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Research Program

The newest initiative for the Center for the Urban River at Beczak is the development and implementation of a working field station and lab to support academic research, environmental monitoring, and citizen science programs focused on the Hudson River and urban watersheds.

In 2015 the field station was designed, built, and outfitted. We envision the field station as a dynamic space with multiple uses and audiences, ranging from a teaching and demonstration space for middle and high school students, to a new research hub for SLC students, faculty, and visiting scientists.

CURB's research program focuses on urban environments and the unique challenges and solutions they present. Working with local government, regional partners, and visiting scientists, CURB's staff and SLC's faculty and students are tackling issues that have real quality of life impacts on our Hudson River cities, such as stormwater management and Combined Sewer Overflow, daylighting and green infrastructure planning and demonstrations, habitat preservation and restoration, and river fisheries and biodiversity.

Specific areas of interest for long-term study include:

Water Quality Monitoring

In partnership with Riverkeeper, Groundwork, and YPRC, CURB is monitoring and conducting research on sewage contamination in the Saw Mill and Hudson River. By examining levels of fecal contamination, CURB hopes to highlight key issues facing water quality in Hudson River tributaries, and make suggestions for improvement. A county-wide study from Yonkers to the headwaters in Chappaqua will give a better understanding of the overall health of the watershed, and a focused study of the daylighted portion of the Saw Mill will lead to a better understand the impact of daylighting projects, and the relationships between urban development, public health, and ecological integrity.

Real-time Hudson River Data Collection 

A Hudson River Environmental Conditions Observation Station (HRECOS) is owned and managed by CURB and Columbia's Earth Institute, and part of a state network of 13 such stations from Albany to NYC. The system tracks real-time weather data and river parameters such as temperature, pH, salinity, dissolved oxygen, chlorophyll, and turbidity, creating a long-term baseline data set for additional study and analysis.

Migratory Eel Migration Study 

In cooperation with the NYS DEC Hudson River Estuary Program, CURB is tracking the migration of first year "glass" American Eels as they make their way up the Estuary. This regional study seeks to better understand migration patterns to guide future conservation efforts. CURB's station is the only one in the state that tracks the eel's use of a recreated urban tidal marsh.

Seining Data 

As part of CURB's youth education and community programs, hundreds of river seining data points are collected each year. These fish species richness and biodiversity data provide important long-term tracking of trends, particularly when coupled with regional partner data, such as during the NYS DEC "Day in the life of the Hudson River" event.

We welcome and encourage support and collaboration with regional research institutions, nonprofit organizations, and agencies to help us meet these goals.

For more information please contact our Director, Ryan Palmer