|The state Department of Environmental Conservation awarded more than $155,000 in Mohawk River Basin Program grants for four projects in the Mohawk River Basin Watershed, (DEC) Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today. These grants, funded by the state Environmental Protection Fund, will help to improve water quality, promote resiliency and create recreational opportunities in the community, all goals outlined in the Mohawk River Basin Action Agenda.
“The Mohawk River is an essential environmental and economic treasure, and these grants will advance critical projects to preserve and protect the health of the River and its watershed,” said Acting Commissioner Seggos. “This is the third year DEC has offered grants to support important local projects in the Mohawk River Basin, and I applaud all the successful recipients and look forward to watching their projects advance.”
The Mohawk River Basin Action Agenda was developed in collaboration with numerous local, state and federal agencies and organizations that share a common interest in the conservation and revitalization of the Mohawk River, its watershed and communities. The Action Agenda, which is implemented through the DEC’s Mohawk River Basin Program and its partners, strategically identifies opportunities to:
- conserve, protect and restore fish, wildlife and their habitats;
- protect and improve water quality in the Mohawk River Basin area;
- promote flood hazard risk reduction and enhanced flood resiliency;
- revitalize Mohawk River Basin communities through sustainable development; and
- maintain working landscapes by supporting well-managed farms and forest lands.
DEC awarded grants to the following organizations:
- Oneida County Soil and Water Conservation District: Washington Mills Sewer Line Protection and Streambank Stabilization – $50,000
This project involves the stabilization of an existing sanitary sewer line in the Sauquoit Creek that was 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 the 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: Community Science Water Quality Monitoring to Support Data Collection, Student Engagement and Public Outreach – $50,000
SUNY Cobleskill and its partners will perform a second year of 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 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, Inc.: Lessons for the Mohawk River, Youth Engagement and Environmental Stewardship – $40,473
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 the 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 watershed.
- The College of Saint Rose: Investigation of Microplastic Pollution in the Mohawk River – $15,200
Undergraduate science students from the College of Saint Rose in partnership with the Schoharie River Center in Burtonsville will collect Mohawk River water and sediment samples from Rome to the confluence of the Mohawk and Hudson rivers in Waterford. 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.
DEC’s Mohawk River Basin Program and the Mohawk River Basin Action Agenda were developed to bring together various local, state and federal agencies and other interested organizations who share a common passion for the conservation and preservation of the Mohawk River, its watershed and communities. For more information on the Mohawk River Basin Program please visit: Mohawk River on DEC’s website.