August 30, 2014

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Beacon Institute wins state research grant

STONY POINT – The Beacon Institute for River’s and Estuaries of Clarkson University is receiving over $300,000 in state funding for research on the Hudson.

Senators William Larkin (R, Cornwall-on-Hudson)  and David Carlucci (D, Nanuet), along with Clarkson University President Dr. Timothy Sugrue and Research Professor Dr. Chris Fuller, met Friday at the Stony Point lighthouse to make the announcement. 

Since the funding the institute is receiving will be dedicated solely to equipment financing, they brought with them a high-tech data collecting unit called the Acrobat to display during the announcement. The Acrobat, a $150,000 piece of equipment, has been used by the institute for about 10 years and employs five separate devices: the undulating tool body, a CTD (conductivity, temperature and depth), a particle size analyzer, a dissolved oxygen sensor, and a fluorimeter.

The $150,000 Acrobat gets close scrutiny from (L-R) Carlucci, Fuller, Sugrue, Larkin

Larkin shared his optimism for the project and why it was important to have the state backing it.

“This is something that’s going to be done," Larkin said.  "You know, if you look back at this equipment here, its $150,000, but the key to it is what it does for us,” 

The Acrobat is part of the Rivers and Estuaries Observatory Network and is part of about 40 other sensor arrays similar to it set up throughout the Hudson.

Dr. Sugrue explained the applications of the network and its technologies.

“We can collect data on dissolved oxygen, on dissolved petro chemicals, on salinity, on temperature and about six or seven other measures," Sugrue said.   "These are important fundamental measures that will ultimately get us to be able to tell you, in real-time, with virtually no delay, what the quality of the water at any given location is.”

These devices work together to feed data back to a monitoring station in real-time and measure salinity, fluorescence, oxygen quality, temperature and many other variables that are important in studying the Hudson which, according to Sugrue, is still mysterious in many ways to researchers.

The work of the Beacon Institute, it’s network of devices and monitoring stations will be used to contribute data to a number of different initiatives that will affect the Hudson Valley including testing of the GE dredge site, the plausibility of desalinization in Rockland and prediction of river behavior for commercial, as well as recreational, use.

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