The Hudson Riverscope Prototype: Real-Time Monitoring of Rivers and Estuaries for Research, Education and Science-Based Decision Support

EPA Grant Number: CR830976
Title: The Hudson Riverscope Prototype: Real-Time Monitoring of Rivers and Estuaries for Research, Education and Science-Based Decision Support
Investigators: Cronin, John , Bell, R. , Nierzwicki-Bauer, S.
Institution: Pace University - New York , Columbia University in the City of New York , Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
EPA Project Officer: Packard, Benjamin H
Project Period: August 14, 2003 through July 31, 2005
Project Amount: $487,500
RFA: Targeted Research Grant (2002) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Targeted Research


This Research Plan is derived directly from New York Governor George Pataki's strategic plan of the Rivers and Estuaries Center (available at This project is the pilot for the Hudson Riverscope - a program to "hard-wire" the Hudson River with research nodes in the lower, middle and upper river. This pilot will use targeted experiments to demonstrate some essential components of a monitoring network for making sensitive, real-time observations of the health and functioning of riverine and estuarine physical, chemical, and biological systems. Identifying these key components will help establish how such a network can operate and how the information can be made available for use by a diverse community of scientists, educators, regulators and the general public.


Three experiments are to be conducted during the spring of 2004 by joint scientific teams from the research nodes in the lower and upper river -- Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University (LDEO) and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) -- who will work under the umbrella of the Rivers and Estuaries Center. The experiments target sediment distribution and zebra mussel dispersion, two issues of critical importance to the ongoing management of the Hudson River system. The first experiment will use acoustic moorings to track movement of sediment associated with the spring freshet. Instrumented moorings will be located adjacent to both satellite sites. The experiment will compliment ongoing sediment transport work by USGS in the mid-river. The second experiment will demonstrate the utility of advanced monitoring to understand the dispersion of zebra mussel veligers. Both these experiments are limited due to their fixed sampling sites; therefore, the third experiment will be a tracer experiment to capture the dynamic processes at spatial scales which cannot be resolved by the first two pilot experiments' fixed observations. The tracer experiment will determine the connectivity of the three sites monitored by the acoustic moorings and the nature of the dispersion of the zebra mussel veligers. In the pilot project, data will be collected through a variety of sensors and laboratory analysis tools (at the two river nodes) and in associated laboratories. Initially, these procedures will not be fully automated; however, all points of data collection and analysis will be networked to facilitate integration of results into a common database. A central database server will collect and maintain these data and provide access through a broad range of data inquiry, analysis, and visualization tools. The database will serve as a core resource for scientific modeling and simulation studies.

Expected Results:

The ultimate aim of this project is to lay a foundation from which broad education goals can be built. The Rivers and Estuaries Center will be an interdisciplinary center for research and education with an emphasis on the integration of the natural and social sciences and with a mission to serve as a "nexus for global research and training and the dissemination of information to guide the management of rivers and estuaries." The Center will use the Hudson as a laboratory for the development of remote sensing and real-time monitoring technologies for rivers and estuaries. This pilot project will demonstrate the feasibility of this approach.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 9 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

sediments, estuary, chemical transport, indicators, aquatic, ecology, hydrology, engineering, remote sensing, Mid-Atlantic, New York, EPA Region 2, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Geographic Area, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, State, Monitoring/Modeling, Environmental Monitoring, aquatic ecosystem, sediment transport, modeling, estuarine ecoindicator, river ecosystem, biological control model, Hudson River, real-time monitoring

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2004 Progress Report
  • Final Report