‘Day in the Life of the River’ heads to Mohawk

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NISKAYUNA — The DEC and ECOS will offer a look below the surface of the Mohawk River on Thursday at Lock 7 Park in Niskayuna.

As part of the DEC’s “Day in the Life of the River” program, community members are invited to be citizen scientists, catching and identifying fish and taking water samples. This is the first time the DEC’s program has been offered in Schenectady County.

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“We’re looking for ways to reconnect the community with the Mohawk,” said Leah Akins, the newly appointed executive director for ECOS: the Environmental Clearinghouse of New York.

ECOS and community members will hopefully catch fish by way of seining, a method that uses a large net to effectively scoop up fish.

The group went out for a test run Saturday, and Akins reported catching bass and sunfish.

“We just use a small sein,” Akins said. “On Thursday we’ll be able to use a canoe and get out deeper.”

The DEC will have officials on hand performing water quality testing, and the state Canal Corp. will also participate, with an educational piece about the lock and its history.

ECOS has invited RiverRun Community Montessori school to participate in the event and encourages the general public to stop by and learn more about the Mohawk River’s ecosystem and biodiversity.

In addition to educating the community about the ecology of the Mohawk River, Akins hopes to draw attention to the river in order to attract funding for improvements. Conservation efforts and dollars have been distributed more heavily to programs aimed at improving the Hudson River, asserted Akins, who hopes events like A Day in the Life of the River can flip the script a bit.

“(We’d like to) draw interest in funding to do the kind of conservation work that is happening on the Hudson … projects that include view protection and water quality,” Akins said.

A Day in the Life of a River will take place from 9 a.m. to noon.