January 2020
monthly newsletter
Update from the Hudson River Watershed Alliance
Water Quality Monitoring Workshop
We held a workshop on water quality monitoring at SUNY New Paltz on December 5. The session focused on best practices for monitoring, including setting goals, managing data, engaging communities, partnering with researchers, building a monitoring program, working with the DEC, and how to shift gears when new questions arise. We also discussed the importance of communicating information to different audiences.

Presentations are posted on our website here .
Upper Hudson Speaker Series
On December 13, we held our Upper Hudson Speaker Series at Brown's Brewing Company in Troy. Thanks to Bill Simcoe and Neil O'Connor from the Albany Water Department for sharing their work on the Patroon Creek daylighting project! See the article below for more details.

We're looking forward to continue our lunch lecture series in the Capital Region in 2020.
Watershed Highlight:
Patroon Creek Daylighting in Albany
Schematic of the Patroon Creek daylighting project (Albany Water Department).
1876 map of Tivoli Lake and the Patroon Creek, to the north, when Tivoli Lake was Albany's source of drinking water. (map: Albany Water Department)
1913 map of sewer infrastructure along Tivoli Lake and Patroon Creek. (map: Albany Water Department)
2016 Tivoli Lake Preserve visioning plan, which included daylighting and restoring the Patroon Creek as a goal.
(Albany Water Department)
(Albany Water Department)
(Albany Water Department)
(Albany Water Department)
(Albany Water Department)
(Albany Water Department)
“Daylighting” a stream means restoring a waterbody that had been buried, and allowing it to see the light of day. Many rivers and streams have been buried over time; this can be very damaging to streams and their health. While expensive and complex, daylighting can have many benefits, including improving water quality, urban flooding, and infrastructure. Many are familiar with the large-scale daylighting of the Saw Mill River in Yonkers, and American Rivers has published an excellent guide to the benefits of daylighting streams. 

At the Hudson River Watershed Alliance's Upper Hudson Speaker Series event in December, Bill Simcoe and Neil O’Connor from the Albany Water Department described a new project to daylight and restore the Patroon Creek in Albany’s Tivoli Park Preserve . About 6 miles long, the Patroon Creek begins in Albany’s Pine Bush Preserve and flows through Albany before entering the Hudson River at the Corning Preserve. 

The Patroon Creek is a very flashy stream, in that during wet weather, its flows are much higher than dry weather. Base flow in the Patroon Creek is between 10-30 cubic feet per second, while it can reach over 600 cubic feet per second during a storm. (This information is from the USGS stream gage on the Patroon Creek.) This would lead to flooding, and was also a challenge for design. 

Tivoli Lake and the Patroon Creek have long been associated with Albany’s water infrastructure. In the 1850s, Tivoli Lake was formed with water from Patroon Creek, as part of Albany’s drinking water supply. By the late 1800s, industry and development upstream required Albany to find alternative sources of drinking water, though Tivoli Lake served as a reservoir until about 1910. In 1913, the City of Albany built a sewer around Tivoli Lake and along Patroon Creek, which is shown in the map to the right.

Tivoli Park Preserve was created in 1917, with Tivoli Lake intended for swimming, skating, and other recreation. 10 years later, in 1927, the City of Albany buried the portion of the Patroon Creek in Tivoli Park Preserve. This disconnected the Patroon Creek’s flow from Tivoli Lake, which the city hoped would improve recreation. This also reduced the flow of water entering Tivoli Lake, causing the lake to grow smaller over time.

More recently, infrastructure problems in this area showed the need for a different approach. In 2007, a sink hole opened next to a manhole structure that was part of the buried stream segment, and repairs failed in 2011 after Tropical Storms Irene and Lee. A 2016 visioning plan for Tivoli Park Preserve included daylighting and restoration of Patroon Creek as a goal. 

Construction of the daylighting project took place between November 2018 and November 2019. Project goals included improving water quality, habitat, and infrastructure. Other goals included protecting critical drinking water infrastructure and revitalizing Tivoli Park Preserve as a destination.

The Patroon Creek daylighting project cost $2.8 million overall, with $1 million from NYS DEC’s Water Quality Improvement Program grants and $1.2 million from Environmental Facilities Corporation’s Green Innovation Grant Program . The City of Albany worked with CHA Consulting and contractor WM. J. Keller & Sons Construction. 

Stream daylighting is complex. The existing pipe where the creek was buried was in bad shape, water quality was poor, and the space for stream restoration was tight with existing infrastructure, including sewers and railroad tracks. Daylighting designs had to be reconsidered after a January 2019 storm undermined the stream channel that was under construction. In the end, the redesign and the ability to be flexible led to a more successful project. 

A flyover video of the project site under construction in August 2019 is posted here .

The new Patroon Creek channel includes a series of pools, riffles, and small waterfalls through Tivoli Lake Preserve. During floods, overflow from the stream channel will enter Tivoli Lake.

The project team worked with NYS Department of Environmental Conservation to make sure the project aligned with goals for fish passage, including leaving 3-inch gaps between rocks for small fish to swim upstream. NYS DEC also took water quality samples before the project began, and will assess water quality afterward. They plan to monitor plant health and the impact of invasive species like Japanese knotweed.

In 2020, the City of Albany will be working on a trails project in Tivoli Lake Preserve to bring Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant trails to access the Patroon Creek. 

An ambitious undertaking, the Patroon Creek daylighting project is an excellent example of how stream restoration can help improve urban parks, stream health, and infrastructure.
Events & Opportunities
Thursday, February 13
Watershed Breakfast Lecture Series:
Sediment and Turbidity Research in the Upper Esopus Watershed
Plaza Diner, New Paltz, NY
8 AM - 9:30 AM

Every 2nd Thursday of the Month, Hudson River Watershed Alliance hosts a breakfast lecture. In February, Dany Davis, Geologist/Research Coordinator, NYCDEP Stream Management Program, will discuss will discuss a long-term research project with U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to characterize suspended sediment and turbidity in the upper Esopus Creek watershed.

New York State Urban Forestry Council: Quick Start Grant Funds due February 14

The intent of this grant is to help municipalities establish a community forestry program and move toward becoming a Tree City USA community. Communities (and not-for-profits that work with communities) can apply for up to $1,000 funding for communities to hold a 2020 Arbor Day tree planting event and to establish a community-based forestry program.

Bank of America: Community Resilience Grant Program due February 21

Bank of America and the Arbor Day Foundation have partnered to create the Bank of America Community Resilience Grant Program. This $50,000 grant opportunity is designed to amplify resiliency projects within low-to-moderate income (LMI) neighborhoods, increasing green infrastructure in the areas that need it most.

NYS DEC Hudson River Estuary Program: Trees for Tribs application due March 1

The Hudson Estuary Trees for Tribs Program offers free native trees and shrubs to plant along streams in the Hudson River estuary watershed. Applicants must complete an application, and if the project is selected, recruit volunteers for planting, and maintain the site after the planting is complete. Program staff can help you with a planting plan and work with your volunteers. 

NOAA: Environmental Literacy Grants due March 26

Supporting the education of K-12 students and the public for community resilience. The goal of this funding opportunity is to build environmental literacy of K-12 students and the public so they are knowledgeable of the ways in which their community can become more resilient to extreme weather and/or other environmental hazards, and become involved in achieving that resilience.

Patagonia: Corporate Grants Program applications due April 30

Patagonia’s Corporate Grants Program supports small grassroots activist organizations with provocative direct-action agendas, working strategically on multi-pronged campaigns to preserve and protect our environment. They help local groups that work to protect local habitats and frontline communities through bold, original actions.


Hudson River Estuary Program/New York State Water Resources Institute: Water Resource Specialist, application due February 14

The position will be part of a multi-disciplinary team charged with managing and protecting the Hudson Estuary and its watershed through science, outreach, and partnerships targeting both the main-stem Hudson River and specific tributaries of concern. A primary focus will be to assess and characterize water quality in the Hudson River and its tributaries, as well as the possible interactions of the Mohawk and upper Hudson River watersheds. As an integral member of the Estuary Program and WRI team, the position will assist in identifying threats to the full use of the Hudson River Estuary and watershed, while helping to develop and implement corrective actions to address impacts and concerns.

Cornell Cooperative Extension Ulster County: Stream Barrier Assessment Technician, application due February 27

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County is seeking a temporary Stream Barrier Assessment Technician to assist in implementing a watershed scale, multi-objective road-stream crossing assessment (geomorphic compatibility, aquatic organism passage, structural condition, hydraulic capacity). This is a temporary, full-time (40hrs/week), partially benefits eligible position. The preferred candidate will work for approximately 25 weeks from April to September, 2020.

Housatonic Valley Association positions

Housatonic Valley Association has 2 internships and a crew leader position available for the summer 2020 field season. See link for details on each position.


Hudson River Foundation: Tibor T. Polgar Fellowships application due February 10

The Tibor T. Polgar Fellowship program is a student research program conducted through the Hudson River Foundation in cooperation with NYS DEC. This program provides a summertime grant ($5,000 for each fellowship) and research funds (up to $1,500) for eight college students (undergraduate or graduate) to conduct research on the Hudson River. The objectives of the program are to gather important information on all aspects of the River and to train students in conducting scientific studies and public policy research.

Hudson River Environmental Society: McKeon Research Grant Application due February 10

The McKeon Research Grant is available for High School, Undergraduate and Graduate
student research on environmental issues in the Hudson Valley. Grants of up to $1,000 will be given to help defray the cost of summer field work. 

NYWEA: N.G. Kaul Memorial Scholarship application due February 28

Applications are being accepted for the N.G. Kaul Memorial Scholarship. In honor of the former Director of DEC's Division of Water, up to $5,000 in scholarships is available to students pursuing graduate or doctoral degrees in environmental/civil engineering or environmental science concentrating on water quality who show a commitment to government service.

Hudson River Foundation: Mark B. Bain Fellowships application due March 10

In 2020, the Foundation will award up to six full-time research fellowships to advanced graduate students conducting research on the Hudson River system. A fellowship awarded to a doctoral student will include a stipend consistent with the policy of the student’s graduate institution, in an amount of up to $19,000 for one year, and an incidentals research budget of up to $1,000. A fellowship awarded to a master’s level student will include a stipend consistent with the policy of the student’s graduate institution, in an amount of up to $15,000 for one year, and an incidentals research budget of up to $1,000.
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.