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Coastal Storm Outreach and Education Comes Ashore Along NY's Hudson Estuary
By Paul F on Nov 29, 2016 at 11:25 AM

Chris Nack (inset photo, at far right) is pictured with (l-r) New York Sea Grant's Nordica Holochuck and Cornell University Cooperative Extension of Ulster County's Matt Helffrich, the latter of whom plans to integrate Hudson River Research into his 4-H Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM) education program. All Photos: J. Herrington.

A mid-September canoe trip out of Stockport Flats in Columbia County, NY to the Gays Point area of Hudson River Islands State Park offered much more than picturesque scenery. The excursion was coordinated by New York Sea Grant’s Hudson Estuary Specialist Nordica Holochuck and Chris Nack, a SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry Mid-Atlantic Coastal Storms Graduate Research Fellow, who was sponsored by Virginia Sea Grant and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Coastal Storms Program.

Holochuck and Nack were joined out on the River by 21 participants, who included Cornell Cooperative Extension volunteers and staff, NYSDEC representatives, and regional educators and environmental scientists.

While recreating on these New York waters, the group learned more about Nack’s research relating to American Shad and coastal storms. Nack also emphasized the importance of secondary channels and other shallow water habitats which, as they are lost, so are their role as nursery areas for early life stages of American Shad as well as for other organisms.

Prior to launch, Chris Nack (bottom left photo, at far right) describes his coastal storm research to participants. As he illustrates on the Hudson River map, Stockport flats, where their mid-September canoe trip took place, is located in Columbia County, New York.

"Understanding and protecting the ecological values of the shoreline, marshes and narrow river channels is critical to maintaining and improving Hudson River habitats for numerous fisheries, migratory waterfowl and marsh birds," says Nack. "Wildlife was plentiful in, on and along the river on the day of our tour." On that day [September 13, 2016] the group spotted American eagles, cormorants, Beavers, turtles, fish and Snowy egrets.

This trip marked the second time in Summer 2016 that Nack joined paddlers to talk about his research. On August 25th, he paddled along on an educational public canoe trip coordinated by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation as a guest researcher.

Having commercially fished the Hudson for American Shad with his family, Nack hopes his research will contribute to conservation of shad and other Hudson River signature fishes.

Canoes for these excursions were provided by the Education Program of New York’s Hudson River Reserve, one of 28 national estuarine research reserves. The Hudson Reserve is a network of four sites along the Hudson River containing 5,000 acres of natural field laboratories for research and education.

By Nordica Holochuck and Christopher Nack

More Info: New York Sea Grant

New York Sea Grant (NYSG), a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York, is one of 33 university-based programs under the National Sea Grant College Program (NSGCP) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The NSGCP engages this network of the nation’s top universities in conducting scientific research, education, training and extension projects designed to foster science-based decisions about the use and conservation of our aquatic resources. Through its statewide network of integrated services, NYSG has been promoting coastal vitality, environmental sustainability, and citizen awareness about the State’s marine and Great Lakes resources since 1971.

New York Sea Grant maintains Great Lakes offices at SUNY Buffalo, the Wayne County Cooperative Extension office in Newark and at SUNY Oswego. In the State's marine waters, NYSG has offices at Stony Brook University and Stony Brook Manhattan, in the Hudson Valley through Cooperative Extension in Kingston and at Brooklyn College. 

For updates on Sea Grant activities: has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube links. NYSG also offers a free e-list sign up via for its flagship publication, NY Coastlines/Currents, which is published several times a year.

Tags: #education
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