Mighty tributary focus of annual Mohawk symposium

Publication Date

For 10 months of the year, John Lipscomb travels nearly 6,000 nautical miles on the Hudson River. As patrol boat captain for Riverkeeper, an environmental watchdog group that monitors the Hudson and its tributaries, Lipscomb pilots the R. Ian Fletcher, a 36-foot wooden vessel.

In addition to the regular pollution patrols from New York City Harbor to Troy, Lipscomb assists with research on the river, oversees water quality tests and ferries key constituents and others as a way to teach about the river, including its wildlife, critical habitat zones, pollution sources and water quality management issues.

Last summer, Lipscomb captained the R. Ian Fletcher as it made its first maiden voyage on the Mohawk River.

Lipscomb will deliver the keynote address at the annual Mohawk Watershed Symposium Friday, March 20, at College Park Hall.

This year’s theme is clean water and improving water quality in the watershed.

Now in its seventh year, the daylong symposium features dozens of oral and poster presentations on topics including flooding, fish and water quality, watershed management, climate change and water rights.

More than 150 participants are expected, including scientists, engineers and other professionals, and students. The conference is open to registered participants.

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. It flows 140 miles to the east, where it joins the Hudson River.

Other speakers include U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam, who will talk on a “Sustainable Plan for our Future” following the response to Tropical Storm Irene in 2011; and Christopher Swain, a Boston resident who swam the entire length of the Mohawk last year to raise awareness of the river and its issues.

The conference is sponsored by the Geology Department and organized by John Garver, geology professor, and Jaclyn Cockburn, a former Union professor now at the University of Guelph , Ontario.

For more information and to register, click here.