New York Great Lakes Research Consortium Small Grants
GLRC Small Grants Program 2019 RFP
The New York State Enviormental Protection Fund Small Grants Program is administered by the Great Lakes Research Consortium, in cooperation with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York Great Lakes Basin Advisory Council. The small grants program was developed to provide 'seed' money for new, cooperative approaches to researching and protecting the environmental quality of the Great Lakes.
GLRC Awarded Projects – 2018 Funding Cycle
Assessing Innovative Advanced Wastewater Treatments in Removing Antidepressant Drugs based on Chemical Analysis and Fish Physiological Responses
- Principal Investigator: Diana Aga
- Chemistry Department, University at Buffalo
- Collaborators: Ning Dai, Alicia Pérez-Fuentetaja, Joseph Fiegl, Helen Domske
This project will evaluate the efficiency of innovative advanced oxidation processes (AOPs) for the removal of antidepressant drugs in wastewater. The specific objectives of this study are to: 1) identify AOPs that are easy to implement in wastewater treatment plant upgrades that can effectively remove antidepressant drugs in wastewater, 2) characterize the persistent AOP transformation products using high resolution mass spectrometry; and 3) assess the ecotoxicity of AOP treated wastewater effluent based on fish physiological responses.
Participatory Models for Identifying Barriers to Climate Adaptation and Resiliency in New York’s Great Lakes Basin
- Principal Investigator: Khris Dodson
- Syracuse University Environmental Finance Center
- Collaborators: Sharon Moran, Mary E. Austerman, Jayme Thomann, Brian Rahm
This project will identify barriers to climate adaptation in New York’s Great Lakes communities, with an emphasis on local planning processes. The proposed workshops will also be used to build capacity for climate adaptation policy development, revise local plans, educate elected officials and municipal staff on the benefits of coastal resiliency BMPs, and build networks and partnerships between stakeholders. This work builds capacity for climate change adaptation through a systematic approach to diagnosing barriers and community-based research design, paving the way for more successful local plans and Ecosystem-based Management projects.
Degradation of Microcystin in Drinking Water Using Electron Beam Irradiation
- Principal Investigator: Mark Driscoll
- Department of Chemistry, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
- Collaborators: Dianne Poster, Terrance Madden, Richard Galloway
Human activities and global warming, including higher water temperatures, can cause an increase in occurrence and intensity of harmful algal blooms (HABs) worldwide, including blooms of freshwater cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae. One of the most common freshwater blue-green algal HAB species, Microcystis aeruginosa, produces a group of toxins known as microcystins. This project will explore the rapid degradation and detoxification of microcystin in water upon exposure to electron beam irradiation (EBI).
Using Culture-based, Molecular and Modeling Approaches to Identify Point and Non-Point Sources of Fecal Pollution and Improve Water Quality Predictions at Lake Erie Beaches
- Principal Investigator: Lauren Sassoubre
- Department of Civil, Structural, and Environmental Engineering, University at Buffalo
- Collaborators: Christopher Lowry, Karen Terbush, Keleigh Reynolds, Gabriella Cebada Mora, Jennifer Delaney, Rebecca Wightman
Beaches along the Great Lakes provide important opportunities for recreational activities and are critical for local economics. Microbial pollution at these beaches results in substantial economic loss and poses serious health risks to recreational users and the millions of people whose drinking water is drawn from the Lakes. Beach water quality is frequently monitored and beaches are closed to recreational activity when E. coli concentrations exceed (or are predicted to exceed) US EPA criteria. This research will address coastal microbial pollution and beach closures by (1) identifying sources of fecal pollution in Lake Erie and (2) improving models that predict when beaches should be closed to protect public health.
Use of Nitrogen Isotopes (15N) as an Indicator of Septic Pollution to Sodus Bay
- Principal Investigator: Mark Teece
- Department of Chemistry, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
- Collaborators: Save Our Sodus, Wayne County Soil and Water Conservation District
One of the greatest threats to water quality in the Great Lakes area is nitrogen pollution from human activities including leaking septic tanks. This nitrogen pollution leads to harmful algal blooms (HABs) and dense growth of aquatic weeds. Both the water quality and recreational use of the lakes and embayments are severely impacted by these threats. The goal of this project is to develop a method to determine the contribution of nitrogen pollution from leaking septic systems to freshwater systems to provide the first accurate assessment of this issue.
GLRC Awarded Projects – 2017 Funding Cycle
Assuming the Role of Nitrogen in Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) in the Great Lakes Basin
- Principal Investigator: Lisa Cleckner
- Finger Lakes Institute, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
- Collaborators: NR Razavi, MJ McCarthy, SE Newell
HABs that investigates the role of climate-induced changes in lake stratification and phosphorus availability.
Informing Restoration of the Endangered Piping Plover to Lake Ontario
- Principal Investigator: Jonathan Cohen
- Department of Environmental and Forest Biology, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
- Collaborators: Alison Kocek, Jullian Liner, Irene Mazzocchi, Robyn Niver, Patricia Shulenburg
The federally-endangered piping plover, a beach-nesting shorebird once common in the Great Lakes, became extirpated from Lakes Ontario and Erie as of the early 1980’s. Three decades of conservation efforts for the remnant population in the western Great Lakes pulled the species from the brink of extinction and has led to re-colonization of some areas including two nesting pair on eastern Lake Ontario in 2015 (one in NY), followed by an increase to five pairs in 2016 (two in NY). After a 31-year absence, data are critically lacking on the habitat requirements for nesting adults and their young on Lake Ontario beaches, as well as the most important threats to the local population. This project will collect information on reproductive success, habitat use, and limiting factors; will conduct outreach to the public and management agencies regarding the species and our research results; and will continue to build partnerships regarding piping plover conservation in the western Great Lakes.
Economic Value of Controlling Aquatic Invasive Species in New York State
- Principal Investigator: Martin Heintzelman
- School of Business/Institute for a Sustainable Environment, Clarkson University
- Collaborators: Chuan Tang
Invasive species, especially aquatic invasive species (AIS), have already become a serious issue in the Great Lakes Basin and New York State. This study will 1) synthesize existing data to estimate a hedonic price function model of waterfront property values to quantify the effects of several common AIS in waterbodies of New York State; 2) map the distribution of AIS in New York State and correlations between property values and appearance of AIS in waterbodies using geographic information system (GIS).
Influence of Spawning and Nursery Habitat in Shaping the Northern Pike (Esox Lucius) Gut Microbiome
- Principal Investigator: Brian Leydet
- Department of Environmental and Forest Biology, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
- Collaborators: John Farrell
Northern Pike are native to the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River, and provide significant recreational and ecological benefits. However, human activities have negatively impacted pike reproduction habitat in wetlands. Over 50% of wetlands have been lost in Lake Ontario, and degradation of remaining habitat and water level regulations further impede fish reproduction. This project examines fish gut microbiome as a possible indicator of the source spawning habitat and its influence on fish health. Through the creation of microhabitats in controlled fish rearing facilities, we will test whether environmental differences in Northern Pike spawning and nursery sites influence the composition of the fish gut microbiome and how this may affect fish performance.
Studies on mercury mobilization from wetlands along the Upper Saint Lawrence River in support of Ecosystem-Based Management
- Principal Investigator: Michael Twiss
- Department of Biology, Clarkson University
- Collaborators: Erin Eggleston, Thomas Holsen
The creation of the Moses-Saunders power dam (Canada, USA) in 1958 created a situation where water levels in the entire reach of the Upper Saint Lawrence River were maintained at unnaturally low levels of variability between high and low water levels. Plan 2014 is a new water regulation plan that is designed to reduce wetland marshes to pre-dam levels (a reduction of 29%), which will increase biodiversity and ecosystem structure and function. However, preliminary study has revealed that appreciable amounts of mercury are contained in wetlands. Reduction of these wetlands will release the mercury. To determine how much mercury will be released, how rapidly and in what form we propose to expand the preliminary study in addition to begin surveillance of mercury leaving the Upper Saint Lawrence River over a two-year period.
Screening and risk assessment of contaminants of emerging concern in the Onondaga Lake – Three Rivers system
- Principal Investigator: Teng Zeng
- Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Syracuse University
- Collaborator: David Matthews
contributions from domestic wastewater treatment plants, has a long history of industrial pollution, and is a major source of water to Lake Ontario. Our main objective for this project is to apply a suspect screening approach based upon high resolution mass spectrometry to establish concentration patterns of CECs in this lake-river system.
GLRC Awarded Projects – 2016 Funding Cycle
Testing a metabarcoding approach to food web analysis: application to mysid diets in Lake Ontario
- Principal Investigator: Matthew Hare
- Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University
- Collaborators: Lars Rudstam
Mysids are one of the major zooplankton predators in Lake Ontario and other Laurentian Great Lakes and consistently identified as a key component in food web models of these lakes. Mysids also feed on phytoplankton and their role as predators depends on the relative importance of phytoplankton and zooplankton in their diets. Quantifying diets of these animals and other omnivorous zooplankton is therefore central to our understanding of food web dynamics in the Great Lakes, and by extension, the ability of these lakes to support a sustainable fishery. This project will test multiple assays to determine methods yielding the most comprehensive and accurate data on mysid diet.
Analysis of a Large Multi-Lake Dataset to Advance Understanding and Management of Harmful Algal Blooms in New York State
- Principal Investigator: David A. Matthews
- Upstate Freshwater Institute
- Collaborators: Kimberly Schulz, Scott Kishbaugh, Nancy Mueller
Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are an increasing threat to water quality of both small and large lakes and the health of lake users within the Great Lakes Basin. Despite a rich scientific literature on cyanobacterial blooms, the factors causing recent proliferation of HABs are not fully understood. For example, a number of lakes in New York with relatively low concentrations of total phosphorus have recently experienced unexpected HABs. Even for eutrophic lakes, major knowledge gaps exist in understanding how different physical, chemical, and biological factors interact to create the conditions that can trigger HABs. Although a number of researchers have constructed empirical predictive models of blooms within individual large lakes, cross-system comparisons are rare. The Citizens Statewide Lake Assessment Program (CSLAP) has collected limnological data on more than 100 lakes a year since 2000, and has included HAB sampling (including cyanotoxin analyses) since 2011. This project will utilize the CSLAP data, supplemented with additional available data, to identify factors associated with HABs across these diverse systems.
Assessing causes and impacts of thiamine deficiency in salmonid fish from Lake Ontario
- Principal Investigator: Jacques Rinchard
- Department of Environmental Science and Biology, The College at Brockport
- Collaborators: Brian Lantry, Steve LaPan
Thiamine deficiency leading to early mortality syndrome is a reproductive disorder affecting salmonid species in the Great Lakes. The objective of this collaborative effort will evaluate how diets of salmonids in Lake Ontario can affect thiamine concentration in their eggs that could potentially lead to early mortality syndrome. This project directly addresses how to restore native fish and wildlife biodiversity and habitats to achieve and sustain resilient ecosystems and vibrant economies, and is relevant to the assessing the health of Great Lakes fishes.
NYGLPF Awarded Projects - 2015 Funding Cycle
Non-native bloody red shrimp in the Great Lakes Basin: Developing novel mothods for early-detection and quantifying interaction with fish in New York State
- Principal Investigator: Meghan Brown
- Department of Biology, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
- Collaborators: Brent Boscarino, Bruce Smith
The bloody-red mysid, Hemimysis anomala (hereafter Hemimysis) is a recent Ponto-Caspian invader that was first reported in North America in 2006 and has become established in the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence River, inland lakes (Oneida, Seneca, and Cayuga Lakes, New York), the Seneca-Cayuga Canal and the Erie Canal. Hemimysis represent a new type of organism in these systems and is a potential threat to native species in the Great Lakes basin. This grant will: (1) develop novel methods of early detection for Hemimysis, which are currently lacking and needed for research, management and monitoring programs, and (2) elucidate which, and to what extent, naturalized fish species consume Hemimysis.
The use of low-altitude unmanned helicopter remote sensing to detect invasive plant species in the Erie Canal System: method development applied to water chestnut (Trapa natans)
- Principal Investigator: Tao Tang
- Department of Geography & Planning, Buffalo State College
- Collaborators: Mary Perrelli, Christopher Pennuto, Joseph J. Gould
This project will develop a transferrable protocol to use low-altitude unmanned vehicle technology to perform rapid detection and coverage estimation of invasive species. We will perform a pilot study of water chestnut in Tonawanda Creek and the Erie Canal system from its western terminus east to Rochester by sampling 100, 500-m lengths of shoreline. Researchers will also perform visual searches over the same shorelines from a boat to estimate UAV and image analysis accuracy. Sightings and coverage estimates will be uploaded into iMapInvasives, an internet-based invasive species distribution database used by the NY PRSM network, NY DEC, NY Park, and several other northeastern states. This proof-of-concept research will provide the state’s natural resource community with estimates of costs, identification accuracy, and coverage estimation for rapid detection of invasive species.
The past is the key to the future: Can we use water isotopes to reconstruct rain and lake effect snowfall during past warm climates?
- Principal Investigator: Elizabeth Thomas
- Department of Geology, University at Buffalo
- Collaborator: Loren Smith
The purpose of this project is threefold: 1. Assess the seasonality of leaf wax hydrogen isotopes (d2Hwax) in Western New York as starting point for a larger project to reconstruct rain and snow variability during warm climates. 2. Address an outstanding question in the climate reconstruction discipline: what season does d2Hwax record? There are currently many hypotheses based on studies of modern plants (Kahmen et al., 2013: Sachse et al., 2015; Tipple et al., 2013), but there are no studies based on modern lake sediments, which are analogous to the samples that we use to reconstruct past climate. This is a simple but important study, with the potential to produce highly cited publications. 3. Develop and assess the effectiveness of an outreach program using water resource issues as a starting point to discuss climate change.
NYGLPF Awarded Projects - 2014 Funding Cycle
Understanding the synergistic impact of aquatic invasive species, global climate change, and harmful algal bloom dynamics on Lake Erie
Principal Investigator: Sarah Delavan
Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering,
State University of New York at Buffalo
Collaborators: Joseph Atkinson, William Edwards
The specific objective of this project is to quantify water quality and velocity characteristics near the sediments in relatively shallow sites in Lake Erie that have been colonized by invasive quagga mussels and to compare them to non-colonized sites. This summer Drs. Edwards, Delavan, and Atkinson, along with UB PhD student, Brandon Sansom, and NU undergraduate student, Kimberly Alexander were able to sample multiple sites in Lake Erie in both the eastern and western basins. During the month of July, the team collected water samples and water velocity measurements at several heights above the sediment in the western basin of Lake Erie near the Buffalo Outer Harbor and the mouth of the Niagara River. The team was also able to collect similar measurements in the eastern basin of Lake Erie during the historic Harmful Algal Bloom outbreak of August 2014 that negatively affected the drinking water of millions of people along the shoreline of Lake Erie. The team was able to capture samples to determine water velocities, dissolved and particulate phosphorus concentrations, nitrogen concentration, chlorophyll concentrations, turbidity, density, conductivity, depth measurements, and sediment type. Over the next few months, the team members will be analyzing the data to be used in Kimberly Alexander’s senior undergraduate thesis and potentially used in a MS thesis at UB. The team will also be creating a sampling plan for the summer 2015 field season.
Two New Techniques for Evaluating Connectivity of Septic Fields to Great Lake Watersheds and Embayments
Principal Investigator: Paul Richards
Department of Earth Sciences, SUNY Brockport
Collaborators: David Whitcroft, Brian Beha, Andrew Mendola
Our project, Two New Techniques for Evaluating Connectivity of Septic Fields to Great Lake Watersheds and Embayments, tests whether Pictometry True Color Oblique Imagery can be used to map septic fields in watersheds. We have started the project and have focused our efforts in Oakfield Township, located within the Upper Oak Orchard Creek Watershed. Of the 37 septic fields mapped by the Genesee Orleans County Department of Health, 49% were able to be identified with LiDAR and oblique imagery. The sites that were not identifiable tended to be located underneath tree canopies or were indicated as simply “septic tanks” according to Genesee County DOH Records. Imagery taken in the late spring (April) seemed to be more useful for identifying the leach fields. Leach fields were identifiable as a set of dark lines where it appeared the grass was longer and darker (Figures A-C). Some septic fields appear to have dark discolorations that appear to be related to drainage (see A). Raised septic fields were also sometimes identifiable from hill shades developed from 1 meter DEMs (LiDAR). So far we have mapped 117 septic fields that predate the available mapping. In the second part of the project, we are testing whether a new DNA groundwater tracer can be used to determine the time it takes for septic leachate to reach a water body.
Assessment of Plastic Pollution Migration into the Great Lakes Food Web
Principal Investigator: Sherri Mason
Department of Chemistry, SUNY Fredonia
Collaborators: Jason P. Lewis, Donald Einhouse
The intention of this project was to examine the gastrointestinal tracts of a wide variety of Lake Erie fish species, as well as the Double-Crested Cormorant, a primarily fish-eating waterfowl, in order to assess the potential migration and bioaccumulation of plastic pollution into the Great Lakes food web. To-date we have analyzed 18 species (17 fish species and the cormorant) from multiple trophic levels and have eight more fish species awaiting analysis. Every species analyzed thus far has contained some amount of plastic, though some individual specimens have not. Depending upon the species anywhere from 75-100% of specimens contained microplastic particles. Counts per specimen and per species are highly variable, as could be expected given differing size, trophic level and feeding habitats. It does appear that lower trophic level organisms have smaller counts, which increase with the trophic level, but this might simply be due to the larger size of the organisms, rather than bi-omagnification. More in depth data analysis will be required to fully glean a complete understanding of the preliminary results obtained thus far (in addition to those which are still in process).
NYGLPF Awarded Project - 2011 Funding Cycle
Hydrofracking the Marcellus Shale: The Impact of a Gas Drilling Accident on Wallace Mine Fen, Moshannon State Forest, PA
Principal Investigator: Douglas A. Wilcox
Department of Environmental Science and Biology, SUNY Brockport
Collaborator: Andie Graham
In 2009, Marcellus Shale gas-drilling company, EOG Resources, was fined $30,000 by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) after several violations occurred at two well sites located on private land adjacent to Mashannon State Forest in Clearfield County, PA. Of these violations, there were three separate accidents that resulted in the deposition of flowback water and frack fluids into Alex Branch, a small, sandy-bottom steam that flows through Wallace Mine Fen. Contaminated water also infiltrated the ground upslope from the fen. Water testing conducted by the PA DEP indicated elevated levels of barium, strontium, manganese, chloride, total dissolved solids, and specific conductance, all of which are typical of Marcellus well discharge water. At the time of the accident, no research was conducted to evaluate the potential impacts to the Wallace Mine Fen. In 2012, we initiated a study to determine the ecological impacts of the accidents on Wallace Mine Fen. We used a nearby wetland, Crystal Spring Bog (actually a fen), as a control and sampled amphibians, birds, vegetation, fish, aquatic macroinvertebrates, and water quality (pH and specific conductance) at both sites. Crystal Spring Bog and Wallace Mine Fen are very similar wetlands. Both have similar underlying geology that is dominated by sandstone, shale, clay, and coal. Both have similar hydrology; they are fens with similar groundwater and surface water chemistry. There are also similarities in taxa composition; no major differences were detected in birds, aquatic invertebrates, fish, or vegetation between the two wetlands. There were, however, significant differences in amphibians between the two wetlands, despite both wetlands providing ample suitable habitat for amphibians. Therefore, results suggest that the accidents at EOG well 8H and 9H may have decreased amphibian species richness at Wallace Mine Fen. Not knowing the exact date of the gas well drilling accidents or the exact chemical composition of the fracking fluids used a the wells make it difficult to determine how amphibians were affected. This study underscores the importance of collecting baseline data in areas where hydrofracking is anticipated so that impacts of any future accidents can be evaluated more thoroughly.
NYGLPF Awarded Projects - 2009 Funding Cycle
|Preliminary Risk Assessment of the Parasites of
Aquatic Exotic Invertebrates in the Great Lakes Region
Principal Investigator: Lyubov Burlakova, Research Scientist, Ph.D. Great Lakes Center, Buffalo State College
Exotic species may serve as vectors of introduction for their specific parasites and may also become hosts for aboriginal disease agents. Although spreading invaders typically lose most of their coevolved parasites, the few introduced exotic parasites may have devastating impacts on their novel hosts, including large-scale mortalities. The aim of this cooperative research is to conduct a preliminary parasitological risk analysis for exotic invertebrates introduced into the Great Lakes region. The results of this project can become a baseline for a long-term basin-wide program to monitor the parasitological consequences of introduction of exotic species, and will also be used in preparation of a larger grant proposal to a federal agency.
|Pre-Restoration Wetland Characterization
and Chemical Mass Balance Study:
Woodlawn Beach State Park, New York
Principal Investigator: Stephen Vermette, PhD
Buffalo State College
Woodlawn Beach State Park protects a 12 acre wetland that is listed on the Park?s master plan for preservation and enhancement. Proposed is an effort to assess both the physical and chemical characteristics of the wetland, followed by the development of an effective management plan. Proposal priorities address a critical aquatic habit where the current treatment effectiveness of this wetland is to be evaluated and compared with alternative approaches for treatment.
|Riverwatch Low-Cost Water Monitoring Buoy
Principal Investigator: Kerry Bentkowski &
Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper
Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper was awarded funding for direction of a pilot project to develop a low-cost water monitoring buoy and communication system. The buoy will be designed to function as a tool for gathering important water quality data from major tributaries to the Great Lakes at a cost affordable to public school systems and small community organizations. The real time data produced will be made available for use in the classroom as a teaching tool as well as to community organizations and the general public for use in understanding water quality issues and advocating for improvement.
|Lake Ontario Nearshore Nutrient Transport
Study (LONNS) Analysis of caffeine as a
tracer point of source nutrient loading
Principal Investigator: William J. Edwards, PhD
Associate Professor of Biology, Niagara
University Director, Environmental Leadership Institute
This research proposes to analyze water samples collected during the intensive survey in 2008 of the Lake Ontario Nearshore Nutrient Study for caffeine as a conserved tracer of point source nutrient loading. The LONNS project is assessing the hypothesis that nutrients are being trapped in the nearshore region, limiting offshore productivity and impacting the nearshore through benthic algae blooms and beach closures. In samples taken offshore of Rochester, NY, there was evidence of upwelling, non-point source loading and point sewage effluent in the nearshore region. Analysis of caffeine will allow separation of the nearshore sources of nutrients and better modeling for the LONNS project, providing more accurate assessment of remediation actions for lake managers. This project will analyze the samples collected during the June and August Rochester LONNS sampling and will integrate these samples into the GIS, database and modeling efforts.
NYGLPF Awarded Projects - 2008 Funding Cycle
|Tracing the invasion pathway of Hemimysis
anomala into Lake Ontario and beyond
Principal Investigator: Amy B. Welsh
Department of Biological Sciences, State University of
New York at Oswego
|Characterization of subsistence fishing in
Principal Investigator: Katrina Smith Korfmacher,
University of Rochester Medical Center
|Aquatic Invasions in the Great Lakes: Responding to Pathogens
Principal Investigator:Mark Bain
Assoc. Prof. Aquatic Systems Ecology, Natural Resources, Cornell University
|Riverwatch Water Quality Monitoring and Outreach Internship
Principal Investigator: Robbyn Drake
Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper