September 2019
monthly newsletter
Annual Conference: Healthy Landscapes
Tuesday, October 29
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Wallace Center, FDR Library & Home
4079 Albany Post Rd, Hyde Park, NY

$65 early bird through Sept 30 ($75 starting Oct 1), $45 student rate

Register here !
Thomas Cole, River in the Catskills, 1843
The Hudson River Watershed Alliance’s annual conference brings together people working throughout the Hudson River watershed to share experiences, information, and best practices.

This year our conference theme is Healthy Landscapes . An emotional connection often inspires community members to work towards protecting local water resources; however, these efforts can reveal tensions between aesthetics and different needs or desires for the watershed. This year’s conference will showcase how our values inform our perspectives on what a healthy landscape looks like, and how that impacts our work on rural, suburban, and urban watersheds.

The conference agenda will also include updates on statewide initiatives, networking, and case studies from planners and practitioners on improving and protecting our valuable, regional water resources. 

To sponsor the conference, click here!
Update from the Hudson River Watershed Alliance
Connecting Our Streams
We held a full-house workshop on how culverts and dams act as barriers for fish and stream flows, and what we can do about it. Presentations focused on moving from assessments to actions to improve stream connectivity and reduce flood hazards, with case studies and next steps. Presentations are are posted here .

Presented in partnership with the NYS DEC Hudson River Estuary Program, NEIWPCC, and the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve.
Capital Region Programs
The Upper Hudson Speaker Series returns to Brown's Brewery in Troy on Friday, September 27! Martin Daley from Capital District Regional Planning Commission will give an update on the Albany Pool Long Term Control Plan. More information below.

We're also hosting a follow-up meeting for the Albany County Land Use Leadership Alliance training that was held with Pace University this spring. Thursday, October 3 from 1-4 PM at Five Rivers Environmental Center in Delmar. This meeting is open to anyone interested in Albany County water issues. RSVP here.
Watershed Highlight
Harmful Algal Blooms
Photo: 2016 Wallkill River HAB in New Paltz
Photo: 2016 Wallkill River HAB in Rosendale, at NYS DEC boat launch
Photo: 2019 HAB in Sturgeon Pool (Wallkill River Watershed Alliance)
Photo: Brian Duffy from NYS DEC presents water quality monitoring results at the 2019 Wallkill River Summit.
Photo: Martha Cheo and Craig Chapman, organizers of the Great Wallkill River Race & Festival (Hudson Valley One)
Harmful Algal Blooms (or HABs, for short) can turn waterbodies bright green, or can look like scattered green dots in the water, long green streaks, pea soup or spilled green paint, or blue-green or white coloration. Algae are part of a natural river system, and most blooms are harmless. However, exposure to toxins and other substances from certain HABs can make people and animals sick. HABs also threaten water quality, recreational use of waterbodies, and ecosystem health. While scientists do not fully understand what causes a HABs to occur and produce toxins, HABs occur most often in waters that are high in phosphorus and/or nitrogen. 

It can be hard to tell a harmful bloom from a non-harmful algal bloom. NYS DEC recommends avoiding swimming, boating, fishing or other recreation in discolored water that looks like it might have a bloom. If you see a suspicious algal bloom, you should report it to NYS DEC here .

HABs have been detected in nearly 400 waterbodies in New York State since 2012.
In 2019, NYS DEC launched a new online HABs map and reporting system called NYHABs . This system has an interactive map that is updated daily with reports of HABs, along with a new public reporting form. The map also shows locations where blooms have been reported during the season but are not currently active. More information on NYSHABs is here .

In addition to many lakes and ponds, HABs have also been confirmed in rivers and streams, including the Wallkill River and Wappinger Creek. 

In 2016, a major toxic HAB was confirmed in the Wallkill River. This bloom stretched 30 miles, from Montgomery in Orange County to Rifton, near Kingston. Although a bloom of that magnitude has not been reported in the river since, HABs were confirmed in the Masonic Creek (tributary to the Wallkill River in Orange County) in 2018 and in Sturgeon Pool in Rifton in 2019. (At Sturgeon Pool, the Wallkill River is dammed and forms a lake.)

Follow up water quality monitoring in 2017 and 2018 by the Wallkill River Watershed Alliance in partnership with Riverkeeper and the NYS DEC confirmed that nutrient levels are very high in this area. Data were shared at the Wallkill River Summit, which has become an important forum for NYS DEC to present data, the public to demonstrate their interest in the river’s restoration, the Wallkill River Watershed Alliance to provide updates, and to drive change. In 2019, DEC announced it would develop a TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) for the Wallkill, a plan to identify and reduce sources of nutrients. A Wallkill River TMDL would be only the second for a river in NYS, after the Mohawk River.

Even though HABs can make waterbodies unsafe at certain times, we should still celebrate our rivers and streams! We should take steps to understand and manage our risks, while also working to improve conditions so HABs are less likely to occur. To work towards each of these goals, the Wallkill River Watershed Alliance is hosting their first annual Great Wallkill River Race & Festival tomorrow (Saturday, September 14, or Sunday, September 15 in case of rain) in New Paltz. The race is about a mile, with prizes for winners in age categories. Live music, environmental resource fair, and lots of other activities will be at Sojourner Truth Park in New Paltz from 10 AM-2 PM. More information on the event is posted here .  
Events & Opportunities
Saturday, September 14
Small Streams: Values, Threats, and Protection
Five Rivers Environmental Center
Delmar, NY
9 AM - 4 PM

Organized by Hudsonia & NYS DEC Hudson River Estuary Program

Friday, September 27
Upper Hudson Speaker Series:
Update on Albany Pool Long Term Control Plan
Brown's Brewing Company
Troy, NY
12 PM - 1:30 PM

Featured speaker: Martin Daley, Capital District Regional Planning Commission

Thursday, October 3
Albany County Land Use Leadership Alliance Follow Up
Five Rivers Environmental Center
Delmar, NY
1 PM - 4 PM

A follow-up to the Land Use Leadership Alliance training held this spring, this meeting is open to anyone interested in Albany County water issues. We'll discuss the training, case studies of watershed work in Albany County, and next steps to improve inter-municipal coordination.

Thursday, October 10
Breakfast Lecture Series:
A Preliminary & Critical Look at Green Infrastructure Incentive Programs in Cities
Plaza Diner
New Paltz, NY
8 AM - 9:30 AM

Featured speaker: Michael Finewood, PhD, Pace University
Tuesday, October 29
Hudson River Watershed Alliance Annual Conference
Wallace Center, FDR Presidential Library
Hyde Park, NY
9:30 AM - 4 PM

Thursday, November 14
Breakfast Lecture Series
Plaza Diner
New Paltz, NY
8 AM - 9:30 AM
Thursday, December 5
Water Quality Monitoring Workshop
The Terrace, SUNY New Paltz
New Paltz, NY
9:30 AM - 4 PM

Friday, December 13
Upper Hudson Speaker Series
Brown's Brewery
Troy, NY
12 PM - 1:30 PM

Housatonic Valley Association: New York Water Manager position available

The Housatonic Valley Association is seeking an enthusiastic and qualified individual to lead our New York Watershed Management program. Reporting to the Watershed Conservation Director, the New York Watershed Manager plans and executes the day-to-day operations of HVA’s New York Watershed Program, including our environmental planning and management work in the Ten Mile, Green and Williams River watersheds in Dutchess and Columbia Counties.

NYS DEC: Urban and Community Forestry Grants Information Sessions

In advance of Round 15 of grants, which are expected to be announced this fall, grant information sessions are being held. The Urban and Community Forestry grants program is a reimbursement grant program for communities based on partnerships, volunteers, community groups, and professionals. Eligible project categories included tree inventories and management plans, tree planting, maintenance, and education programming. The previous grant round Request for Applications is available on their website (link above).

NYS Environmental Facilities Corporation: Water Infrastructure Improvement Act grants due September 13

Municipalities are eligible to apply for funding for quality infrastructure projects at municipally-owned sewage treatment works OR municipally-owned public water systems for construction, replacement or repair of infrastructure; or compliance with environmental and public health laws and regulations related to water quality, in the following categories:
  • Water Infrastructure Improvement Act Wastewater Infrastructure Projects: Depending on the size of the project, applicants may receive funding for up to 25 percent of net eligible project costs, or a maximum of $25 million, whichever is less.
  • Water Infrastructure Improvement Act Drinking Water Infrastructure Projects: Applicants may receive funding for up to 60 percent of net eligible project costs, or $3 million, whichever is less.
  • Intermunicipal Water Infrastructure Grants Clean Water and Drinking Water Projects: Applicants may receive funding for up to 40 percent of net eligible project costs, or $10 million, whichever is less.
The Hudson River Watershed Alliance unites and empowers communities to protect their local water resources
This newsletter is supported in part by the Hudson River Estuary Program, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, with support from the New York State Environmental Protection Fund, in cooperation with the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission.