Volunteers Converge On Sawkill River To Sample Water

They are, for the most part, volunteers, and their task is to sample water in the Sawkill Watershed, a small creek that runs through small towns in northern Dutchess County.

"We are going to be monitoring, over the course of 12 days, the entire length of the Hudson River," said Riverkeeper Water Quality Program Manager Dan Shapley. "Ten different tributary streams, about 330 locations."

The samples make their way to Eli Dueker, assistant professor of environmental urban studies at Bard College.

"I think it is important to connect the community with the science behind water quality," he said.

Dueker says the watershed is used for recreation and is also a source of drinking water for the college, so they will be looking for things that can affect that.

"So we are looking at things like turbidity, which looks at the amount of sediment that is suspended in the water; we are looking at sewage indicating bacteria," Dueker said.

Chris Hulbert, a Bard College student, is one of the volunteers. He says maintaining clean water is a team effort.

"To have community members out learning about their watershed and learning about what they do is really enjoyable for them and us," Hulbert said.

And Shapley says he expects the Sawkill Watershed to get a good score.

"It's a relatively undeveloped watershed," he continued. "Not a lot of pavement. A lot of forest. A lot of open land, so our expectation is that we should have a pretty good water quality."

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