Union to host Mighty Waters conference

Publication Date

U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko

Union will host the third annual Mighty Waters conference, a regional focus on how to maximize the potential of the waterways of the Upper Hudson and Mohawk rivers and the Erie Canal.

The daylong conference Thursday, June 14, runs from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and includes a series of discussions and displays at a number of locations on campus.

The opening session at 9 a.m. in Memorial Chapel will feature U.S. Rep. Paul D. Tonko and College President Stephen C. Ainlay. Tonko launched the Mighty Waters initiative and created a task force of 25 leaders from business, community and education to help develop a regional plan for waterfront development throughout the Capital Region.

Ainlay is a member of the Task Force’s Executive Committee and chairs the Research and Education Committee.

The keynote speaker is Carol Collier, executive director of the Delaware River Basin
Commission. She will speak at 1 p.m. in the Nott Memorial.

This year's conference comes nearly a year after tropical storms Irene and Lee ––
remnants of hurricanes that roared up the East Coast –– pounded upstate New York, flooding waterways, wiping out bridges and destroying homes and roads.

“As we continue the rebuilding process, our discussions will explore the various creative partnerships that have developed to improve environmental quality, manage and mitigate flood hazards and promote economic development, all while enhancing our sense of place,” Tonko said.

The conference is free and open to the public.

The College has a rich history with the Erie Canal. An alumnus, Squire Whipple (Class of 1830), designed some of the canal's original bridges while still a student. A team of students and professors are currently working to restore historic locks.

And for the past four years, the College has hosted the Mohawk Watershed Symposium, a daylong conference which features dozens of presentations on topics including flooding, water quality, watershed management and water rights.

The Mohawk River watershed is a unique and distinctive drainage basin that originates in the valley between the western Adirondacks and the Tug Hill Plateau and flows 140 miles to the east, where it joins the Hudson River.