) is sought (ILOSLRSB 2006). According to the New York Ocean and Great Lakes Ecosystem Conservation Council (NYOGLECC) the State “should establish water resource supplies, flows and water levels as a scientific priority based on the adaptive management approach required through the New York Oceans and Great Lakes Ecosystem Conservation Act” (GLBAC 2010). Understanding baseline conditions in order to determine how changes result from restoration of more natural water level regime in the St. Lawrence River is essential. This research project has the objective to establish continuous high resolution sophisticated water quality sensor stations housed in the Moses-Saunders power dam operated by the New York Power Authority (NYPA) that will be able to provide year-round high resolution data collection ideally suited to assessing how water level regulation schemes, extreme weather events, tributary and stream inputs to shorelines, and climate change affect water quality, which in turn affects such important concerns as harmful algal blooms and American eel migration. The data generated by this project are valued by the following organizations that have provided letters of support or collaboration or have explicitly stated interest to us: New York (NYPA [J. Mayette], New York State Department of Environmental Conservation [S. Lapan], Beacon Institute for River and Estuaries [T. Sugrue]), Ontario (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources [A. Mathers], St. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental Sciences [J. Ridal]), National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA-GLERL [J. Bratton], Great Lakes Observing System [J. Read]), International Joint Commission (IJC Task Team of Adaptive Management [W. Ledger]). We have also met with environmental managers at OPG (June 2013) and expect that the USGS would also benefit from this data acquisition since they collect water intermittently from the St. Lawrence River for water chemistry analysis.