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Research Program

The Center for the Urban River at Beczak is a working field station and lab that supports academic research, environmental monitoring, and citizen science programs focused on the Hudson River and urban watersheds. In 2015 our lab was designed, built, and outfitted and since then has served 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 and regional partners, CURB's staff and SLC 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

Since 2015 CURB has been monitoring and conducting research on sewage contamination in the Saw Mill and Hudson River with a host of partners and citizen scientist volunteers. Every year 16 Saw Mill River sites and 2 Hudson River sites are sampled biweekly May through October (the recreation season when people are more likely to be in the water) and tested for Enterococcus, a fecal indicator bacteria. The samples are analyzed at CURB’s lab and reported immediately to a list of 100+ Yonkers residents, municipal staff, and elected officials, and also key county, state, and federal contacts. The results are also posted on Riverkeeper’s website, along with rainfall data, which our data shows is a huge driver of fecal contamination levels. By tracking levels of fecal contamination, CURB is highlighting key issues facing water quality in Hudson River tributaries and leading the regional conversation on how to fix them. 

Real-time Hudson River Data Collection 

A Hudson River Environmental Conditions Observation System (HRECOS) is owned and managed by CURB and is part of a state network of over a dozen such stations from Albany to NYC. The system, installed at the Groundwork Hudson Valley Science Barge, tracks real-time 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