This 2013 Hudson River Science Symposium: “The State of Hudson River Science” is the first of this nature since 1985, according to Biologist for New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Chuck Nieder.
Nieder said the symposium will cover an array of important environmental topics including scientific understanding of the Hudson River and environments, the drivers behind the science and future challenges. There will also be an opportunity for scientists, resource managers, educators and students to share ideas, he said.
One of the guest speakers, Dr. Dennis Suszkowski, director of the Hudson River Foundation, will be talking about the future of the Hudson River, specifically the current economic situation affecting environmental efforts and whether or not funds will be available for the kinds of science needed for the future.
“I think it’s been a lot of terrific science that has gone into the Hudson River,” Suszkowski said. “We’ve learned a lot about it. A lot of the science that has been generated has been very useful for management and public policy decisions.”
In general, the Hudson River has had a remarkable recovery over the last three years in terms of the amount of pollution being added to it and the water quality has been much better than in the past, he said.
Suszkowski said the two main issues he worries about for the future are maintaining the water quality with the funding and fully understanding the issues.
“There’s a lot to celebrate – the river is a lot cleaner than it was, although you will find problems,” he said. “We still have PCBs, but at the same time, the levels of classic contaminants are down.”
According to Suszkowski, New York Harbor has lost 80 percent of wetlands over the past few centuries, which the symposium will also cover.
There will be several presentations made by more than half a dozen specialists throughout the day, which will be followed by a poster session for visual aid and a reception, according to the Conference Program. Some guest speakers include several distinguished, doctrine-level experts in the field who will discuss a range of topics such as Hudson River fish, contaminants, ecology and science.
“I’m honored to be part of [the symposium]. A lot of the speakers there are top notch scientists,” Suszkowski said. “From the science end of things, it really is an excellent opportunity. It’s a good group of people.”
The Center for Research, Regional Education and Outreach (CRREO), host and co-sponsor of the event, has been planning this symposium with Neider since June 2012, according to Janis Benincasa, assistant director of CRREO.
“Independently and in collaboration with local governments, business and not-for-profits in the Hudson Valley, CRREO’s research mission is to conduct studies on topics of regional interest, bring visibility and focus to these matters, foster communities working together to better serve citizenry and advance the public interest in our region,” Benincasa said.
The symposium will take place in the Student Union on Wednesday, April 24 from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.