Last Friday we had a great first streamwalk! Streamwalks are a fun method of visually assessing the waterway on foot, and gathering observational data. This citizen science outing drew a variety of community members and Bard College students. We were able to get up close to the Saw Kill, and generate lots of questions and ideas together as a group.
We began our adventure where the Saw Kill empties out in to the Tivoli Bays. From there we discussed the different parameters we would be assessing during the walk. We were interested in looking at different physical characteristics of the stream and the surrounding area such as the channel and hydrology, riparian zones, bank erosion, turbidity, barriers (man made and natural) and the presence of fish and insect habitat, pools, riffles, and algae.
At each stop we made along the river, we measured the channel and depth, and discussed each of the above parameters. Our discussions were diverse; prompting lively debates over what constituted a barrier in the river, lessons on effective riparian zones and recounting the history of this one mile stretch, from past channel diversions to the chocolate factory. A community conversation around the waterway was able to take place literally in it!
As we traversed the one mile stretch, we were able to walk on trails beside the water, directly in it (the lucky ones in waders faring much better), and eventually along 9G and through a corn field where we lost sight of the river. Overall we were thrilled we were able to stay so close or in the Saw Kill for the majority of the walk. It is a wonderfully accessible portion of the Saw Kill.
We look forward to compiling the data we collected and sharing it with the larger community!