By Ryan Palmer, Director, Center for Urban River at Beczak, Sarah Lawrence College
Mar. 21, 2018: One hundred and twenty environmental leaders gathered at a regional conference organized by Sarah Lawrence College’s Center for Urban River at Beczak ("CURB") to discuss water-quality monitoring efforts in the Lower Hudson.
Watershed activists, government officials, and scientists were at Pace University on March 1 to discuss the results of citizen science water-quality monitoring along the Lower Hudson and its tributaries and how they can collaborate on solutions to local issues such as flooding and pollution from urban runoff and combined sewer overflows.
The event featured presentations from groups including Riverkeeper, the NYS DEC Hudson River Estuary Program, and others, as well as panel discussions and breakout sessions on the latest water quality initiatives. Also attending was Peter McCartt, Westchester County’s sustainability coordinator, a new position created by County Executive George Latimer, who said that attendees should expect many new significant environmental initiatives to be rolled out soon under Latimer’s leadership.
"One goal of ours was to demonstrate what we as nonprofits and academia can bring to the table to help solve our local water issues," said Ryan Palmer, director of CURB. "But we acknowledge that where new projects and policy are enacted, where the rubber actually hits the road, is typically at the municipal level. So we were very pleased that many local and county officials were on hand and eager to collaborate."
Amateur scientists sat alongside professionals on panels, reflecting the growing understanding of the critical role of citizen science in the field of watershed management. Tracy Brown from Save the Sound described the combination of bottom-up monitoring and green infrastructure projects with large-scale, agency-driven research and planning as the "secret sauce" for advancing watershed-friendly development.
Sarah Lawrence College’s Center for the Urban River at Beczak organized the event with a team of over a dozen partners, including Pace University Dyson College Institute for Sustainability and the Environment; Groundwork Hudson Valley; Riverkeeper; Bronx River Alliance; Saw Mill River Coalition; Sparkill Creek Watershed Alliance; Sustainable Westchester; Hudson River Watershed Alliance; Pocantico River Watershed Alliance; and Federated Conservationists of Westchester County. The summit was funded in part by the NYS Hudson River Estuary Program, US Environmental Protection Agency, and Westchester Community Foundation.
Pictured here: One hundred twenty environmental leaders gather at Pace University for Lower Hudson Water Summit.
Photo courtesy Ryan Palmer, Director, Center for Urban River at Beczak, Sarah Lawrence College
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