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Great Lakes Research Consortium

DEC and Great Lakes Research Consortium Announce Research Grants for Projects on Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River

Newsletter released on 10/04/2022 in the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation bulletin.

Awardees Include University at Buffalo, the State University of New York and College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Upstate Freshwater Institute, and Syracuse University

Researchers to Examine Methods to Protect Water Quality and Improve Health of Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Syracuse-based Great Lakes Research Consortium (GLRC) today announced nearly $90,000 in grant awards for three research projects that will address priority issues identified by New York's Great Lakes Action Agenda and support science needs of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 2023 Cooperative Science Monitoring Initiative on Lake Ontario. Award recipients are University at Buffalo, the State University of New York, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Upstate Freshwater Institute, and Syracuse University.

"The Great Lakes are complex and dynamic ecosystems providing millions of New Yorkers with clean water for drinking, fishing, and swimming," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "Supported by the State's Environmental Protection Fund, these grants fund key research opportunities to engage scientists and advance collaboration to protect the future health and vitality of these critical waters."

"Grants through the Great Lakes Research Consortium support small-scale research that takes the initiating steps toward addressing critical and emerging Great Lakes issues and establish foundational data for subsequent and larger applied research and demonstration projects," said GLRC Director Gregory L. Boyer, Ph.D.

This small grants program is funded by New York's Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) and administrated by the Great Lakes Research Consortium, a nonprofit organization of 18 colleges and universities in New York State, plus nine affiliated campuses in Ontario, Canada, dedicated to collaborative Great Lakes research and science education. Learn more at the SUNY ESF GLRC website. Among the many environmental victories in the enacted 2022-23 State Budget, Governor Kathy Hochul and legislative leaders increased the EPF to $400 million, the highest-ever level of funding in the program's history.

Research Project Awardees

The University at Buffalo (UB) was awarded a GLRC grant of nearly $30,000 to investigate whether the hatchery-based rearing of lake trout is impairing their ability to naturally reproduce after stocking into Lake Ontario. Stocking is currently restoring the lake trout fishery in Lake Ontario.

UB Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences Trevor J. Krabbenhoft, Ph.D., and Ph.D. student Christopher Osborne, will work with a team of university, State, and federal partners to compare the genetic makeup of four strains of hatchery-raised lake trout with that of wild-origin lake trout and transfer of the same to wild-born offspring as a possible indication of impediment to natural lake trout repopulation in the Great Lakes.

The State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) was awarded a GLRC grant of $30,000 to investigate the role of the invasive species round goby in the transfer of legacy and emerging contaminants in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.

ESF Assistant Professor in Environmental Biology Roxanne Razavi, Ph.D., and ESF Assistant Professor in Chemistry Alexander B. Artyukhin, Ph.D., will collect contaminant exposure data from both nearshore and offshore populations of the round goby, which is an important part of native and sportfish diets. This project also includes a podcast outreach component that will engage high school students.

The Upstate Freshwater Institute (UFI) and Syracuse University (SU) were jointly awarded a GLRC grant of $30,000 to investigate the distribution, abundance, and concentrations of organic micropollutants (OMP) and microplastics in the Lake Ontario basin.

UFI Director David A. Matthews, Ph.D., and SU Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Teng Zeng, Ph.D., will evaluate the surface waters from three embayments and three nearshore locations along Lake Ontario; the sites selected represent areas impacted by nearshore development, density of septic systems, municipal wastewater input, human population density, or different land uses. The field and analysis methods used will be broadly applicable to help identify potential areas of accumulating OMPs and microplastics Great Lakes-wide.

Great Lakes Action Agenda

The Great Lakes Action Agenda advances a wide range of efforts to safeguard water quality, improve habitats for fish and wildlife, manage invasive species, promote sustainability, and enhance community resilience to climate change in a region that spans more than 40 percent of New York State's land area and includes Lake Erie, the Niagara River, Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River, and respective watersheds. DEC recently announced the release of the draft New York's Great Lakes Action Agenda 2022-2030, a multi-year action plan to guide restoration and conservation, and foster sustainable, resilient, communities in New York's Great Lakes region. The draft is available for public comment until Nov. 11 and a webinar is planned for Oct. 25. Additional information can be found on DEC's website.

DEC Newsletter Announcing the Grant