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Patroon Creek Watershed Research and Activities

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Patroon Watershed

Please read recent newsletters on this work for an overview of our research activities in the Patroon Creek Watershed.

Reports


Purpose

The purpose of this report is to summarize water quality data for the Patroon Creek Watershed to help answer the question: is it safe to swim and fish in the Patroon Creek?  This question is answered using data and reports generated over the past three decades for the Patroon Creek as well as data collected over the last two years as part of this project.

Key Findings
  • Several studies conducted in the Patroon Creek Watershed over the past 30 years show negative water quality impacts due to heavy metal, raw sewage, and road salt contamination. While significant progress has been made in improving water quality within the Watershed, the water remains unsafe for human and aquatic life. 
  • Water quality data collected during the summer and fall of 2017 indicate that bacteria levels within the Patroon Creek exceed the New York State single sample test for bathing beaches. Bacteria concentrations were the greatest in magnitude and also in variability at the former USGS gage site in Tivoli Lake Park where locals have been observed swimming. Based on the results of this study, we recommend that people do not swim in the Patroon Creek.
  • While stream sediment samples collected in the 1990s had heavy metal concentrations at levels harmful to aquatic life, concentrations measured in the last two years at most sites are at safe levels for human health according to NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) standards. At one site within Tivoli Lake Preserve, soil ingestion, inhalation, and skin contact is not recommended.  Based on the results of this study, we recommend that direct contact with stream sediments be avoided. 
  • Pumpkinseed sunfish and bluegill caught in Tivoli Lake in 2016 contained levels of lead that exceed fish advisories set by the the EPA and FDA. Based on these data, we recommend that fish caught in Tivoli Lake not be eaten.
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Summary

This project examines the feasibility and environmental benefits of implementing green infrastructure (GI) throughout the Patroon Creek Watershed.  The Patroon Watershed, located in the Town of Colonie and City of Albany, NY, is a tributary to the Hudson River Watershed.  Suitable locations for rain gardens, porous pavement, and green roofs were determined using the EPA BMP Siting Tool and the reduction of water quantity and water quality improvements were calculated using i-Tree.  Results suggest that although green roofs could be implemented over a larger area of the Patroon Creek Watershed, porous pavement would provide the greatest water quantity and quality benefits.

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