For 20 weeks starting in May, volunteer citizen scientists from local boathouses and community groups collect weekly water samples for the CWQT program at boat launches and docks from Yonkers to Jamaica Bay. The River Project, the primary lab for the program, works with scientists at Sarah Lawrence Center for the Urban River at Beczak, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at the Columbia University Earth Institute, John Jay College of Criminal Justice Department of Sciences, Queens College School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Brooklyn College, Rocking the Boat, LaGuardia Community College Biology Department, Bronx River Alliance, St. Francis College Biology Department, and SUNY Maritime College to test the samples for microbes of the genus Enterococcus using US EPA approved protocols.
Enterococci live in the feces of humans and other warm-blooded animals. Their presence in the water is an indication of fecal pollution and the possible presence of pathogens that could be harmful to human health. Combined sewer overflow discharges and storm water runoff from streets are the primary contributors to fecal pollution in the Hudson River.
Results from The River Project and partner labs are disseminated to the public via the New York City Water Trail Association website, social media, and email blast every Friday evening throughout the boating season.
The goal of our program is to create a baseline of data that, when correlated with rain and tide information, can help better inform boaters and other recreational users of the harbor of likely water quality at their preferred access points and launch sites. We include basic tide and rainfall information along with our results to give boaters, other recreational water-users, and public interest groups the information they need to interpret our results and make informed decisions for utilizing the harbor safely.
If you would like to volunteer or be added to our water testing email list please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We invite all interested parties to join our google group at https://groups.google.com/d/forum/cwqtp