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Citizen Sampling Begins on the Quassaick Creek


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On August 7, 2014, citizen scientists took their first Enterococcus samples of water in the Quassaick Creek, a tributary that flows through parts of Ulster and Orange Counties before meeting the Hudson at the border between the City of Newburgh and the Town of New Windsor.

The project is spearheaded by the Quassaick Creek Watershed Alliance, with support from Riverkeeper. The samplers are measuring bacterial counts of Enterococcus, an EPA-recommended indicator of fecal contamination. Where there are high levels of fecal contamination, there is increased risk of illness from exposure to pathogens in the water.

The Alliance is sampling 14 sites on 17 miles of streams, including:

  • recreational access points;
  • up or downstream of the Town and City of Newburgh’s drinking water reservoirs;
  • sites coinciding with biomonitoring sampling conducted by Orange County Water Authority, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Division of Water, or the DEC’s Water Assessments by Volunteer Evaluators (WAVE) program;
  • sites in areas with suspected problems, such as dry weather sewage discharges and combined sewer overflow (CSO) infrastructure; and,
  • tributaries of the Quassaick, including Patton Brook, Gidneytown Creek and Bushfield Creek, plus two unnamed streams.

Riverkeeper helped the Alliance select sample sites, train citizen scientists and otherwise ensure the data collected is consistent with data collected by Riverkeeper and our partners since 2006 on parts of the Hudson River and several of its tributaries.

Unlike citizen science tributary projects on the Catskill, Esopus, Rondout, Wallkill, Pocantico and Sparkill, Riverkeeper will not process these samples aboard our patrol boat. The samples will be gathered by citizen scientists organized by the Quassaick Creek Watershed Alliance and processed at a third-party certified lab. Riverkeeper will report the results at (Stay tuned for the first report later this month.)

Congratulations to the Quassaick Creek Watershed Alliance on this milestone day!




Photos courtesy John Gephards, Quassaick Creek Watershed Alliance.

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