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Stream Sampling: Will Wading in This Stream Make Me Sick?

Rensselaer Land Trust
Event organized by Rensselaer Land Trust

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The Rensselaer Land Trust will share results of data collected by citizen science volunteers from 18 stream sites in Rensselaer County. The presentation intends to improve community knowledge, awareness and stewardship about local water resources. Find out if you should be letting your kids (or your pet dog) wade in local streams, and learn how you can make a difference in your watershed.

In 2017 the Rensselaer Land Trust's Citizen Science Volunteers collected water samples from streams in Rensselaer County communities. These efforts were a component of the RLTs Hudson River Estuary Grant Project: “Will Wading in This Stream Make Me Sick?" As part of this project RLT recruited and trained citizen scientists to collect water samples from 18 sites along five tributaries of the Hudson River for enterococcus levels. A sub-set of sampling determined levels of emergent compounds at sites with high enterococcus levels.

Enterococcus is a fecal-indicating bacterium in which studies conducted by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) showed to be a very good predictor of illness in all waters (marine and fresh waters. Our study design also includes a sub-set of samples to be analyzed for the presence of emergent compounds such as pharmaceuticals, hormones, endocrine disrupters where high levels of enterococcus is found.

We are working to characterize existing conditions, identify and prioritize problems, and further assist municipalities in identifying specific water quality problems for targeted monitoring and analysis. The data recently collected on enterococcus bacteria levels and emergent compounds found at locations throughout the watershed is intended to increase public awareness of water quality conditions.


These public presentations are brought to you by the Rensselaer Land Trust (RLT) and Rensselaer Plateau Alliance (RPA) who are co-sponsoring opportunities for you to unplug and connect to Rensselaer County.

New York’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) provided the grant, and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Hudson River Estuary Program (HREP) administers the funding for this project. This grant supports planning for local stewardship of the river environment to help achieve the goals of the 2015-2020 Hudson River Estuary Action Agenda, and aligns with Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) strategies. Partnering organizations involved on this project include Rensselaer County; the Cities of Troy and Rensselaer; Watershed Assessment Associates; United States Geological Survey; Riverkeeper; and Capital District Regional Planning Commission.