Water Resources Initiative
 

Students discussiong recreation on Saratoga Lake

Student Projects and Collaborative Research by Theme (2004-2013)

Faculty and students in the Water Resources Initiative (WRI) conduct studies in the public interest. The content and views presented in WRI papers are solely those of the authors.


Arts and Literature

Natural and human influencesNatural and Human Influences on the Saratoga Lake Watershed: A Photographic Analysis

Josh Gerritsen and Adam Wallace (2006)

This project used photography to explore the natural and human influences on the Saratoga Lake watershed. Starting at the headwaters of Kayaderosseras Creek and ending at the Saratoga Lake outflow at Fish Creek, this exhibition provides a visual context for understanding the competing interests that affect the surrounding watershed.

 
Environmental TruthsEnvironmental Truths Through Fiction: Water, Stewardship, and the Saratoga Lake Watershed

Hugh Kramer (2007) 

This project used placed-based environmental fiction to present differing perspectives on water and stewardship within the Saratoga Lake watershed. The ultimate aim was to dramatize hydrologic issues and perspectives in the watershed using three short fiction stories while remaining factually accurate to the environmental and social realities of the region.

 
Fisherman and skyDevelopment on an Interactive Website for the Water Resources Initiative

Adam Wallace '06, Michael C. Ennis-McMillan, Department of Anthropology, Karen Kellogg, Department of Biology and Environmental Studies Program, and Alison Barnes, Department of English and Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery (2006)

This project consisted of designing an interactive and artistic website as an outreach and educational resource for the Water Resources Initiative. WRI is an interdisciplinary, community-based initiative that studies water issues in the local region. Each page of the website incorporates visual elements to create an engaging aesthetic that allows community members, Skidmore students and faculty, and local organizations to understand interactions in the Saratoga Lake watershed.

Full report is not available. Please contact Karen Kellogg for more information.

 
Waterways
Waterways:  A Photographic Exploration of Human Presence in the Saratoga Lake Watershed

Andrew Plotsky (2009)

Waterways is a photo essay of people in the Saratoga Lake Watershed. Using the style of environmental portraiture, Waterways features fourteen human subjects from various backgrounds to represent a cross section of the diversity of the watershed. The project illuminates the complex and nested relationships that exist within a watershed.

Full report is not available. Please contact Bob Turner for more information.

 
Sights and Sounds
Sights and Sounds: Building a Broader Audience for Environmental Issues

Gordon MacPherson and Alex Ethier (2012)

Current messaging techniques make it easy to consider issues of sustainability and environmentalism the sole dominion of ‘the environmentalists’. To combat this mentality and give environmental issues the societal and political attention they deserve, we developed two projects. We worked with student artists to create a campus-wide photo installation that raises awareness of College sustainability initiatives, and we produced two short radio stories to determine the effect of narrative in engaging and educating listeners.
 
Videos Unplugged
Videos Unplugged: Combining Comedy with Consequence

Racquel Figueroa, Eric Stumpf, and Anthony DiLisio (2013)

What does it take to make an effective video PSA for the Skidmore Unplugged energy saving campaign? We surveyed students about their usage of electrical devices to identify the sources of energy consumption and key behaviors to target. We made ten videos exploring the themes of humor, social influence and environmental concern. Focus group discussions showed that a combination of these themes would be most effective for the college audience. Other key aspects were brevity, shock value, personal relevancy and specificity of both target behavior and audience.

 
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Campus Sustainability

TractorComposting at Skidmore: Turning our Waste into a Resource

Will Coffey and Nadine Dodge (2010)

Skidmore College produces a substantial amount of organic waste in the form of food scraps, horse manure, and lawn maintenance byproducts that present both economic and environmental concerns to the College. We conducted a comprehensive study to ascertain how these wastes can be turned into a valuable economic and environmental resource through composting. After completing a study of composting at peer institutions, analyzing available composting technologies, and conducting a cost-benefit analysis, we determined that a windrow composting system will be the most cost-effective waste management system for Skidmore. The final result of our project is a detailed proposal that outlines how such a system can be implemented.

 
Sense and SustainabilitySense and Sustainability: An Assessment of Skidmore's Sustainable Development

Julia Brenner and Christina Puerto (2011)

Skidmore’s sustainability efforts have steadily evolved in their number, complexity, and scope. We constructed the first comprehensive list of sustainability initiatives at the college. We also assess their impact on promoting environmental literacy, increasing the role of environmental considerations in decision-making, and reducing the impact of our physical operations.

 

Local Food from Farm to SchoolLocal Food from Farm to School: Investigating the Skidmore Dining Hall's Local Partnerships

Maranda Duval and Jesse Moy (2011)
 
The Skidmore College Dining Hall has joined the local food movement by forming partnerships with nearby farmers, processors, and distributors. In this study, we investigate the history and effectiveness of these local partnerships and make recommendations on how to expand and improve them in the future.

 

Skidmore Supported AgricultureSkidmore Supported Agriculture: Bringing More Local Food to the Skidmore College Community

Will Dowling (2012)

The current industrial agriculture system in the United States has damaged the environment and distanced people from their food and farms. The organic and local food movements have arisen in response to this system’s flaws.  Through programs such as Community Supported Agriculture, people are gaining access to wholesome, local food while reconnecting with their food and communities. This project seeks to provide the benefits of this service to the greater Skidmore College community.

 

S.O.S. Solar on SkidmoreS.O.S. (Solar on Skidmore)

Rachel Chalat and Leandra Cooper (2012)

We examined the technological and financial feasibility of a solar installation for the Williamson Sports Center and the Van Lennep Riding Center at Skidmore College. The technological portion of this study evaluates practical installation considerations for each site, and the financial portion provides monetary incentives and options. Ultimately, our study provides possible opportunities to help Skidmore continue to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

 

 

The Gift That Keeps on GivingThe Gift That Keeps on Giving: Skidmore College's New Land

Eva Fillion, Jackie Slocombe, and Roz Freeman (2012)

Skidmore College recently received a gift of 200 acres of forest just north of the College’s riding stables.   We investigated the educational and recreational value of the new land, estimated the carbon sequestration capacity of the forest within the context of the greenhouse emissions by the College, and explored whether other peer colleges have comparable forests (and, if so, how they use them).  We offer recommendations to balance effective use and preservation.

 
Sights and Sounds
Sights and Sounds: Building a Broader Audience for Environmental Issues

Gordon MacPherson and Alex Ethier (2012)

Current messaging techniques make it easy to consider issues of sustainability and environmentalism the sole dominion of ‘the environmentalists’. To combat this mentality and give environmental issues the societal and political attention they deserve, we developed two projects. We worked with student artists to create a campus-wide photo installation that raises awareness of College sustainability initiatives, and we produced two short radio stories to determine the effect of narrative in engaging and educating listeners.
 
Designing a Sustainable Field Research StationDesigning a Sustainable Field Research Station for Skidmore College’s Off Campus Properties

Marcus Goldbas, Gwyn Harris, and Lily Alverson (2013)

We developed an architectural design for a field station that will increase the use of Skidmore’s forested properties for teaching, learning, and outdoor activities, while implementing sustainable design strategies to limit the environmental impacts on the surrounding landscape.  We combined stakeholder analyses with evaluations of siting, orientation, climate, access/transportation, solar energy, passive solar heating, storm water management, rainwater catchment, day lighting, and materials, and offer a proposal to the Skidmore Community.

 
Conceptual Landscapes on Skidmore CampusConceptual Landscapes on Skidmore Campus: Reconciling Perception and Reality

Hannah Greendorfer, Meghan Burke, and Abby Wyant (2013)

Colleges are constantly adapting to internal and external pressures. In the past ten years Skidmore College has increased in size and scope. Our project aims to illustrate how the Skidmore population views and interacts with the college campus. We investigate the conceptualizations of space using cognitive maps drawn by members of the Skidmore community. The assessment of space can then influence future developments and supports sustainable design and a strong Skidmore community.

 
Videos Unplugged
Videos Unplugged: Combining Comedy with Consequence

Racquel Figueroa, Eric Stumpf, and Anthony DiLisio (2013)

What does it take to make an effective video PSA for the Skidmore Unplugged energy saving campaign? We surveyed students about their usage of electrical devices to identify the sources of energy consumption and key behaviors to target. We made ten videos exploring the themes of humor, social influence and environmental concern. Focus group discussions showed that a combination of these themes would be most effective for the college audience. Other key aspects were brevity, shock value, personal relevancy and specificity of both target behavior and audience.

 
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Community Perspectives

Cows in a barnA Stakeholder Analysis of Farmers In and Surrounding the Saratoga Lake Watershed

Erin Bukofsky, Nolan Crohn, Erin Kennedy, and Katie McEachen (2007)

We explored farmers’ perspectives on water and the Saratoga Springs water debate. Semi-structured, open-ended interviews with ten farmers revealed variation in opinions regarding environmental regulations and a future water source for the city of Saratoga Springs. Most farmers expressed concern over increasing development and stressed the value maintaining open space through the preservation of farmland.

Full report is not available. Please contact Karen Kellogg for more information.

 

Saratoga Lake v HudsonSaratoga Lake vs. the Hudson River: Voter Preferences for the Future Saratoga Springs Drinking Water Source

Sarah Loomis and Julie Ringer (2007)

This project focused on Saratoga Springs residents’ opinions on future drinking water sources. We surveyed 313 registered voters in Saratoga Springs inquiring about their choice regarding the future drinking water source for the city. The survey uncovered correlations between source preference, respondents’ partisanship, and depth of commitment to the environment.

 

Smart growth in Malta, NYProjects and Perspectives that are Shaping Smart Growth in Malta, New York

Sophia Wiley (2008)

I examined the prospects for smart growth in Malta, New York by conducting analyses of projects Steeplechase at Malta and Luther Forest Technology Campus, and by conducting interviews with elected officials and stakeholders in Malta. My research has found that these projects and envisioned plans for growth simultaneously complement and deviate from the principles of smart growth.

Full report is not available. Please contact Bob Turner for more information.

 

Blessed with waterBlessed with Water: Politicising Resource Management in a Water Rich Area of Upstate New York

Allison Stafford '07, Erin Black '06, Michael C. Ennis-McMillan, Department of Anthropology, and Karen Kellogg, Department of Biology and Environmental Studies Program (2005)

In recent years, Saratoga Springs, New York has experienced increased pressure on water resources, as the population increases and as water sources dwindle. We analyzed the potentially competing interests of civic groups, businesses and corporations, individuals and homeowners, and political officials from the city and county.  Water is viewed as a very powerful natural resource that potentially influences development, economic advancement, political positioning, and the City's composition and character.

Full report is not available. Please contact Karen Kellogg for more information.

 

Sailboat in a towing trailerWater Conflicts and Contradictions: Recreation and Invasive Species in Saratoga Lake

Molly Bergen '06, Leah Wohl-Pollack '08, Michael Ennis-McMillan, Department of Anthropology, and Karen Kellogg, Department of Biology and Environmental Studies Program (2006)

Based on over forty interviews with informed county residents, we discovered that residents' perceptions of Saratoga Lake are influenced by their desire to protect their recreational interests, representing the economic and emotional value they place on Saratoga Lake.  We also learned that personal interaction with invasive species influences residents' perceptions of which species are problematic and which species management plans are desirable. Our study indicates that personal interests often overshadow environmental concern for Saratoga Lake.

Full report is not available. Please contact Karen Kellogg for more information.

 

Saratoga LakeThe Saratoga Lake Watershed: Connecting Biodiversity and Community

Jonathan Betz ’09 and Chris Grassi, Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology (2008)

The proximity and local debates over the uses of Saratoga Lake and its watershed provide an opportunity to educate both the Skidmore and local community about the connections between water, local wildlife, people, and land use.  Therefore we are producing an educational film about the physical, biological, and social aspects of this watershed.  We have conducted 17 formal interviews and recorded over 30 hours of film.  These will be used to represent the ways in which people interact with the watershed and the interests of these different stakeholders.  We have identified themes within these perspectives that demonstrate links and conflicts in viewpoints.

 

septic drainage fieldSeptic System Survey of Residents of Loughberry Lake

Elizabeth Amira Kennedy Streeter (2009)

Unlike government run sewage treatment plants, septic system care and maintenance are the responsibility of individual homeowners.  Proper maintenance is essential to maintaining proper functioning and preventing water pollution.  To better understand behavior and septic maintenance practices, I conducted a survey of the residents who lived closest to the lake and also own septic systems.

Full report is not available. Please contact Cathy Gibson for more information.

 

Saratoga LakeSaratoga Lake Landowner Survey:  Assessing Behaviors, Perceptions and Opinions

Andrew Clinard, Jennifer Hubert, and Bradford Nesbitt (2009)

Our survey of Saratoga Lake residents revealed that most respondents think water quality is acceptable and affects property values, but is threatened by invasive species. While opinions varied on who should maintain the lake, most opposed land use regulations. Future studies and public outreach should focus on these subjects.

Full report is not available. Please contact Bob Turner for more information.

 

Saratoga WatershedThe Uneven Implementation of the Saratoga Lake Watershed Management Plan:  Priorities and Perceptions of Municipalities within the Watershed

Ryan Bailey and Lyndsay Strange (2009)

In 2002, a group of stakeholders created a Saratoga Lake Watershed Management Plan to protect and improve the watershed's resources. Despite this, implementation of the plan's recommendations has been very uneven throughout the watershed's municipalities. Through interviews with local town officials, we identify and explain the factors that affect the implementation of these programs.

Full report is not available. Please contact Bob Turner for more information.

 

Rain gardenCurrent Stormwater Management in Saratoga Springs and the Challenges of Implementing Low Impact Alternatives

Allison Ruschp, Caitlin Frame, and Dani Rueter (2009)  

We explored the feasibility of incorporating low impact design into Saratoga Springs stormwater management program.  We interviewed developers, public works officials, planning board staff, city engineers, and state stormwater engineers to discover the challenges facing the implementation of low impact stormwater management. Saratoga Springs is close to meeting current federal standards but has no funding mechanisms for stormwater management; low impact design is being encouraged for new developments.

Full report is not available. Please contact Cathy Gibson for more information.

 

Morgan Violette and Zach RowenThe Relationship Between Home and Nature: What Living Locations Can Tell Us About Environmentalism

Morgan Violette and Zach Rowen (2010)

A survey of 165 residents in Saratoga County examines the link between distinct residential areas and environmental perceptions and behaviors.  Residents were divided into four groups by living location: urban, suburban, rural and streams (homeowners with streams running through their property).  While actions and opinions varied depending on location, the general trend is that most people in the county spend a fair amount of time recreating outdoors and are environmentally conscious.

 

The Greens are checking inThe "Greens" are Checking In: Assessing the New York State Green Hotel Partnership

Dana Leonard and Derek Stork (2010)

New York has identified a national shift in the hospitality and tourism industry to more environmentally friendly business practices, saving both operating costs and natural resources.  To influence this change, New York has established the Green Hospitality and Tourism Partnership and Certification Program. To achieve a comprehensive understanding and assessment of the Green Hotel Certification Program and Partnership, open-ended interviews were conducted to address every level of involvement with the program.  Through the interviews and extensive media coverage we have found that select hotels across New York are becoming ambassadors and are essential to the eco-tourism movement in New York.

 

Critical instability of domestic agricultureCritical Instability: Why We Need to Revolutionize Domestic Agriculture Before It's Too Late

Dash Hammerstein and Andrew Pfeifer (2010)

This study looks at issues concerning agricultural and farmland protection easements and farm viability in Saratoga County. Through in-depth interviews with 10 farmers, we have found that the Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) program is not an adequate tool to combat the recent and ongoing loss of local farms. Policies aimed at increasing farm viability, especially through the stabilization of milk prices and public education, are necessary to insure a future for Saratoga County agriculture.

Full report is not available. Please contact Karen Kellogg for more information.

 

Malta Town ComplexWhy Don't Communities Choose Smart Growth? A Case Study of Public Deliberation over Planning Decisions in Malta, NY

Nicholas Liu Sontag and Andrew Noone (2011)

If sprawl is unsustainable, why do so few growing communities choose smart growth strategies? We assess Malta’s debate over planning and growth to analyze the quality of traditional forms of public deliberation. We also explored the potential of visual assessment forums to improve the quality of public deliberation on planning decisions.

 

The Homeowner's Guide to Green BuildingThe Homeowner's Guide to Green Building

Trisha Carile and Ian Bain (2012)

Buildings in the United States are responsible for a significant fraction of our overall water consumption, energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, and waste production. By combining new interview data with data from a previous capstone project, we identified several persistent challenges to increasing green building in Saratoga County, including costs and client awareness. In response, we created an online sourcebook of regional green building techniques and products for homeowners.

 

 

Understanding the Competing User of Skidmore's CommonsUnderstanding the Competing User of Skidmore's Commons: A Stakeholder Analysis of the North Woods

Adam Schmelkin and Charlie Glassberg (2012)

The North Woods is a 165-acre forest on Skidmore’s campus that is used by different groups with distinct concerns, values and perceptions of the resource.  Interviews were conducted with students, faculty/staff, and community members to understand these diverse interests.  These interviews informed the creation of recommendations to promote the long-term preservation of the forest and balance individual use, scholarly use, and potential development plans.


 

 
Designing a Sustainable Field Research StationDesigning a Sustainable Field Research Station for Skidmore College’s Off Campus Properties

Marcus Goldbas, Gwyn Harris, and Lily Alverson (2013)

We developed an architectural design for a field station that will increase the use of Skidmore’s forested properties for teaching, learning, and outdoor activities, while implementing sustainable design strategies to limit the environmental impacts on the surrounding landscape.  We combined stakeholder analyses with evaluations of siting, orientation, climate, access/transportation, solar energy, passive solar heating, storm water management, rainwater catchment, day lighting, and materials, and offer a proposal to the Skidmore Community.

 
Green Home Tour

Saratoga’s First Green Home Tour:  A Social Experiment

Rene deJongh, Melissa Green, and Stephanie Seidmon (2013)

As an individual, your single most significant impact on the natural environment is your choice of home and behaviors within the home. As a result, the residential sector in the United States accounts for 40% of our carbon emissions. If energy efficient homes have a smaller environmental impact and save the consumer money, why don’t more people build green homes? In this study we explored the perceptions and behaviors of Saratoga County residents about building green and retrofitting homes through interviews and surveys and how a Green Home Tour could serve as a method of education to spread awareness of green building.

 
Social CapitalSocial Capital and Soils in the Community Gardens of the Capital District:  What they put in and what they take out

Olivia Miller, Abby Smith, and Emily Hudspeth (2013)

What are the social and physical characteristics of community gardens in the Capital District? How does location (urban, suburban, rural?) influence the functionality of gardens? Using a survey, we examined gardener perceptions of and contributions to community, both inside and outside garden walls. We analyzed soil type and impervious surface cover data as well. We created a ranking system to determine those gardens that exhibit the “best” and “worst” characteristics. These results were mapped using GIS which allowed us to find correlations between location and garden success. We found that location has the most impact on impervious surface and community within the garden whereas soil type and engagement with the surrounding community are more variable and depend on other factors besides location.

 
Conceptual Landscapes on Skidmore CampusConceptual Landscapes on Skidmore Campus: Reconciling Perception and Reality

Hannah Greendorfer, Meghan Burke, and Abby Wyant (2013)

Colleges are constantly adapting to internal and external pressures. In the past ten years Skidmore College has increased in size and scope. Our project aims to illustrate how the Skidmore population views and interacts with the college campus. We investigate the conceptualizations of space using cognitive maps drawn by members of the Skidmore community. The assessment of space can then influence future developments and supports sustainable design and a strong Skidmore community.

 
The Times They Are A-Changin'The Times They Are A-Changin': Shifting Environmentalism in Saratoga SpringsRiley Johnson, Gabby Stern, and Sarah Risley (2013)
 
Is the environmental movement really dead? We applied this question to Saratoga Springs and came to our own conclusion: It certainly is not! Saratoga Springs has a vibrant movement that thrives at the local level and addresses an array of environmental issues. Although environmentalism is not dead in Saratoga, the grassroots are transforming. We analyze the state of the movement and how it is continuing to flourish in a new way.
 
 
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Development

Map of the Saratoga regionPotential Development in the Saratoga Lake Watershed

Betsy Quentin and Leigh Siegwarth (2007)

We explored where development is likely to occur in the Saratoga Lake Watershed. Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to compile zoning maps, land use maps, use schedules, and comprehensive plans, we projected areas that are prone to development. We conclude there is significant build-out potential in the watershed.

 

Smart growth in Malta, NYProjects and Perspectives that are Shaping Smart Growth in Malta, New York

Sophia Wiley (2008)

I examined the prospects for smart growth in Malta, New York by conducting analyses of projects Steeplechase at Malta and Luther Forest Technology Campus, and by conducting interviews with elected officials and stakeholders in Malta. My research has found that these projects and envisioned plans for growth simultaneously complement and deviate from the principles of smart growth.

Full report is not available. Please contact Bob Turner for more information.

 

Map of the Hudson River watershedEnvironmental Justice Along the Hudson River

Katarra Peterson ’09, Mary Rynasko ’11 and Rik Scarce, Associate Professor of Sociology (2008)

“Environmental justice” is an area of sociological study combining race, class, and the environment. It hypothesizes that minorities and the poor are disproportionately burdened by environmental hazards.  The goal of this project is to explore how environmentally just or unjust the Hudson River region is.  The research involves using geographic information systems (GIS) and U.S. Census Bureau data sets to map the locations of polluting facilities and the demographics of the neighborhoods around them.  Results are organized by facility type and have thus far indicated that the environmental justice hypothesis is accurate for the Hudson region.

 

Empty chairs at a planning meetingThe Capacity for Smart Growth in the Saratoga Lake Watershed:  A Study of the Local Planning Process

Rose Anderson-Gips and Amanda Peterson (2009)

Are municipalities in rapidly growing Saratoga County managing development to minimize environmental impact?  We reviewed comprehensive plans and surveyed and interviewed planning board members in twelve municipalities within the watershed and found a strong commitment to most smart growth goals, though a limited interest in regional planning.

Full report is not available. Please contact Bob Turner for more information.

 

map of the area around SaratogaA Watershed Approach to Land Conservation in the City of Saratoga Springs, New York

Dan Haro and Carolyn Raider (2010)

Saratoga is New York’s fastest growing county.  Population increase leads to residential and commercial development, resulting in habitat degradation and fragmentation.  Saratoga Springs provides conservation through its zoning ordinance, "the Green Belt." Our study identifies high priority sites to protect within Saratoga’s “Green Belt” conservation zone.  We identify the least developed watersheds as well as watersheds with the highest percentage of forest, wetland, open water, and grassland/shrub habitats.  We recommend replacing the current parcel-based approach to conservation with a more relevant and environmentally successful watershed approach.  We  also recommend additional protection for watersheds with a low percentage of development.

Full report is not available. Please contact Josh Ness for more information.

 

Rain gardenImplementation of Rain Gardens as Alternative Stormwater Management Technique in the Saratoga Lake Watershed

Eli Dibner-Dunlap and Vince Weeks (2010)

Rain gardens are modeled to reduce stormwater runoff by more than a third. Within the Saratoga Lake Watershed, 88% of existing residences contain soils suitable for rain garden implementation. Government regulation or economic benefit is necessary to incentivize developers.  Successful implementation examples are required to convince engineers to implement rain gardens.

 

TractorComposting at Skidmore: Turning our Waste into a Resource

Will Coffey and Nadine Dodge (2010)

Skidmore College produces a substantial amount of organic waste in the form of food scraps, horse manure, and lawn maintenance byproducts that present both economic and environmental concerns to the College. We conducted a comprehensive study to ascertain how these wastes can be turned into a valuable economic and environmental resource through composting. After completing a study of composting at peer institutions, analyzing available composting technologies, and conducting a cost-benefit analysis, we determined that a windrow composting system will be the most cost-effective waste management system for Skidmore. The final result of our project is a detailed proposal that outlines how such a system can be implemented.

 

Sustainable home designShades of Green: The Environmental Sustainability of New Home Design and Build in the Saratoga Springs Region

Phoebe Gallagher and David Ornvold (2010)

In the United States, homes account for twenty percent of energy consumption. Saratoga County is one of the most rapidly growing in the state of New York. This growing population will need new homes. How homes are built now will directly effect the environmental sustainability of our community. We interviewed architects and builders in the region to see how sustainable their work is and what deters them from being more efficient and sustainable. Cost and lack of knowledge were found to be the primary hurdles.

Full report is not available. Please contact Karen Kellogg for more information.

 

Malta Town ComplexWhy Don't Communities Choose Smart Growth? A Case Study of Public Deliberation over Planning Decisions in Malta, NY

Nicholas Liu Sontag and Andrew Noone (2011)

If sprawl is unsustainable, why do so few growing communities choose smart growth strategies? We assess Malta’s debate over planning and growth to analyze the quality of traditional forms of public deliberation. We also explored the potential of visual assessment forums to improve the quality of public deliberation on planning decisions.

 

Global FoundriesBalancing Economic Growth with Environmental and Social Concerns: Evaluating SEQRA Through a Case Study of Global Foundries

Korena Burgio and Evan Caster (2011)

New York State sought to revitalize its economy by attracting semiconductor manufacturing to the Upstate region by competing globally for Global Foundries' newest microchip fabrication facility, Fab 8. Our analysis explores the role New York’s State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) in evaluating the comprehensive economic, environmental, and social impacts associated with Fab 8’s construction and operations in Malta, NY.

 

Green roof (gardening)Green Roofs in the Saratoga Lake Watershed: Sedums of Change

Isobel Flake and Devin O'Donoghue (2011)

Our project examines the perceived obstacles and benefits of green roof implementation. Through case study analyses of Wilton and Skidmore College, we evaluate the financial implications of green roofs, and their influence on stormwater management, carbon sequestration, and energy efficiency.

 
Green Home Tour

Saratoga’s First Green Home Tour:  A Social Experiment

Rene deJongh, Melissa Green, and Stephanie Seidmon (2013)

As an individual, your single most significant impact on the natural environment is your choice of home and behaviors within the home. As a result, the residential sector in the United States accounts for 40% of our carbon emissions. If energy efficient homes have a smaller environmental impact and save the consumer money, why don’t more people build green homes? In this study we explored the perceptions and behaviors of Saratoga County residents about building green and retrofitting homes through interviews and surveys and how a Green Home Tour could serve as a method of education to spread awareness of green building.

 
Unfinished PlansGrand Plans, Trails to Nowhere: An Analysis of Multi-Use Trails in Saratoga Springs

Nate Blanks, Sarah Marks, and Dan Raudonis (2013)

The trail network in Saratoga Springs is underdeveloped and despite numerous plans a cohesive trail network is still far from being a reality. We assess the factors that affect trail creation through historical and first-hand research. Key barriers to trail implementation include funding, government will and communication. Ultimately, we make recommendations for how to improve future trail efforts in the area, including a current plan to create a 10-mile network of trails.
 

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Economic Analyses 

Boardwalk on Kayaderosseras CreekAn Analysis of the Kayaderosseras Creek as an Economic Resource

Becky DiSciacca and Lexie Reiss (2005)

In this study, we have adopted an economic perspective to better understand the relationship between human activity and the natural ecosystem resources in the Kayaderasseras Creek watershed. A general overview of the economic benefits of ecosystem services in addition to a more specific focus on several ecosystem functions, namely aesthetics as well as tourism and recreation, help form a basis for understanding larger economic trends in this natural boundary area.

Full report is not available. Please contact Karen Kellogg for more information.

 

Map of the area around Saratoga LakeRecreation, Economic Status, and Proximity to Saratoga Lake: Saratoga Springs Residents' Views of Municipal Water Sources

Caroline Bergelin and Jennifer Marks (2006)

We used a survey to examine Saratoga Springs residents' views of proposals to develop new municipal water sources. Analysis of survey data show that recreational activities, household economics levels, and varying distances from Saratoga Lake influence how individuals value Saratoga Lake as a key aspect of environmental and social sustainability.

 

Houses in Saratoga SpringsImpact of the New Water Pricing Structure across Various Residential Economic Sectors in Saratoga Springs

Elizabeth Brier-Rosenfield and Elizabeth King (2006)

This study assessed the impact of Saratoga Springs' new water pricing structure on water use in residences of varying household income. We found little change in water use habits and found that only residents from the highest economic bracket reported significant increases in their water bills.
 

Boating on Saratoga LakeThe Economic Impact of Recreation on Saratoga Lake and Threats to Its Long Term Viability: The Perspective of Local Businesses

Jonathan Clarke and Peter Suneson (2007)

Much of the speculation about the use of Saratoga Lake as a drinking source has focused on its potential impact on businesses dependent on recreational activities on the lake. We surveyed owners of businesses on Saratoga Lake to derive the economic impact of recreation. We also conducted open ended interviews of business owners to ascertain what they viewed as long term threats to the vitality of the lake.

 

Boat dock on the water, with a bridge in the backgroundThe Impact of Pricing Reform on Water Consumption in Saratoga Springs

Jonathan Greene and Ben Krasnick (2007)

Economists contend underpricing of scarce natural resources, like water, leads to overconsumption. This study explores how the shift in water pricing has affected residential water consumption in Saratoga Springs using household level data from 2003-2007.

Full report is not available. Please contact Bob Turner for more information.

 

TractorComposting at Skidmore: Turning our Waste into a Resource

Will Coffey and Nadine Dodge (2010)

Skidmore College produces a substantial amount of organic waste in the form of food scraps, horse manure, and lawn maintenance byproducts that present both economic and environmental concerns to the College. We conducted a comprehensive study to ascertain how these wastes can be turned into a valuable economic and environmental resource through composting. After completing a study of composting at peer institutions, analyzing available composting technologies, and conducting a cost-benefit analysis, we determined that a windrow composting system will be the most cost-effective waste management system for Skidmore. The final result of our project is a detailed proposal that outlines how such a system can be implemented.

 

"People/Profit/Planet Venn diagramWe Are Closer to You": Stewart's Shops and Corporate Social Responsibility

Harrison Shulman and Jim Turley (2010)

We studied the workings of Stewart's Shops to determine the practices that have enabled them to be successful in business while maintaining a positive relationship with the communities in which they operate stores as well as a low environmental impact.  We have discovered that Corporate Social Responsibility does not have to be driven by a desire to strictly avoid risk, develop a marketing strategy or target a niche market.  In the case of Stewart's Shops, Corporate Social Responsibility has been the result of their desire to make money and stay in business one hundred years from now. 

Full report is not available. Please contact Karen Kellogg for more information.

 

Aerial view of the Saratoga County Sewer PlantFrom Waste to Energy: A Conceptual Analysis of Anaerobic Digestion at the Saratoga County Sewer District #1 Plant

Laura Adelman and Davide Gill-Austern (2011)

We conducted a conceptual analysis of a potential anaerobic digestion installation at the Saratoga County wastewater treatment plant as a waste to energy solution. We concluded that an anaerobic digester would prove beneficial to the plant based on long term environmental, social, and economic benefits.

 

Finch Paper factoryFinch Paper: Going Green

Michael Jennings and Doug Yeates (2011)

Why is Finch Pruyn, one of the largest remaining paper companies in the Adirondacks, seeking to reduce their carbon and wastewater emissions as well as manage their forest lands more sustainably? We examine the impact of outside stakeholders in making environmental considerations an important component of Finch’s long term competitive strategy.

 

S.O.S. Solar on SkidmoreS.O.S. (Solar on Skidmore)

Rachel Chalat and Leandra Cooper (2012)

We examined the technological and financial feasibility of a solar installation for the Williamson Sports Center and the Van Lennep Riding Center at Skidmore College. The technological portion of this study evaluates practical installation considerations for each site, and the financial portion provides monetary incentives and options. Ultimately, our study provides possible opportunities to help Skidmore continue to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

 

The Gift That Keeps on GivingThe Gift That Keeps on Giving: Skidmore College's New Land

Eva Fillion, Jackie Slocombe, and Roz Freeman (2012)

Skidmore College recently received a gift of 200 acres of forest just north of the College’s riding stables.   We investigated the educational and recreational value of the new land, estimated the carbon sequestration capacity of the forest within the context of the greenhouse emissions by the College, and explored whether other peer colleges have comparable forests (and, if so, how they use them).  We offer recommendations to balance effective use and preservation.

 

 

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Ecosystem Analyses 

Conducting tests on the iceThe Distribution and Accumulation of Copper in the Bottom Sediments of Loughberry Lake, Saratoga Springs, NY

Noah Novotny, Leah Wohl-Pollack, and Whitney Eliot (2008)

Copper sulfate has been used for over 40 years in Loughberry Lake as an algaecide. This project analyzed copper concentrations in sediment samples extracted from cores taken from Loughberry Lake. We determined if and how copper has accumulated in the bottom sediemnts over time and related it to copper sulfate application history in order to better understand copper's possible impact on the lake ecosystem.

Full report is not available. Please contact Cathy Gibson for more information.

 

Copperfish samples for testingCopper Concentrations in Five Freshwater Species from Loughberry Lake, Saratoga Springs, NY

Charles Gouin and Matthew Helterline (2008)

We examined the concentration of copper in the tissue of five aquatic species in Loughberry Lake, and three species from Lake Lonely. The species belong to various trophic levels, allowing us to detect any evidence that copper is biomagnifying. We examined muscle and skin tissue separately from the organ tissue so that these concentrations could be compared.

Full report is not available. Please contact Cathy Gibson for more information.

 

Bluegill sunfishImpacts of Copper Sulfate on the Feeding Efficiency of Juvenile Bluegill Sunfish

Elizabeth Stoner and Elizabeth H. White (2008)

Dissolved copper can damage the olfactory and visual systems of fish at low concentrations. We examined the impact of copper sulfate, a common algaecide, on the foraging behavior of juvenile sunfish. Foraging efficiency influences fish health and food web dynamics, and therefore can suggest changes in ecosystem functioning.

Full report is not available. Please contact Cathy Gibson for more information.

Bluegill sunfishThe Impact of Turbidity on Sunfish Foraging Efficiencies

Jon DeCoste '05, Doug Morin '07, Jorie Pollak '04 and Conor Taff '05 (2005)

We conducted a series of experiments to evaluate the impact of various turbidity levels on juvenile bluegill sunfish foraging efficiencies.   We found that foraging efficiencies are highest at intermediate turbidity levels, and drop significantly at low and high turbidity levels.  We hypothesize that the decrease in foraging efficiencies in clearer water is due to predator avoidance, while the decrease in foraging efficiencies at higher turbidity levels is due to the poor visual environment.

Full report is not available. Please contact Karen Kellogg for more information.

Dan von AllmenDistribution and Ecology of Riparian Invaders in the Upper Hudson Watershed

Emily Rollinson ’09, Dan von Allmen ’09, and Josh Ness, Assistant Professor of Biology (2008)

Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) is a water-borne exotic weed currently invading the riparian zones in the United States and Europe.  We mapped the distribution of knotweed in nine Upper Hudson watersheds, and discovered that invasions were more common in larger streams (third to fifth order) and along the depositional banks of meandering stream reaches.  We attribute both patterns to within-stream increases in the delivery of plant fragments.  We also found that knotweed-invaded riparian zones differed from their non-invaded counterparts, with fewer herbaceous species, fewer woody seedlings, and less light reaching the forest floor.  These invasions may reconfigure riparian communities.

 

Emily Stulik doing samplingImpact of Invasive Diatom on Stream Food Web and Community Structure

Hannah Harris ’10, Emily Stulik ‘10, and Cathy Gibson, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies (2008)

In the summer of 2007, Didymosphenia geminata, an invasive algae also known as “rock snot” was found on the Batten Kill River near Salem, NY.  Previous research has shown that invasions of D. geminata can alter the structure of the macroinvertebrate community by contributing to the decline of other species such as mayflies, stoneflies, and caddisflies.  To determine the impact of the invasion on the macroinvertebrate community of the Batten Kill, we sampled four similar sites with varying levels of invasion.  Both the diets and the community structure of D. geminata were analyzed.  Preliminary results suggest that some species may be capable of limiting the growth of D. geminate through grazing, and that the presence of D. geminata, even at low levels, decreases the abundance of macroinvertebrates in the river.

 

Copper crayfish sampleConcentration and Distribution of Copper in Crayfish in Loughberry Lake

Benjamin Alley (2009)

Copper sulfate is added to Loughberry Lake to control algae.  I examined the geographic distribution of crayfish copper concentrations in Loughberry Lake and looked for evidence of accumulation within the crayfish.  Crayfish from three locations on the lake were analyzed for copper to examine geographic distribution, and five crayfish of various sizes were examined from one location to examine accumulation.

Full report is not available. Please contact Cathy Gibson for more information.

 

leaf litter isolated for studyBreaking it down:  The Influence of Relative Nitrogen and Phosphorus Availability on Leaf Litter Decomposition and Macroinvertebrate Communities in Two Small Streams within the Saratoga Lake Watershed

Alicea Cock-Esteb and Hannah Harris (2009)

When leaves fall into streams, they are incorporated into the food web through consumption by microorganisms and macroinvertebrates. Our study examined how the relative availability of nitrogen and phosphorous influenced the rates of leaf litter decomposition via macroinvertebrate communities and microbial respiration in two small, wooded streams in the Saratoga Lake Watershed. We found that a higher relative availability of nitrogen and phosphorous corresponds to higher decomposition rates although the macroinvertebrate community seems to be more influenced by other factors.

Full report is not available. Please contact Cathy Gibson for more information.

 

Sampling for Japanese knotweedWeather or Knot:  The Impact of Natural and Anthropogenic Disturbances on Japanese Knotweed

Daniel von Allmen, Peter Leipzig-Scott, and Erin Kenison (2009)

Japanese knotweed is an aggressive invader of riparian habitats.  Our study investigates how natural and anthropogenic disturbances, including flooding, human land use and natural stream channel migration, affect the distribution of knotweed.  These disturbances had differing effects on knotweed presence. A large percentage of plants were damaged over winter months, which may contribute to plant fragmentation and subsequent dispersal.

Full report is not available. Please contact Cathy Gibson for more information.

 

Studying a beaver-chewed treeThe Influence of Beavers on Sediment Storage and Stream Turbidity in the Saratoga Lake Watershed

Stephanie Abrams, Lindsay Bourgoine, and Alexandra Furman (2009)

This study examines the repopulation of beavers within the Saratoga Lake Watershed through pond density and how their ecosystem engineering has geomorphically impacted water bodies. The three beaver ponds investigated stored large quantities of sediment and the amount of suspended particles decreased downstream of the ponds. Therefore, increases in pond density result in changes in the way sediment is stored in the watershed.

Full report is not available. Please contact Cathy Gibson for more information.

 

 

 

map of the area around SaratogaA Watershed Approach to Land Conservation in the City of Saratoga Springs, New York

Dan Haro and Carolyn Raider (2010)

Saratoga is New York’s fastest growing county.  Population increase leads to residential and commercial development, resulting in habitat degradation and fragmentation.  Saratoga Springs provides conservation through its zoning ordinance, "the Green Belt." Our study identifies high priority sites to protect within Saratoga’s “Green Belt” conservation zone.  We identify the least developed watersheds as well as watersheds with the highest percentage of forest, wetland, open water, and grassland/shrub habitats.  We recommend replacing the current parcel-based approach to conservation with a more relevant and environmentally successful watershed approach.  We  also recommend additional protection for watersheds with a low percentage of development.

Full report is not available. Please contact Josh Ness for more information.

 

Duckweed and water fern in sample containersPhytoremediation of Nutrient-Controlled Water Using Duckweed and Water Fern

Dawn Harfmann and Jakob Schenker (2010)
 
Phytoremediation is a way to use plants to remove nitrogen and phosphorus in water bodies, nutrients which could cause eutrophication. Duckweed, water fern, and a combination of both plants were cultivated in varying nutrient environments and analyzed for nutrient uptake patterns. These environments had nitrogen levels characteristic of eutrophic water bodies and phosphorus levels characteristic of oligotrophic and mesotrophic water bodies. Nitrogen concentrations decreased by up to 87% in the duckweed treatment. Possible synergistic effects between the two species were observed, as the combination treatment reduced nitrogen levels to 11% below expected values.

 

 

 

Citizen BioMAKCitizen BioMAK: A Volunteer Guide to Biological Monitoring and Assessment of the Kayaderosseras Creek

Katherine Bohn and Sarah Sproviero (2011)

Water quality is constantly fluctuating, and New York State’s monitoring resources are inadequate. In collaboration with the Saratoga County Stormwater Management Coordinator, we developed BioMAK, a citizen-based biomonitoring guide instructing volunteers how to use macroinvertebrate populations to assess Kayaderosseras Creek water quality. Ideally, data collected by community members will eventually supplement limited government data, while also educating citizens.

 

Promoting Environmental SustainabilityPromoting Environmental Sustainability Initiatives: The Role of a Chamber of Commerce

Kelly McDonnell and William Moseley (2012)

A significant, positive association has been found between environmental stewardship and economic growth.  Taking this into consideration, our study focuses on the role of Chambers of Commerce in forwarding environmental sustainability initiatives.  This study was informed by interviews with 20 Chambers of Commerce and interviews with Saratoga County Chamber members.  Out research culminated in a series of recommendations for the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce to promote environmental sustainability in Saratoga.

 

 
 
Keeping up with the KarnersKeeping up with the Karners: Habitat, Population and Persistence of a Local Federally Endangered Species

Olivia Berry and Tessa Leverone (2012)

One of the largest populations of the Karner Blue Butterfly, a federally endangered species, is located in the Saratoga Watershed. We synthesized five years of demographic and habitat data collected by The Nature Conservancy and NY-DEC.  Our results demonstrate that habitat characteristics and existing population size can predict much of the variation in how sub-populations grow or shrink in size over time, and reinforce the importance of targeted and consistent management practices in the future.

 

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Education 

Watershed educationA Watershed Education Guide for Saratoga Lake

Lauren Fletcher and Sieglinde Mueller (2008)

The Saratoga Lake Watershed Education guide was created through an analysis of existing environmental education curricula and tailoring the activities to 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students within the local watershed. The project culminated in a 32-activity education guide that incorporates indoor and outdoor activities and focuses on hands-on learning. The activities were field tested at two local elementary schools: Saratoga Independent School in Saratoga Springs, NY, and Saint Mary’s School in Ballston Spa, NY.

 

 

boats on Saratoga LakeThe Saratoga Lake Watershed: Connecting Biodiversity and Community

Jonathan Betz ’09 and Chris Grassi, Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology (2008)

The proximity and local debates over the uses of Saratoga Lake and its watershed provide an opportunity to educate both the Skidmore and local community about the connections between water, local wildlife, people, and land use.  Therefore we are producing an educational film about the physical, biological, and social aspects of this watershed.  We have conducted 17 formal interviews and recorded over 30 hours of film.  These will be used to represent the ways in which people interact with the watershed and the interests of these different stakeholders.  We have identified themes within these perspectives that demonstrate links and conflicts in viewpoints.

 

Educational outreach in local schoolsDesigning and Institutionalizing a Place-Based Watershed Curriculum in Ballston Spa

Hannah Phillips and Sarah Whateley (2009)

We designed place-based lesson plans to complement the in-class ecosystem unit for a fifth grade classroom in Ballston Spa, New York and to increase students’ awareness of place. Our interviews with local teachers and administrators identified challenges to implementing such programs.  We also assessed the students’ prior environmental knowledge.

Full report is not available. Please contact Bob Turner for more information.

 

SWAN logoSWAN: An Online Education Guide for the Saratoga Lake Watershed

Mel Ausanka-Crues and Stephanie McGurk (2010)

The Saratoga Watershed Awareness Network (SWAN) is a new online education guide to inform local stakeholders about the threats to the Saratoga Lake Watershed.  The website is a synthesis of past Skidmore capstone research and will continue to be updated with future studies. Current pages include information concerning development and impervious surfaces, water shortages, and septic systems.

 

Understanding the Competing User of Skidmore's CommonsNo Child Left Indoors: An Analysis of Local Place-based Elementary Environmental Education

Sara Velardi and Adam Cohen (2012)

As children spend less time outdoors, they may lose connections to the natural world - an important aspect to the development of environmental stewardship.  In analyzing thirteen local elementary schools, we found that found that land use (composition of areas adjacent to schools), school resources, and teachers’ initiative are the primary factors influencing outdoor experience in science lessons. Teachers’ motivation to include experiential outdoor lessons proved the most effective method to remedy this predicament.


 

 
Designing a Sustainable Field Research StationDesigning a Sustainable Field Research Station for Skidmore College’s Off Campus Properties

Marcus Goldbas, Gwyn Harris, and Lily Alverson (2013)

We developed an architectural design for a field station that will increase the use of Skidmore’s forested properties for teaching, learning, and outdoor activities, while implementing sustainable design strategies to limit the environmental impacts on the surrounding landscape.  We combined stakeholder analyses with evaluations of siting, orientation, climate, access/transportation, solar energy, passive solar heating, storm water management, rainwater catchment, day lighting, and materials, and offer a proposal to the Skidmore Community.

 
Conceptual Landscapes on Skidmore CampusConceptual Landscapes on Skidmore Campus: Reconciling Perception and Reality

Hannah Greendorfer, Meghan Burke, and Abby Wyant (2013)

Colleges are constantly adapting to internal and external pressures. In the past ten years Skidmore College has increased in size and scope. Our project aims to illustrate how the Skidmore population views and interacts with the college campus. We investigate the conceptualizations of space using cognitive maps drawn by members of the Skidmore community. The assessment of space can then influence future developments and supports sustainable design and a strong Skidmore community.

 
Growing Good Habits
Growing Good Habits: A Garden-Based Approach to Fourth & Fifth Grade Learning

Haley Duncan, Anna-Beth Lawler, and Duke Yun (2013)

Today, children face depravation from nature, unhealthy eating habits, and limited physical activity. Garden-based learning can address all of these issues, while also enhancing science classes. We developed a 5-week indoor, garden-based, after-school program with fourth and fifth graders from St. Mary's elementary school in Ballston Spa to measure their effectiveness. Successful gardening programs must create allies within the school and ultimately influence in-classroom curriculums.

 
Breaking In
Breaking In: Educating Prisoners Through Environmental Literacy

Sondra Lipshutz, Kristen Stearns, and Sarah LaBella (2013)

How can the impact of the environmental movement reach underserved communities?  Our project involved seeking nontraditional allies in prisoners, working with Mt. McGregor Correctional Facility in Wilton, NY to implement an environmental literacy program for inmates.  Literature, film, and interactive activities introduced inmates to topics from climate change to green jobs. We used pre- and post-surveys to evaluate the program and made suggestions for future Skidmore/prison collaboration in the field of environmental studies.

 

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Energy

Aerial view of the Saratoga County Sewer PlantFrom Waste to Energy: A Conceptual Analysis of Anaerobic Digestion at the Saratoga County Sewer District #1 Plant

Laura Adelman and Davide Gill-Austern (2011)

We conducted a conceptual analysis of a potential anaerobic digestion installation at the Saratoga County wastewater treatment plant as a waste to energy solution. We concluded that an anaerobic digester would prove beneficial to the plant based on long term environmental, social, and economic benefits.

 
 
A Cultured RevolutionA Cultured Revolution: Growing Native Algae in Wastewater to Produce Ethanol

Pia Ruisi-Besares and Peter McInerney (2012)

Production of bioethanol from algae presents a sustainable alternative to first generation biofuels and fossil fuels. We grew two native algal species in different treatments of wastewater and measured total biomass and ethanol production. Penium margaritaceum and Scenedesmus quadricuada were most productive in 50% wastewater treatments; S. quadricuada produced greater amounts of biomass per treatment and ethanol per gram. Wastewater composition determined the total biomass per treatment while cell physiology determined ethanol production.

 

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Food Systems

Local food in the dining hallLocal Food from Farm to School: Investigating the Skidmore Dining Hall's Local Partnerships

Maranda Duval and Jesse Moy (2011)
 
The Skidmore College Dining Hall has joined the local food movement by forming partnerships with nearby farmers, processors, and distributors. In this study, we investigate the history and effectiveness of these local partnerships and make recommendations on how to expand and improve them in the future.

 

Local food marketsUnderstanding the Saratoga Springs Local Food System: An Analysis of its Local Food Markets

Erin Donnellan and Kate Ito (2011)

Increasing the consumption of local foods requires a detailed understanding of how local food markets connect producers, distribution outlets, and consumers. Our analysis reveals that there is not a single market for local foods, but rather a set of related but distinct local food markets. Increasing local foods requires a multi-faceted approach that reflects this complexity.

 

An array of carrots in a wheel-shapeFood Matters: Increasing the Availability of Local Food to Low Income Populations in Saratoga County Through Community Organizations

Rebecca Drago and Laura Fralich (2011)

Low-income communities have limited access to affordable, healthy food options due to a variety of social, financial, and structural barriers. In Saratoga County, a number of local programs have emerged to address these issues. We analyze the effectiveness of these programs and provide suggestions for increasing their scope.

 

Skidmore Supported AgricultureSkidmore Supported Agriculture: Bringing More Local Food to the Skidmore College Community

Will Dowling (2012)

The current industrial agriculture system in the United States has damaged the environment and distanced people from their food and farms. The organic and local food movements have arisen in response to this system’s flaws.  Through programs such as Community Supported Agriculture, people are gaining access to wholesome, local food while reconnecting with their food and communities. This project seeks to provide the benefits of this service to the greater Skidmore College community.

 
Social CapitalSocial Capital and Soils in the Community Gardens of the Capital District:  What they put in and what they take out

Olivia Miller, Abby Smith, and Emily Hudspeth (2013)

What are the social and physical characteristics of community gardens in the Capital District? How does location (urban, suburban, rural?) influence the functionality of gardens? Using a survey, we examined gardener perceptions of and contributions to community, both inside and outside garden walls. We analyzed soil type and impervious surface cover data as well. We created a ranking system to determine those gardens that exhibit the “best” and “worst” characteristics. These results were mapped using GIS which allowed us to find correlations between location and garden success. We found that location has the most impact on impervious surface and community within the garden whereas soil type and engagement with the surrounding community are more variable and depend on other factors besides location.

 
 

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Geology of the Watershed 

map of the Kayaderosseras watershedA Survey of the Surficial and Bedrock Geology of the Kayaderosseras Watershed

Conor Taff '05 (2005)

The aim of this project was to provide a basic GIS database of relevant maps and layers of the Kayaderosseras watershed as a foundation for future WRI research.   Detailed maps and layers of the Kayaderosseras watershed were created, including subwatershed divisions, topography, municipal boundaries, land use, roadways, bedrock geology and surficial geology.   This project also includes an overview of the geologic history of Kayaderosseras watershed.

 

"Turbid" Waters of the Kayaderosseross: Human Caused or Glacially Influenced?

Erin E. Black '06 and Kyle K. Nichols, Department of Geosciences (2006)

The turbidity of streams can be caused by land use change, such as residential or commercial development and agricultural practices, or by natural erosion of stream banks. We measured stream discharge and turbidity in each watershed. Preliminary results show that discharge per unit area (Q/A) was controlled mostly by soil infiltration capacity and surficial geology, while residential and commercial development seemed to have little effect on the magnitude of Q/A. Our preliminary results suggest that farming practices increase stream turbidity, but the relationship between development and increased stream turbidity is less certain.

Full report is not available. Please contact Kyle Nichols for more information.

 

"In Depth " Knowledge (based on 378 well logs) of Kayaderosseross Creek Surficial Sediments

Michael Cleveland '06, Erin Black '06, Christine D'Esopo '07, Doug Donovan '06, Nicholas Napoli, GIS Center for Interdisciplinary Research, and Kyle K. Nichols, Department of Geosciences (2006)

Reinterpretation of 378 well logs provides a three-dimensional understanding of the surficial sediments in the Kayaderosseras Creek watershed, which includes the proto-Hudson River and the delta formed by its inlet into glacial Lake Albany. We utilized GIS to produce a depth to bedrock map, define aquifer morphology and location, and identify thickness of surficial sediment layers in the form of a three-dimensional block diagram. We also produced isovel maps displaying depth to groundwater and water availability.

Full report is not available. Please contact Kyle Nichols for more information.

 

Factors Affecting Precipitation and Baseflow in Two Small Paired Basins in Wilton, New York

Allison Stafford '07 and Kyle K. Nichols, Department of Geosciences (2007)

Precipitation and discharge were recorded in the Loughberry basin and the Louden basin. The Loughberry site received 80% of the precipitation that the Louden site received.  This difference may be a result of the urban center located to the west of the Louden rain gauge, which may form an urban heat island that affects local climate.  Discharge normalized by basin area for the Louden creek cross-section was 1.2 times those for the Loughberry creek cross-section.  This rapid increase in baseflow could be due to a decrease in groundwater withdrawal by agricultural and golf course irrigation wells in combination with a decrease in vegetation transpiration following defoliation.

Full report is not available. Please contact Kyle Nichols for more information.

 

Kyle Nichols doing field researchLogging, Dams, and Jams: What Was the Geomorphic Impact of Adirondack Logging on Hudson River Headwater Streams?

Matthew Shrensel ’09 and Kyle Nichols, Associate Professor of Geosciences (2008)

Adirondack logging from the early 1800s-1950 used waterways to drive logs through terrain too rugged and remote for overland transport.  To facilitate log transport, dams were constructed to release water during spring melt.  Such an increase of peak discharge may have had a lasting effect on drainage morphology and sediment distribution.  Our goal was to develop a database of logging dams that were used during this time.  We used several different means to acquire dam locations such as: literature, interviews with local ‘experts’, classifieds and web forums, and developing our own criteria based on basin morphology from topographic maps and aerial photographs.  To date we have over 80 confirmed and potential sites.

 

map of the Saratoga Lake watershedChanges to Saratoga Lake’s Hydrology after 20 Years of Development and Growth

Matthew Shrensel (2009)

I used satellite imagery to examine shifts in land use in Saratoga Lake Watershed over the past 20 years.  I modeled hydrology for the watershed based on the land use from the imagery.  Despite large changes in population, land use change is low, and associated hydrological shifts are minimal.

Full report is not available. Please contact Cathy Gibson for more information.

 

Rain gardenImplementation of Rain Gardens as Alternative Stormwater Management Technique in the Saratoga Lake Watershed

Eli Dibner-Dunlap and Vince Weeks (2010)

Rain gardens are modeled to reduce stormwater runoff by more than a third. Within the Saratoga Lake Watershed, 88% of existing residences contain soils suitable for rain garden implementation. Government regulation or economic benefit is necessary to incentivize developers.  Successful implementation examples are required to convince engineers to implement rain gardens.

 

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Green Architecture

Sustainable home designShades of Green: The Environmental Sustainability of New Home Design and Build in the Saratoga Springs Region

Phoebe Gallagher and David Ornvold (2010)

In the United States, homes account for twenty percent of energy consumption. Saratoga County is one of the most rapidly growing in the state of New York. This growing population will need new homes. How homes are built now will directly effect the environmental sustainability of our community. We interviewed architects and builders in the region to see how sustainable their work is and what deters them from being more efficient and sustainable. Cost and lack of knowledge were found to be the primary hurdles.Full report is not available.

Please contact Karen Kellogg for more information.

 

Green roof (gardening)Green Roofs in the Saratoga Lake Watershed: Sedums of Change

Isobel Flake and Devin O'Donoghue (2011)

Our project examines the perceived obstacles and benefits of green roof implementation. Through case study analyses of Wilton and Skidmore College, we evaluate the financial implications of green roofs, and their influence on stormwater management, carbon sequestration, and energy efficiency.

 

The Homeowner's Guide to Green BuildingThe Homeowner's Guide to Green Building

Trisha Carile and Ian Bain (2012)

Buildings in the United States are responsible for a significant fraction of our overall water consumption, energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, and waste production. By combining new interview data with data from a previous capstone project, we identified several persistent challenges to increasing green building in Saratoga County, including costs and client awareness. In response, we created an online sourcebook of regional green building techniques and products for homeowners.

 
Designing a Sustainable Field Research StationDesigning a Sustainable Field Research Station for Skidmore College’s Off Campus Properties

Marcus Goldbas, Gwyn Harris, and Lily Alverson (2013)

We developed an architectural design for a field station that will increase the use of Skidmore’s forested properties for teaching, learning, and outdoor activities, while implementing sustainable design strategies to limit the environmental impacts on the surrounding landscape.  We combined stakeholder analyses with evaluations of siting, orientation, climate, access/transportation, solar energy, passive solar heating, storm water management, rainwater catchment, day lighting, and materials, and offer a proposal to the Skidmore Community.

 
Green Home Tour

Saratoga’s First Green Home Tour:  A Social Experiment

Rene deJongh, Melissa Green, and Stephanie Seidmon (2013)

As an individual, your single most significant impact on the natural environment is your choice of home and behaviors within the home. As a result, the residential sector in the United States accounts for 40% of our carbon emissions. If energy efficient homes have a smaller environmental impact and save the consumer money, why don’t more people build green homes? In this study we explored the perceptions and behaviors of Saratoga County residents about building green and retrofitting homes through interviews and surveys and how a Green Home Tour could serve as a method of education to spread awareness of green building.

 
Why Local

Why Local: An Examination of Motivations and Barriers to Integrating Local Food in Saratoga Restaurants

Lauren Markram, Julia Paino, and Holden Greene (2013)

Which restaurants in Saratoga County use local foods, what are their motivations, and what are the barriers that prevent expansion of this market?  To answer these questions, we conducted a multi-method study combining food systems theory with market theory. Our findings suggest that Saratoga residents are interested and willing to pay more for local food, but that lack of communication between stakeholders has created market inefficiencies that must be addressed in order to facilitate greater integration of local food in Saratoga restaurants.

 

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Green Business

People/Profit/Planet Venn diagram"We Are Closer to You": Stewart's Shops and Corporate Social Responsibility

Harrison Shulman and Jim Turley (2010)

We studied the workings of Stewart's Shops to determine the practices that have enabled them to be successful in business while maintaining a positive relationship with the communities in which they operate stores as well as a low environmental impact.  We have discovered that Corporate Social Responsibility does not have to be driven by a desire to strictly avoid risk, develop a marketing strategy or target a niche market.  In the case of Stewart's Shops, Corporate Social Responsibility has been the result of their desire to make money and stay in business one hundred years from now. 

Full report is not available. Please contact Karen Kellogg for more information.

 

The Greens are checking inThe "Greens" are Checking In: Assessing the New York State Green Hotel Partnership

Dana Leonard and Derek Stork (2010)

New York has identified a national shift in the hospitality and tourism industry to more environmentally friendly business practices, saving both operating costs and natural resources.  To influence this change, New York has established the Green Hospitality and Tourism Partnership and Certification Program. To achieve a comprehensive understanding and assessment of the Green Hotel Certification Program and Partnership, open-ended interviews were conducted to address every level of involvement with the program.  Through the interviews and extensive media coverage we have found that select hotels across New York are becoming ambassadors and are essential to the eco-tourism movement in New York.

 

Finch Paper factoryFinch Paper: Going Green

Michael Jennings and Doug Yeates (2011)

Why is Finch Pruyn, one of the largest remaining paper companies in the Adirondacks, seeking to reduce their carbon and wastewater emissions as well as manage their forest lands more sustainably? We examine the impact of outside stakeholders in making environmental considerations an important component of Finch’s long term competitive strategy.

 

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History of the Watershed

History of the Kayaderosseras watershedThe History of the Kayaderosseras Watershed:  An Environmental Approach

Jon DeCoste and Conor Taff (2005)

Using various archival sources, a history of the Kayaderosseras watershed was constructed starting before European settlement and proceeding into the 20th century. The goal of this project is to illuminate historical trends and changes that have shaped the environment that we see today and to provide valuable insight into future monitoring and planning.

 

Drought cartoonWhat to do about a Drought in a Bout of Drought: Understanding Drought in a Water-Rich Region

Andy Hart and Kate Stevens (2008)

This study explores the causes of drought in Saratoga and how the city responds to instances of drought. Our results reveal that drought in Saratoga can be affected by precipitation, population growth, water consumption, and Loughberry Lake’s storage capacity. Drawing from interviews with Public Works officials, we learn that the city manages small drought periods with mainly reactive responses. In order for the city to have a genuine proactive drought management policy, a larger water source with more storage capacity is needed to both store water and provide guaranteed water for the citizens of Saratoga in a time of severe drought.

Full report is not available. Please contact Bob Turner for more information.

 

Geology of the Kayaderosseras watershedA Survey of the Surficial and Bedrock Geology of the Kayaderosseras Watershed

Conor Taff '05 (2005)

The aim of this project was to provide a basic GIS database of relevant maps and layers of the Kayaderosseras watershed as a foundation for future WRI research.   Detailed maps and layers of the Kayaderosseras watershed were created, including subwatershed divisions, topography, municipal boundaries, land use, roadways, bedrock geology and surficial geology.   This project also includes an overview of the geologic history of Kayaderosseras watershed.

 

Hudson River, CatskillsEarly Meanings of the Hudson River

Megan McAdams '08 and Rik Scarce, Department of Anthropology (2006)

From its discovery by Henry Hudson in 1609, the Hudson River landscape's meanings changed dramatically and repeatedly throughout history. Our project's goal was to develop a theory to describe the earliest of those shifting meanings and to explain the forces that gave rise to them. Our fundamental theoretical observation is that power, in some form, was dependent upon the Hudson River landscape. In that sense, the landscape, not human culture, was the ultimate arbiter of meaning in the Hudson's earliest recorded periods.

Full report is not available. Please contact Rik Scarce for more information.

 

crooked watersCrooked Waters: A History of Riparian Conflict in the Kayaderosseras Watershed

Nadine Dodge '10, Brad Nesbitt '09, Karen Kellogg, Environmental Studies Program, and Michael Ennis-McMillan, Department of Anthropology (2007)

As industry and population burgeoned within the Kayaderosseras Creek watershed throughout the 19th century, tensions among the stakeholders of this shared resource also heightened. Manufacturers began to use the creek as a secondary resource. Those who still relied on the water as a primary resource suffered from the water's altered flow and diminished quality. Common law and government legislation proved an often unreliable means of enforcing pollution control. The early water conflicts in the Kayaderosseras watershed demonstrate the prominent role of water in community development, discussion, and debate.

Full report is not available. Please contact Karen Kellogg for more information.

 

Logging, dams, and jamsLogging, Dams, and Jams: What Was the Geomorphic Impact of Adirondack Logging on Hudson River Headwater Streams?

Matthew Shrensel ’09 and Kyle Nichols, Associate Professor of Geosciences (2008)

Adirondack logging from the early 1800s-1950 used waterways to drive logs through terrain too rugged and remote for overland transport.  To facilitate log transport, dams were constructed to release water during spring melt.  Such an increase of peak discharge may have had a lasting effect on drainage morphology and sediment distribution.  Our goal was to develop a database of logging dams that were used during this time.  We used several different means to acquire dam locations such as: literature, interviews with local ‘experts’, classifieds and web forums, and developing our own criteria based on basin morphology from topographic maps and aerial photographs.  To date we have over 80 confirmed and potential sites.

 

Capturing and preserving historyCapturing and Preserving History in the Upper Hudson River Valley: Development of a Historic Map Database Using Geographic Information Systems

Lyndsay Strange ’09 and Alex Chaucer, GIS Instructional Technologist (2008)

The Upper Hudson River valley has a rich history of industrial, commercial, residential and recreational impacts at different stages in time throughout the watershed. When studying this geographic area there currently is no centralized resource to suggest watershed impacts organized in a temporal and geographical context.  Historic maps contain much of this valuable reference information, yet there is no centralized resource for searching these documents, and often access involves a physical visit to view the document. By contacting private collectors and public libraries’ archives, we are able to locate and access fragile historic maps. This projects aims to collect this historic cartographic information digitally, reference it geographically, maintain it centrally, and present this information in usable format for future research purposes.

 

Place of the Swift WatersPlace of the Swift Waters: A History of the First People of the Saratoga Lake Watershed

Jenna Gersie and Malone Matson (2010)

We examined a history of the native people of the Saratoga Lake Watershed, beginning with archaeological evidence from 12,000 years ago and focusing on the time surrounding early European contact.  Though many New England tribes such as the Mahican used the lands in this area, we explored the ways that the Mohawk people in particular related to water in terms of food resources, including fishing, hunting, and agriculture; travel, trade, and warfare along the area's waterways; the medicinal springs of Saratoga; spirituality and culture; and current water-use issues.

 

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Invasive Species

zebra musselsEffect of Zebra Mussels (Dreissenapolymorpha) on Turbidity

Mary Dunham, Emily Voldstad, and Leanna Westfall(2006)

This study assessed how zebra mussels, an invasive species in Saratoga Lake, impact turbidity, which is a measure of water clarity. We also discuss interactions between zebra mussels and other invasive species, and how these relationships affect water quality in Saratoga Lake.

Full report is not available. Please contact Karen Kellogg for more information.

 

Sailboat in a towing trailerWater Conflicts and Contradictions: Recreation and Invasive Species in Saratoga Lake

Molly Bergen '06, Leah Wohl-Pollack '08, Michael Ennis-McMillan, Department of Anthropology, and Karen Kellogg, Department of Biology and Environmental Studies Program (2006)

Based on over forty interviews with informed county residents, we discovered that residents' perceptions of Saratoga Lake are influenced by their desire to protect their recreational interests, representing the economic and emotional value they place on Saratoga Lake.  We also learned that personal interaction with invasive species influences residents' perceptions of which species are problematic and which species management plans are desirable. Our study indicates that personal interests often overshadow environmental concern for Saratoga Lake.

Full report is not available. Please contact Karen Kellogg for more information.

 

distribution chartDistribution and Ecology of Riparian Invaders in Kayaderosseras Creek and the Battenkill

Erin Kenison '09, Peter Leipzig-Scott '09, and Josh Ness, Department of Biology (2007)

Japanese knotweed is a highly invasive weed currently invading the riparian zones of the Kayaderossersas and Battenkill river systems. Our mapping of Knotweed suggests that invaded sites become more common as river size and discharge rates increase, and that the invasion potential varies with stream geomorphology. We conclude that the knotweed invasion is facilitated by a readily available transportation network (flowing rivers) and a paucity of effective natural enemies.

Full report is not available. Please contact Josh Ness for more information.

 

Dan von AllmenDistribution and Ecology of Riparian Invaders in the Upper Hudson Watershed

Emily Rollinson ’09, Dan vonAllmen ’09, and Josh Ness, Assistant Professor of Biology (2008)

Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) is a water-borne exotic weed currently invading the riparian zones in the United States and Europe.  We mapped the distribution of knotweed in nine Upper Hudson watersheds, and discovered that invasions were more common in larger streams (third to fifth order) and along the depositional banks of meandering stream reaches.  We attribute both patterns to within-stream increases in the delivery of plant fragments.  We also found that knotweed-invaded riparian zones differed from their non-invaded counterparts, with fewer herbaceous species, fewer woody seedlings, and less light reaching the forest floor.  These invasions may reconfigure riparian communities.

 

Emily Stulik doing samplingImpact of Invasive Diatom on Stream Food Web and Community Structure

Hannah Harris ’10, Emily Stulik ‘10, and Cathy Gibson, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies (2008)

In the summer of 2007, Didymospheniageminataan invasive algae also known as “rock snot” was found on the Batten Kill River near Salem, NY.  Previous research has shown that invasions of D. geminata can alter the structure of the macroinvertebrate community by contributing to the decline of other species such as mayflies, stoneflies, and caddisflies.  To determine the impact of the invasion on the macroinvertebrate community of the Batten Kill, we sampled four similar sites with varying levels of invasion.  Both the diets and the community structure of D. geminata were analyzed.  Preliminary results suggest that some species may be capable of limiting the growth of D. geminate through grazing, and that the presence of D. geminata, even at low levels, decreases the abundance of macroinvertebrates in the river.

 

Sampling for Japanese knotweedWeather or Knot:  The Impact of Natural and Anthropogenic Disturbances on Japanese Knotweed

Daniel vonAllmen, Peter Leipzig-Scott, Erin Kenison (2009)

Japanese knotweed is an aggressive invader of riparian habitats.  Our study investigates how natural and anthropogenic disturbances, including flooding, human land use and natural stream channel migration, affect the distribution of knotweed.  These disturbances had differing effects on knotweed presence. A large percentage of plants were damaged over winter months, which may contribute to plant fragmentation and subsequent dispersal.

Full report is not available. Please contact Cathy Gibson for more information.

 

Saratoga LakeSaratoga Lake Landowner Survey:  Assessing Behaviors, Perceptions and Opinions

Andrew Clinard, Jennifer Hubert, and Bradford Nesbitt (2009)

Our survey of Saratoga Lake residents revealed that most respondents think water quality is acceptable and affects property values, but is threatened by invasive species. While opinions varied on who should maintain the lake, most opposed land use regulations. Future studies and public outreach should focus on these subjects.

Full report is not available. Please contact Bob Turner for more information.

 

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Land Use Patterns 

Land use patternsKayaderosseras Creek Watershed:   An Examination of Land Use Patterns & Point and Non-Point Pollution

James Caris and Laura Wittman (2005)

This project uses a series of GIS maps to visually convey point discharges as well as land use types that may contribute to non-point pollution within the watershed.  Additionally, relevant state and federal permitting and policy procedures are included in order to highlight regulatory aspects applicable to facilities and land use that may affect the quality of the Kayaderosseras watershed.

 

Kayaderosseras CreekQuantifying Riparian Zones in the Kayaderosseras Watershed

Hal Himmel (2005)

The focus of this study is to determine the overall state of riparian zones in the Kayaderosseras Creek watershed. Using GIS and field site verification, the land use patterns within 200 feet of the Kayaderosseras and its tributaries were quantified.   These data give insights into the overall buffering capacity, habitat availability and possible areas of concern within the watershed.

Full report is not available. Please contact Karen Kellogg for more information.

 

Flood mappingEvaluating FEMA Flood Map Methodology and the implications of Flooding and Land Use on Water Quality

Katie Bronson and Cortlandt Toczylowski (2006)

This project explored the methodology used to develop the 100 year FEMA flood map for the Saratoga Lake watershed and characterized land use patterns within this floodplain.  We also assessed the possible influences of land use in the floodplain on the water quality of Saratoga Lake.

Full report is not available. Please contact Karen Kellogg for more information.

 

Creek channeled through a culvertChannelization in the Saratoga Lake Watershed

Allison Gillum and Allison Stafford (2006)

Using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and field measurements, we determined the total length of streams in the Saratoga Lake watershed that have been channelized. While we found only approximately 5% to be channelized, primarily for transportation and industrial use, we discuss how these alterations could cause potential problems for the watershed.

 

map of the area around SaratogaPotential Development in the Saratoga Lake Watershed

Betsy Quentin and Leigh Siegwarth (2007)

We explored where development is likely to occur in the Saratoga Lake Watershed. Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to compile zoning maps, land use maps, use schedules, and comprehensive plans, we projected areas that are prone to development. We conclude there is significant build-out potential in the watershed.

 

map of the Saratoga Lake watershedLand Conservation and Water Quality in the Saratoga Lake Watershed

Doug Morin (2007)

This study focused on the link between conserved lands and water quality and quantity within the Saratoga Lake Watershed. The boundaries and vegetation cover of conserved lands were mapped in GIS. Overall, the watershed contains little conserved land, which has potential impacts to water quality.

 

Cows in a barnA Stakeholder Analysis of Farmers In and Surrounding the Saratoga Lake Watershed

Erin Bukofsky, Nolan Crohn, Erin Kennedy, and Katie McEachen (2007)

We explored farmers’ perspectives on water and the Saratoga Springs water debate. Semi-structured, open-ended interviews with ten farmers revealed variation in opinions regarding environmental regulations and a future water source for the city of Saratoga Springs. Most farmers expressed concern over increasing development and stressed the value maintaining open space through the preservation of farmland.

Full report is not available. Please contact Karen Kellogg for more information.

 

map of the Kayaderosseras watershedA Survey of the Surficial and Bedrock Geology of the Kayaderosseras Watershed

Conor Taff '05 (2005)

The aim of this project was to provide a basic GIS database of relevant maps and layers of the Kayaderosseras watershed as a foundation for future WRI research.   Detailed maps and layers of the Kayaderosseras watershed were created, including subwatershed divisions, topography, municipal boundaries, land use, roadways, bedrock geology and surficial geology.   This project also includes an overview of the geologic history of Kayaderosseras watershed.

 

Factors Affecting Precipitation and Baseflow in Two Small Paired Basins in Wilton, New York

Allison Stafford '07 and Kyle K. Nichols, Department of Geosciences (2007)

Precipitation and discharge were recorded in the Loughberry basin and the Louden basin. The Loughberry site received 80% of the precipitation that the Louden site received.  This difference may be a result of the urban center located to the west of the Louden rain gauge, which may form an urban heat island that affects local climate.  Discharge normalized by basin area for the Louden creek cross-section was 1.2 times those for the Loughberry creek cross-section.  This rapid increase in baseflow could be due to a decrease in groundwater withdrawal by agricultural and golf course irrigation wells in combination with a decrease in vegetation transpiration following defoliation.

Full report is not available. Please contact Kyle Nichols for more information.

 

Map of the Hudson River watershedEnvironmental Justice Along the Hudson River

Katarra Peterson ’09, Mary Rynasko (’11) and Rik Scarce, Associate Professor of Sociology (2008)

“Environmental justice” is an area of sociological study combining race, class, and the environment. It hypothesizes that minorities and the poor are disproportionately burdened by environmental hazards.  The goal of this project is to explore how environmentally just or unjust the Hudson River region is.  The research involves using geographic information systems (GIS) and U.S. Census Bureau data sets to map the locations of polluting facilities and the demographics of the neighborhoods around them.  Results are organized by facility type and have thus far indicated that the environmental justice hypothesis is accurate for the Hudson region.

 

satellite map of Saratoga Lake areaChanges to Saratoga Lake’s Hydrology after 20 Years of Development and Growth 

Matthew Shrensel (2009)

I used satellite imagery to examine shifts in land use in Saratoga Lake Watershed over the past 20 years.  I modeled hydrology for the watershed based on the land use from the imagery.  Despite large changes in population, land use change is low, and associated hydrological shifts are minimal.

Full report is not available. Please contact Cathy Gibson for more information.

 

Saratoga SpringsA Watershed Approach to Land Conservation in the City of Saratoga Springs, New York

Dan Haro and Carolyn Raider (2010)

Saratoga is New York’s fastest growing county.  Population increase leads to residential and commercial development, resulting in habitat degradation and fragmentation.  Saratoga Springs provides conservation through its zoning ordinance, "the Green Belt." Our study identifies high priority sites to protect within Saratoga’s “Green Belt” conservation zone.  We identify the least developed watersheds as well as watersheds with the highest percentage of forest, wetland, open water, and grassland/shrub habitats.  We recommend replacing the current parcel-based approach to conservation with a more relevant and environmentally successful watershed approach.  We  also recommend additional protection for watersheds with a low percentage of development.

Full report is not available. Please contact Josh Ness for more information.

 

Critical instability of domestic agricultureCritical Instability: Why We Need to Revolutionize Domestic Agriculture Before It's Too Late

Dash Hammerstein and Andrew Pfeifer (2010)

This study looks at issues concerning agricultural and farmland protection easements and farm viability in Saratoga County. Through in-depth interviews with 10 farmers, we have found that the Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) program is not an adequate tool to combat the recent and ongoing loss of local farms. Policies aimed at increasing farm viability, especially through the stabilization of milk prices and public education, are necessary to insure a future for Saratoga County agriculture.

Full report is not available. Please contact Karen Kellogg for more information.

 

Understanding the Competing User of Skidmore's CommonsUnderstanding the Competing User of Skidmore's Commons: A Stakeholder Analysis of the North Woods

Adam Schmelkin and Charlie Glassberg (2012)

The North Woods is a 165-acre forest on Skidmore’s campus that is used by different groups with distinct concerns, values and perceptions of the resource.  Interviews were conducted with students, faculty/staff, and community members to understand these diverse interests.  These interviews informed the creation of recommendations to promote the long-term preservation of the forest and balance individual use, scholarly use, and potential development plans.


 

 
Unfinished PlansGrand Plans, Trails to Nowhere: An Analysis of Multi-Use Trails in Saratoga Springs

Nate Blanks, Sarah Marks, and Dan Raudonis (2013)

The trail network in Saratoga Springs is underdeveloped and despite numerous plans a cohesive trail network is still far from being a reality. We assess the factors that affect trail creation through historical and first-hand research. Key barriers to trail implementation include funding, government will and communication. Ultimately, we make recommendations for how to improve future trail efforts in the area, including a current plan to create a 10-mile network of trails.
 
Social CapitalSocial Capital and Soils in the Community Gardens of the Capital District:  What they put in and what they take out

Olivia Miller, Abby Smith, and Emily Hudspeth (2013)

What are the social and physical characteristics of community gardens in the Capital District? How does location (urban, suburban, rural?) influence the functionality of gardens? Using a survey, we examined gardener perceptions of and contributions to community, both inside and outside garden walls. We analyzed soil type and impervious surface cover data as well. We created a ranking system to determine those gardens that exhibit the “best” and “worst” characteristics. These results were mapped using GIS which allowed us to find correlations between location and garden success. We found that location has the most impact on impervious surface and community within the garden whereas soil type and engagement with the surrounding community are more variable and depend on other factors besides location.

 
Conceptual Landscapes on Skidmore CampusConceptual Landscapes on Skidmore Campus: Reconciling Perception and Reality

Hannah Greendorfer, Meghan Burke, and Abby Wyant (2013)

Colleges are constantly adapting to internal and external pressures. In the past ten years Skidmore College has increased in size and scope. Our project aims to illustrate how the Skidmore population views and interacts with the college campus. We investigate the conceptualizations of space using cognitive maps drawn by members of the Skidmore community. The assessment of space can then influence future developments and supports sustainable design and a strong Skidmore community.

 
 

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Public Policy 

Early environmental lawWhalen v. the Union Bag & Paper Company: Early Environmental Law on the Kayaderosseras Creek and Its Influence on Contemporary Law

Ben Schweers (2007)

This project is a historical analysis of the Whalen v. The Union Bag & Paper Company case. The lawsuit offers insight into environmental concerns of early 19th century Ballston Spa and signifies the beginning of environmental law and environmentalism in New York State. The lawsuit's outcome is still relevant for environmental law today.

Full report is not available. Please contact Karen Kellogg for more information.

 

storm water in a culvert areaAssessing Stormwater Runoff and Policy in the Kayaderosseras Watershed, New York

Meghan Lena, Jessica Morten, and Angela Polletta (2008)

Our study examines the impact of land-use on stormwater runoff in the Kayaderosseras watershed using the Long-Term Hydrologic Impact Assessment (L-THIA) model. We also examine local management goals aimed at fulfilling federal and state stormwater policy and assessed implementation success based on town annual reports. We interviewed local officials and site inspectors regarding the challenges of implementing local stormwater management policies, and in particular, sediment and erosion control at construction sites.

 

Drought cartoonWhat to do about a Drought in a Bout of Drought: Understanding Drought in a Water-Rich Region

Andy Hart and Kate Stevens (2008)

This study explores the causes of drought in Saratoga and how the city responds to instances of drought. Our results reveal that drought in Saratoga can be affected by precipitation, population growth, water consumption, and Loughberry Lake’s storage capacity. Drawing from interviews with Public Works officials, we learn that the city manages small drought periods with mainly reactive responses. In order for the city to have a genuine proactive drought management policy, a larger water source with more storage capacity is needed to both store water and provide guaranteed water for the citizens of Saratoga in a time of severe drought.

Full report is not available. Please contact Bob Turner for more information.

 

Politics and Planning in Saratoga County

Ryan Bailey '09 and Bob Turner, Department of Government (2007)

The continuing economic growth of Saratoga County raises the important question of whether the region is condemned to end up as yet another case of unchecked suburban sprawl. To assess the prospects for the region to successfully balance growth with preserving open space and enhancing the quality of life, we analyzed the political, economic, and institutional factors affecting planning in Malta, Stillwater, and Saratoga County.

Full report is not available. Please contact Bob Turner for more information.

 

map of the Saratoga Lake watershedThe Uneven Implementation of the Saratoga Lake Watershed Management Plan:  Priorities and Perceptions of Municipalities within the Watershed

Ryan Bailey and Lyndsay Strange (2009)

In 2002, a group of stakeholders created a Saratoga Lake Watershed Management Plan to protect and improve the watershed's resources. Despite this, implementation of the plan's recommendations has been very uneven throughout the watershed's municipalities. Through interviews with local town officials, we identify and explain the factors that affect the implementation of these programs.

Full report is not available. Please contact Bob Turner for more information.

 

rain garden for storm water managementCurrent Stormwater Management in Saratoga Springs and the Challenges of Implementing Low Impact Alternatives

Allison Ruschp, Caitlin Frame, and Dani Rueter (2009)  

We explored the feasibility of incorporating low impact design into Saratoga Springs stormwater management program.  We interviewed developers, public works officials, planning board staff, city engineers, and state stormwater engineers to discover the challenges facing the implementation of low impact stormwater management. Saratoga Springs is close to meeting current federal standards but has no funding mechanisms for stormwater management; low impact design is being encouraged for new developments.

Full report is not available. Please contact Cathy Gibson for more information.

 

Saratoga SpringsA Watershed Approach to Land Conservation in the City of Saratoga Springs, New York

Dan Haro and Carolyn Raider (2010)

Saratoga is New York’s fastest growing county.  Population increase leads to residential and commercial development, resulting in habitat degradation and fragmentation.  Saratoga Springs provides conservation through its zoning ordinance, "the Green Belt." Our study identifies high priority sites to protect within Saratoga’s “Green Belt” conservation zone.  We identify the least developed watersheds as well as watersheds with the highest percentage of forest, wetland, open water, and grassland/shrub habitats.  We recommend replacing the current parcel-based approach to conservation with a more relevant and environmentally successful watershed approach.  We  also recommend additional protection for watersheds with a low percentage of development.

Full report is not available. Please contact Josh Ness for more information.

 

The Greens are checking inThe "Greens" are Checking In: Assessing the New York State Green Hotel Partnership

Dana Leonard and Derek Stork (2010)

New York has identified a national shift in the hospitality and tourism industry to more environmentally friendly business practices, saving both operating costs and natural resources.  To influence this change, New York has established the Green Hospitality and Tourism Partnership and Certification Program. To achieve a comprehensive understanding and assessment of the Green Hotel Certification Program and Partnership, open-ended interviews were conducted to address every level of involvement with the program.  Through the interviews and extensive media coverage we have found that select hotels across New York are becoming ambassadors and are essential to the eco-tourism movement in New York.

 

Critical instability of domestic agricultureCritical Instability: Why We Need to Revolutionize Domestic Agriculture Before It's Too Late

Dash Hammerstein and Andrew Pfeifer (2010)

This study looks at issues concerning agricultural and farmland protection easements and farm viability in Saratoga County. Through in-depth interviews with 10 farmers, we have found that the Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) program is not an adequate tool to combat the recent and ongoing loss of local farms. Policies aimed at increasing farm viability, especially through the stabilization of milk prices and public education, are necessary to insure a future for Saratoga County agriculture.

Full report is not available. Please contact Karen Kellogg for more information.

 

People/Profit/Planet Venn diagram"We Are Closer to You": Stewart's Shops and Corporate Social Responsibility

Harrison Shulman and Jim Turley (2010)

We studied the workings of Stewart's Shops to determine the practices that have enabled them to be successful in business while maintaining a positive relationship with the communities in which they operate stores as well as a low environmental impact.  We have discovered that Corporate Social Responsibility does not have to be driven by a desire to strictly avoid risk, develop a marketing strategy or target a niche market.  In the case of Stewart's Shops, Corporate Social Responsibility has been the result of their desire to make money and stay in business one hundred years from now. 

Full report is not available. Please contact Karen Kellogg for more information.

 

Global FoundriesBalancing Economic Growth with Environmental and Social Concerns: Evaluating SEQRA Through a Case Study of Global Foundries

Korena Burgio and Evan Caster (2011)

New York State sought to revitalize its economy by attracting semiconductor manufacturing to the Upstate region by competing globally for Global Foundries' newest microchip fabrication facility, Fab 8. Our analysis explores the role New York’s State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) in evaluating the comprehensive economic, environmental, and social impacts associated with Fab 8’s construction and operations in Malta, NY.

 

map centering on Maple Avenue Middle SchoolCreating Safe Routes to Maple Avenue Middle School: Not as Easy as it Seems

Martel Catalano and Jesse Watson (2011)

We participated in the Saratoga Safe Routes to School group to expand the ability of students to walk or bike to Maple Avenue Middle School. By conducting applied research and meeting with key stakeholders, we analyzed the environmental, economic, political, legal, and cultural obstacles of changing school transportation policies.

 

Promoting Environmental SustainabilityPromoting Environmental Sustainability Initiatives: The Role of a Chamber of Commerce

Kelly McDonnell and William Moseley (2012)

A significant, positive association has been found between environmental stewardship and economic growth.  Taking this into consideration, our study focuses on the role of Chambers of Commerce in forwarding environmental sustainability initiatives.  This study was informed by interviews with 20 Chambers of Commerce and interviews with Saratoga County Chamber members.  Out research culminated in a series of recommendations for the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce to promote environmental sustainability in Saratoga.

 
 
SEQRASEQRA: The Construction of Effective Change

Sam Glickman and Drew Levinson (2012)

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is process of creating a set of proposed revisions to the documents associated with the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA). We conducted a stakeholder analysis to evaluate the effectiveness of the SEQRA process.  We then compared our findings with the proposed revisions to determine if these changes are addressing the identified inadequacies within the SEQRA process.

 
 
The Toxicology of Saratoga's Drinking WaterThe Toxicology of Saratoga's Drinking Water: Herbicides Impact Aquatic Animals

Paige Reeves and Sarah Hunter (2012)

Our drinking water reservoir, Loughberry Lake, is treated with a chemical algicide, copper sulfate. We investigated the effects of copper sulfate on non-target aquatic invertebrates by exposing aquatic snails, insects, and leeches to one of three copper concentrations, all below the limit set by the EPA.  All three types of organisms experienced altered metabolic responses, and ultimately increased mortality rates, in the presence of copper sulfate relative to controls with no copper sulfate added.

 

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Recreation

map centering on Saratoga LakeRecreation, Economic Status, and Proximity to Saratoga Lake: Saratoga Springs Residents' Views of Municipal Water Sources

Caroline Bergelin and Jennifer Marks (2006)

We used a survey to examine Saratoga Springs residents' views of proposals to develop new municipal water sources. Analysis of survey data show that recreational activities, household economics levels, and varying distances from Saratoga Lake influence how individuals value Saratoga Lake as a key aspect of environmental and social sustainability.

 

Boating on Saratoga LakeBoating and Fishing on Saratoga Lake: Stakeholders' Precieved Threats to Recreation

Ted Cavan, Christina Hanley, and Kate Sherman (2006)

Saratoga Lake is one of the top recreational destinations in the capital region.  Our study focused on analysis of 15 semi-structured interviews of residents with a stake in boating and fishing activities on the lake. Findings include shared concerns about threats to recreation despite the lack of communication among stakeholders.

Full report is not available. Please contact Michael Ennis McMillan for more information.

 

Boating on Saratoga LakeThe Economic Impact of Recreation on Saratoga Lake and Threats to Its Long Term Viability: The Perspective of Local Businesses

Jonathan Clarke and Peter Suneson (2007)

Much of the speculation about the use of Saratoga Lake as a drinking source has focused on its potential impact on businesses dependent on recreational activities on the lake. We surveyed owners of businesses on Saratoga Lake to derive the economic impact of recreation. We also conducted open ended interviews of business owners to ascertain what they viewed as long term threats to the vitality of the lake.

Full report is not available. Please contact Bob Turner for more information.

 

Sailboat in a towing trailerWater Conflicts and Contradictions: Recreation and Invasive Species in Saratoga Lake

Molly Bergen '06, Leah Wohl-Pollack '08, Michael Ennis-McMillan, Department of Anthropology, and Karen Kellogg, Department of Biology and Environmental Studies Program (2006)

Based on over forty interviews with informed county residents, we discovered that residents' perceptions of Saratoga Lake are influenced by their desire to protect their recreational interests, representing the economic and emotional value they place on Saratoga Lake.  We also learned that personal interaction with invasive species influences residents' perceptions of which species are problematic and which species management plans are desirable. Our study indicates that personal interests often overshadow environmental concern for Saratoga Lake.

Full report is not available. Please contact Karen Kellogg for more information.

 

Morgan Violette and Zach RowenThe Relationship Between Home and Nature: What Living Locations Can Tell Us About Environmentalism

Morgan Violette and Zach Rowen (2010)

A survey of 165 residents in Saratoga County examines the link between distinct residential areas and environmental perceptions and behaviors.  Residents were divided into four groups by living location: urban, suburban, rural and streams (homeowners with streams running through their property).  While actions and opinions varied depending on location, the general trend is that most people in the county spend a fair amount of time recreating outdoors and are environmentally conscious.

 
Conceptual Landscapes on Skidmore CampusConceptual Landscapes on Skidmore Campus: Reconciling Perception and Reality

Hannah Greendorfer, Meghan Burke, and Abby Wyant (2013)

Colleges are constantly adapting to internal and external pressures. In the past ten years Skidmore College has increased in size and scope. Our project aims to illustrate how the Skidmore population views and interacts with the college campus. We investigate the conceptualizations of space using cognitive maps drawn by members of the Skidmore community. The assessment of space can then influence future developments and supports sustainable design and a strong Skidmore community.

 

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Transportation

map centering on Maple Avenue Middle SchoolCreating Safe Routes to Maple Avenue Middle School: Not as Easy as it Seems

Martel Catalano and Jesse Watson (2011)

We participated in the Saratoga Safe Routes to School group to expand the ability of students to walk or bike to Maple Avenue Middle School. By conducting applied research and meeting with key stakeholders, we analyzed the environmental, economic, political, legal, and cultural obstacles of changing school transportation policies.

 
Unfinished PlansGrand Plans, Trails to Nowhere: An Analysis of Multi-Use Trails in Saratoga Springs

Nate Blanks, Sarah Marks, and Dan Raudonis (2013)

The trail network in Saratoga Springs is underdeveloped and despite numerous plans a cohesive trail network is still far from being a reality. We assess the factors that affect trail creation through historical and first-hand research. Key barriers to trail implementation include funding, government will and communication. Ultimately, we make recommendations for how to improve future trail efforts in the area, including a current plan to create a 10-mile network of trails.
 

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Water Quality

Land use patternsKayaderosseras Creek Watershed:   An Examination of Land Use Patterns & Point and Non-Point Pollution

James Caris and Laura Wittman (2005)

This project uses a series of GIS maps to visually convey point discharges as well as land use types that may contribute to non-point pollution within the watershed.  Additionally, relevant state and federal permitting and policy procedures are included in order to highlight regulatory aspects applicable to facilities and land use that may affect the quality of the Kayaderosseras watershed.

 

MacroinvertebrateMacroinvertebrates as Water Quality Indicators in the Kayaderosseras Watershed

Leah Capezio and Lauren Mandel (2005)

This project investigated macroinvertebrate populations in microhabitats throughout the Kayaderosseras Creek watershed.   Population, diversity and community composition data were analyzed through various indices as a means of assessing water quality throughout the watershed.

Full report is not available. Please contact Karen Kellogg for more information.

 

Kayaderosseras Creek in the fallWater Quality Analysis of the Kayaderosseras Creek

David Hardy (2005)

Measurements of water quality, including pH, dissolved oxygen, salinity, turbidity, alkalinity as well as concentrations of chloride, nitrates and phosphates, were taken at various locations in the Kayaderosseras Creek system.   Sampling was conducted to capture seasonal and pre-/post-storm event variation.

Full report is not available. Please contact Karen Kellogg for more information.

 

FEMA Flood MappingEvaluating FEMA Flood Map Methodology and the implications of Flooding and Land Use on Water Quality

Katie Bronson and Cortlandt Toczylowski (2006)

This project explored the methodology used to develop the 100 year FEMA flood map for the Saratoga Lake watershed and characterized land use patterns within this floodplain.  We also assessed the possible influences of land use in the floodplain on the water quality of Saratoga Lake.

Full report is not available. Please contact Karen Kellogg for more information.

 

zebra musselsEffect of Zebra Mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) on Turbidity

Mary Dunham, Emily Voldstad, and Leanna Westfall (2006)

This study assessed how zebra mussels, an invasive species in Saratoga Lake, impact turbidity, which is a measure of water clarity. We also discuss interactions between zebra mussels and other invasive species, and how these relationships affect water quality in Saratoga Lake.

Full report is not available. Please contact Karen Kellogg for more information.

 

map of the Saratoga Lake watershedLand Conservation and Water Quality in the Saratoga Lake Watershed

Doug Morin (2007)

This study focused on the link between conserved lands and water quality and quantity within the Saratoga Lake Watershed. The boundaries and vegetation cover of conserved lands were mapped in GIS. Overall, the watershed contains little conserved land, which has potential impacts to water quality.

 

Bridge over Saratoga LakeSeasonal and Site Fluctuations in Chloride Levels in Saratoga Lake Watershed

Kristina Connolly and Ashley Hellman (2007)

We measured chloride and conductivity levels in tributaries of the Saratoga Lake watershed and compared our results across seasons and among sites. We found across site variability, potentially linked to road and population density, and an increase in chloride concentrations and conductivity in the summer.

Full report is not available. Please contact Karen Kellogg for more information.

 

Saratoga LakeA Phosphorus Budget for the Saratoga Lake Watershed

Eric Jenks (2008)

This study created a phosphorus budget for the Saratoga Lake watershed by finding the differences between the amount of phosphorus entering the watershed and the amount exiting the watershed. It found that there is a substantial amount of phosphorus being left behind in the watershed each year by fertilizers and faulty septic systems.

Full report is not available. Please contact Cathy Gibson for more information.

 

Environmental impact of septic systemsThe Environmental Impact of Septic Systems on the Saratoga Lake Watershed

Dante Petri (2008)

I examined the environmental impact of septic systems on the Saratoga Lake watershed. Using GIS, I developed an estimate of the total number of septic systems in the watershed. I estimated the effectiveness of septic system in treating wastes using interviews with local septic contractors and scholarly research.

Full report is not available. Please contact Bob Turner for more information.

 

The Impact of Turbidity on Sunfish Foraging Efficiencies

Jon DeCoste '05, Doug Morin '07, Jorie Pollak '04 and Conor Taff '05 (2005)

We conducted a series of experiments to evaluate the impact of various turbidity levels on juvenile bluegill sunfish foraging efficiencies.   We found that foraging efficiencies are highest at intermediate turbidity levels, and drop significantly at low and high turbidity levels.  We hypothesize that the decrease in foraging efficiencies in clearer water is due to predator avoidance, while the decrease in foraging efficiencies at higher turbidity levels is due to the poor visual environment.

Full report is not available. Please contact Karen Kellogg for more information.

Water quality monitoring mapWater Quality Monitoring in the Kayaderosseras Creek and Saratoga Lake:Past, Present and Future

Kristina Connolly '07 and Judy Halstead, Department of Chemistry (2006)

The project has three related goals: collecting, reading and analyzing past sources of water quality data and monitoring in Saratoga Lake's watershed and surrounding regions, conducting a field and laboratory assessment of current water quality parameters in the tributaries of Saratoga Lake, and recommendations for future water quality monitoring projects.

Full report is not available. Please contact Judy Halstead for more information.

 

Image of a creekThe Role of Optical Brighteners in the Detection of Local Anthropogenic Pollution

Lukiana Anka-Lufford '10 and Judy Halstead, Department of Chemistry (2007)

Optical brighteners are now extremely common in laundry detergents. Since wastewater from laundry machines generally contains these dyes and fluorescence is relatively easy to detect, the use of optical brighteners to detect leaking septic tanks and leaking sewage systems seems promising. In the laboratory both standards containing laundry detergent and field samples are analyzed with the Skidmore Department of Chemistry's Shimadzu scanning spectrofluorimeter in an effort to determine the presence of optical brighteners.

Full report is not available. Please contact Judy Halstead for more information.

 

Water quality monitoring equipment in placeWater Quality Monitoring in the Kayaderosseras Creek and Saratoga Lake

Alicea Cock-Esteb '09, Alexandra Furman '09, Judy Halstead, Department of Chemistry, and Kim Marsella, Environmental Studies Program (2007)

Water quality parameters were determined for one lake and various tributaries throughout the Kayaderosseras Creek watershed. Field measurements included dissolved oxygen, temperature, conductivity, and pH. Samples were collected and subsequently analyzed for total phosphorous, phosphate, total mitrogen, nitrate, dissolved organic compounds, and total suspended solids. This study is a part of an ongoing water monitoring study conducted through the Skidmore College Water Resources Initiative.

Full report is not available. Please contact Judy Halstead for more information.

 

The Upper Hudson River as a Supplemental Drinking Water Source: Mapping Factors Affecting Water Quality Using Geographic Information Systems

Hannah Phillips '09 and Bob Jones, Department of Economics (2007)

We used GIS to map natural and human determined factors affecting water quality on the Upper Hudson River. By analyzing regional geology, hydrology, zoning, patterns of development, and town comprehensive plans within the watershed, we have created a ten-town build-out analysis that identifies areas that are prone to development. These data will contribute to an analysis of the viability of the Upper Hudson River as a supplemental drinking water source for Saratoga Springs in the near future.

Full report is not available. Please contact Bob Jones for more information.

 

septic drainage fieldSeptic System Survey of Residents of Loughberry Lake

Elizabeth Amira Kennedy Streeter (2009)

Unlike government run sewage treatment plants, septic system care and maintenance are the responsibility of individual homeowners.  Proper maintenance is essential to maintaining proper functioning and preventing water pollution.  To better understand behavior and septic maintenance practices, I conducted a survey of the residents who lived closest to the lake and also own septic systems.

Full report is not available. Please contact Cathy Gibson for more information.

 

Visit to the waste water treatment facilityRethinking Wastewater Treatment: An Examination of the Saratoga Wastewater Treatment Facility

Kathleen McConkey and Molly Nowak (2009)

Most people rarely think about where their water goes after they use it.  We've taken a closer look at this important aspect of everyday life and environmental protection by examining the Saratoga wastewater treatment facility and putting it in context with other operations in New York State.

Full report is not available. Please contact Bob Turner for more information.

 

leaf litter isolated for studyBreaking it down:  The Influence of Relative Nitrogen and Phosphorus Availability on Leaf Litter Decomposition and Macroinvertebrate Communities in Two Small Streams within the Saratoga Lake Watershed

Alicea Cock-Esteb and Hannah Harris (2009)

When leaves fall into streams, they are incorporated into the food web through consumption by microorganisms and macroinvertebrates. Our study examined how the relative availability of nitrogen and phosphorous influenced the rates of leaf litter decomposition via macroinvertebrate communities and microbial respiration in two small, wooded streams in the Saratoga Lake Watershed. We found that a higher relative availability of nitrogen and phosphorous corresponds to higher decomposition rates although the macroinvertebrate community seems to be more influenced by other factors.

Full report is not available. Please contact Cathy Gibson for more information.

 

Studying a beaver-chewed treeThe Influence of Beavers on Sediment Storage and Stream Turbidity in the Saratoga Lake Watershed

Stephanie Abrams, Lindsay Bourgoine, and Alexandra Furman (2009)

This study examines the repopulation of beavers within the Saratoga Lake Watershed through pond density and how their ecosystem engineering has geomorphically impacted water bodies. The three beaver ponds investigated stored large quantities of sediment and the amount of suspended particles decreased downstream of the ponds. Therefore, increases in pond density result in changes in the way sediment is stored in the watershed.

Full report is not available. Please contact Cathy Gibson for more information.

 

Duckweed and water fern in sample containersPhytoremediation of Nutrient-Controlled Water Using Duckweed and Water Fern

Dawn Harfmann and Jakob Schenker (2010)
 
Phytoremediation is a way to use plants to remove nitrogen and phosphorus in water bodies, nutrients which could cause eutrophication. Duckweed, water fern, and a combination of both plants were cultivated in varying nutrient environments and analyzed for nutrient uptake patterns. These environments had nitrogen levels characteristic of eutrophic water bodies and phosphorus levels characteristic of oligotrophic and mesotrophic water bodies. Nitrogen concentrations decreased by up to 87% in the duckweed treatment. Possible synergistic effects between the two species were observed, as the combination treatment reduced nitrogen levels to 11% below expected values.

 

TractorComposting at Skidmore: Turning our Waste into a Resource

Will Coffey and Nadine Dodge (2010)

Skidmore College produces a substantial amount of organic waste in the form of food scraps, horse manure, and lawn maintenance byproducts that present both economic and environmental concerns to the College. We conducted a comprehensive study to ascertain how these wastes can be turned into a valuable economic and environmental resource through composting. After completing a study of composting at peer institutions, analyzing available composting technologies, and conducting a cost-benefit analysis, we determined that a windrow composting system will be the most cost-effective waste management system for Skidmore. The final result of our project is a detailed proposal that outlines how such a system can be implemented.

 

Samples of water for studyStimulated Water Bodies: Development of a Protocol for Testing for Caffeine and Nicotine in Surface Water Using SAIL

Ellen Agnew and Claire Superak (2011)

In order to determine whether caffeine and nicotine contaminants were present in our local water sources, we developed a protocol for quantifying caffeine and nicotine using the Skidmore Analytical Interdisciplinary Laboratory (SAIL). We sampled water downstream of areas with dense septic tank clusters in the Saratoga Lake watershed and analyzed these samples using liquid, gas, and ion chromatography.

 

BioMAKCitizen BioMAK: A Volunteer Guide to Biological Monitoring and Assessment of the Kayaderosseras Creek

Katherine Bohn and Sarah Sproviero (2011)

Water quality is constantly fluctuating, and New York State’s monitoring resources are inadequate. In collaboration with the Saratoga County Stormwater Management Coordinator, we developed BioMAK, a citizen-based biomonitoring guide instructing volunteers how to use macroinvertebrate populations to assess Kayaderosseras Creek water quality. Ideally, data collected by community members will eventually supplement limited government data, while also educating citizens

 
 
The Toxicology of Saratoga's Drinking WaterThe Toxicology of Saratoga's Drinking Water: Herbicides Impact Aquatic Animals

Paige Reeves and Sarah Hunter (2012)

Our drinking water reservoir, Loughberry Lake, is treated with a chemical algicide, copper sulfate. We investigated the effects of copper sulfate on non-target aquatic invertebrates by exposing aquatic snails, insects, and leeches to one of three copper concentrations, all below the limit set by the EPA.  All three types of organisms experienced altered metabolic responses, and ultimately increased mortality rates, in the presence of copper sulfate relative to controls with no copper sulfate added.

 

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