Posted on Mar 24, 2009

The College will host the first conference on the physical aspects of the Mohawk River watershed on Friday, March 27, in the Olin Center.

The daylong symposium features about 30 presentations on topics including flooding, ecosystem analysis, water quality, sediment yield, watershed management and the future of the watershed. More than 100 participants are expected, including registered scientists, engineers and other professionals and students. The conference is not open to the public.

Mohawk River at Lock 7 watershed conference

The Mohawk River watershed is a unique and distinctive drainage basin that has major tributaries that empty part of the Adirondacks to the north and part of the Catskill Mountains to the south. The main trunk of the river occupies a natural topographic gap in the Appalachian mountain chain, which provides a unique and distinctive link between Atlantic and the interior of the continent. This aspect of the geography of the river played a crucial role in the westward expansion by early settlers and eventually was the primary reason the Erie Canal was positioned, in part, along the spine of this key waterway.

Flooding on the Mohawk and its tributaries has been a major concern. A number of talks will address recent flooding and advances in monitoring and understanding flood processes. There will also be an overview of the dynamics of ice jamming in the lower Mohawk River, which dramatically affects the Stockade neighborhood in Schenectady.

The keynote address, “Drums and Bums along the Mohawk,” will be given by Robert H. Boyle of Cooperstown, founder of Riverkeeper and the Hudson River Foundation for Science and Environmental Research. Boyle, named by Audubon Magazine as one of the 100 Champions of Conservation for the 20th century, will discuss using science and the law to protect the natural resources of the watershed from predatory interests.

The conference was organized by John Garver, Geology Department chair, and Jaclyn Cockburn, visiting assistant professor of Geology.

For more information, including a schedule of presentations, click here.