A pedestrian bridge in New York has a new sign unveiled this week featuring real-time data about the Hudson River. Officials say the information will provide some useful facts to visitors while scientists monitor the river’s changing conditions.
Officials have debuted the interpretive display on Walkway Over the Hudson. The sign draws on data collected by the Hudson River Environmental Conditions Observing System station at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, one of 12 monitoring stations in the Hudson River’s estuary and tributaries that records data every 15 minutes on such variables as temperature, salinity, and oxygen levels. The Walkway sign uses a radio signal to display real-time data from the Marist station, which displayed a temperature just shy of 70 degrees and a low turbidity level on a recent fall afternoon. Dr. Stuart Findlay, an aquatic ecologist at the Millbrook-based Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, spearheaded the effort to develop the sign.
Findlay explains that the current theme is water clarity, with information posted pertaining specifically to clarity. He says themes will change from time to time, and water temperature is likely the next topic.
Conditions are monitored from the Upper Mohawk River to Albany to New York City. Findlay says stations helped provide data during Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Irene. Fran Dunwell is the Hudson River Estuary Coordinator for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. She says data from Hurricane Irene, for example, can inform decision-making in shoreline communities.
Dunwell, who called the new sign and its data a window into the unseen river, adds the following.
For the passerby, the Cary Institute’s Findlay says he hopes one or two pieces of information stick.
The DEC’s Dunwell says the information is useful for a range of residents and workers along the Hudson.