Currents, a NY Coastlines E-supplement - Late Fall/Early Winter 2013
Publications - Articles / Web Extras
The Late Fall/Early Winter 2013 issue of Currents—New York Sea Grant (NYSG)'s e-supplement to NY Coastlines that features additional program news and event—highlight our program's various research, extension and education endeavors throughout New York's marine and Great Lakes waters. Two of the numerous topics covered in this issue are: (1) A 'One Year Later' retrospective on post-Superstorm Sandy support; and (2) Several features on this past summer's recreational education efforts on New York's Great Lakes ...

Feature Story:

Superstorm Sandy: One Year Later - NOAA and Sea Grant Responds and Reflects

For seven days in the Fall 2012, Sandy pounded the Caribbean and U.S. East Coast with punishing rain, wind, and waves, at some points being named a hurricane and at others a superstorm or post-tropical cyclone. Along its entire East Coast path, Sandy's force accounted for over $62 billion in economic losses and caused 140 deaths.

New York Sea Grant provided real-time information on the track, intensity and aftermath of Superstorm Sandy via social media when other outlets, including the Web servers hosting the data of Stony Brook University's Storm Surge Research Group, lost power. And, in the weeks leading up to the one year anniversary of Sandy's late October landfall, Sea Grant programs in a number of coastal states, including New York, joined the National Sea Grant College Program's federal funding agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in a look back.

New York Sea Grant-funded researchers have been called upon in the year since the storm to provide information and analysis to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC News, ABC News, the Associated Press and Newsday, among others. Most recently, these investigators were featured in September's National Geographic: Rising Seas cover story, October-December's Burn - An Energy Journal's radio and Web series, as well as other interviews, panel discussions and documentaries.

Our program's award-winning year-long look at "science behind the storm" stories and related YouTube clips reached over 14,300 visitors on Facebook alone, with repeat retweeters on Twitter having included, among others, NOAA Research, the National Sea Grant Office, numerous Sea Grant programs, Cornell Cooperative Extension, The Extension Disaster Education Network, Stony Brook University and its School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences.

All of this content can be found in NYSG's Superstorm Sandy archive, And there's more on the topic of hurricane education and severe storm preparedness at

Also, here's an update on some of New York Sea Grant's post-Superstorm Sandy research, extension and education efforts ...
  • On Blog: Can Salt Marshes Handle Effluent From a Failed Sewage Treatment Plant? More>
    In early November 2013, New York Sea Grant's Communications Manager Barbara A. Branca visited with a few of the program's funded researchers who are trying to determine if the ecosystem can handle the additional sewage by increasing its capacity to serve as a “nutrient sink,” or, if instead, the enhanced nutrient loads will shift the ecosystem to an alternative state that perpetuates additional organic matter loading.

  • On Blog, On YouTube: Long Island Breach More>
    In late October 2012, Superstorm Sandy split Fire Island, New York into two islands, creating a new inlet to the bay behind it. As seen in a video clip from National Geographic and documented in a photo journal blog, New York Sea Grant-funded scientists explain why monitoring the breach is important, as its evolution will affect the tidal dynamics and the ecosystem of the Long Island's eastern Great South Bay.

    Also in the blog, Flagg discusses findings from a new report that reveals, in December 2013, that the size of the inlet has stabilized at around 400 square meters. He says it has remained relatively constant for nine months but may have the potential to get bigger.

    • Related Publications: Impacts of Barrier Island Breaches
      New York Sea Grant’s coastal processes specialist Jay Tanski is a co-author of a 2001 NYSG report: Impacts of Barrier Island Breaches on Selected Biological Resources of Great South Bay, New York (pdf)—a highly-regarded report on the biological impacts of breaches, demonstrating both benefits and losses. He is also the author of Long Island’s Dynamic South Shore: A Primer on the Forces and Trends Shaping Our Coast (click here).

  • On YouTube: NOAA, Sea Grant Programs Post-Sandy: Press Briefing, Conference Educate on Coastal Storms More>
    At a November 2013 NOAA Coastal Storms Press Briefing in Washington, D.C., NYSG’s Coastal Processes Specialist Jay Tanski offered a perspective on how to implement NOAA-wide initiatives at the local level. As documented in several video clips from Portland, Maine's ABC, CBS and NBC affiliates, Tanski was also a speaker at mid-July 2013's Maine Sea Grant-hosted event Beaches Conference, where over 200+ attendees engaged in post-Superstorm Sandy discussions, among other topics. 

  • On Air: NOAA Announces Sea Grant's Coastal Storm Awareness Program More>
    As discussed by Peyton Robertson, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Chair of Sandy Assessment Team via Federal News Radio, Sea Grant programs in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut are administering a new $1.8M NOAA-funded Coastal Storm Awareness Program. The funded projects will examine how people react to storm warnings and how to best communicate this information to communities and its residents.

  • NYSG Extension Surveys the Impacts of Sandy on Recreational Fisheries and Marinas More>
    As part of a "One Year Later" retrospective on Sandy's impact, NYSG's fisheries and coastal processes specialists report on their efforts to assist those in the recreational fisheries and marina industries hit hardest by the storm.

  • National Geographic: Rising Seas More>
    In September 2013, National Geographic placed a spotlight on climate change in its extensive feature story, "Rising Seas," which focused on a central series of concepts: As the planet warms, the sea rises. Coastlines flood. What will we protect? What will we abandon? How will we face the danger of rising seas?

  • On YouTube: Documentary - Superstorm Sandy More>
    The documentary short “Sandy’s Hidden Damage” shows how the storm has changed the city forever – and how experts' opinions on what will save New York clash while some New Yorkers affected by Sandy feel left behind.

  • On Air: Burn - Rising Seas More>
    This radio and Web series examines the causes and consequences of sea level changes in south Florida, the Gulf Coast, New York City, and Greenland, where ice-melt is going to make the world a very different place.

  • On YouTube: Protecting The East Coast From Future Storms More>
    In a November 2013 interview with MyLITV, Dr. Malcolm Bowman explains what U.S. East coast communities should do to prevent "Sandy-Like" damage.

  • Stony Brook University Researcher Malcolm Bowman vs. The Storms More>
    As declared by The Village Times Herald, a weekly newspaper published on Long Island's north shore, this Stony Brook University researcher is a "Man of the Year" for raising awareness of dangers.

    Some other Sandy-related stories ...

  • CBS News on "Preparing For The Perfect Storm" More>
    No one knew how bad it was going to be when Hurricane Irene barreled up the East Coast a year ago, flooding whole towns, destroying homes. Up and down the East Coast, Irene caused residents billions of dollars. Experts agree that weather is becoming more severe and they warn that we're not ready for it.

  • Impacts of Barrier Island Breaches More>
    Superstorm Sandy caused a breach at Old Inlet, Fire Island. A New York Sea Grant publication (funded by the National Park Service) examines the impacts of barrier island breaches

  • Publications Spotlight: Long Island’s Dynamic South Shore (2012 Reprint) More>

  • Coastal Flooding Concerns in NYC Continues Discussion on Storm Surge Barriers More>

  • [ + More "science behind the storm" content in NYSG's Superstorm Sandy archive:]

  • [ + More on hurricane education and severe storm preparedness:]

Spotlight Stories:

NYSG Specialists and Sea Grant Network Campaigns Lauded for Their Successes More>
From a Visionary Career Leadership Award to Two Top 100 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Success Stories, New York Sea Grant specialists were acknowledged this year for their work in maintaining seafood safety standards and keeping pharmaceuticals, personal care products and invasive species out of New York's waterways.

"The public reaps the benefits of their work to educate communities about what we can all do to help maintain the vitality and environmental quality of New York's Great Lakes and marine coastal ecosystems," said NYSG's Associate Director Kathy Bunting-Howarth. 

On YouTube, On Air: Cornell Researchers Find Contaminants May Cause Birds to Sing a Different Tune More>
Within days of being published in the journal PLOS ONE in mid-September 2013, the findings of this New York Sea Grant-funded Cornell Lab of Ornithology research generated many tweets (no pun intended) and posts on, respectively, Twitter and Facebook.

The project also garnered a great deal of news coverage from print and online sources, wherein investigators elaborated on their study of songbirds that exhibited inconsistency in their songs.

Could this occurrence be caused by contaminants that persist in the sediments of the Hudson River region? Read on for more on this project's findings, including video and audio clips.
  • On Air: How PCBs Alter Bird Songs More>

On YouTube: Comment Sought By December 23 On Invasive Species Proposals More>
Dangers to ecosystems and potential health problems are a couple of reasons the State is hoping to make it much tougher for anyone to have those species. As New York Sea Grant's Recreation/Tourism Specialist Dave White told the newscasters at Watertown's WWNY-TV 7 News This Morning studios in late November 2013, New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation is proposing regulations to help control invasive species.

"This law will begin to say, 'what are the rules and regulations for prohibiting their transport, their sale, their possession for scientific use, for public use, for commercial sale?'," said White. There's an opportunity for the public to be heard, too, with some public hearings and a comment period through December 23. Also see White discuss the topic on Your News Now via NYSG's news item, "On YouTube: NYSDEC to Host Hearings on Invasive Species Regulations."

On YouTube: NYSG's Launch Stewards Educate on Aquatic Invasives in New York's Great Lakes Region More>
While at any of over a dozen launch sites in a number of eastern Lake Ontario, Oneida Lake and surrounding inland river counties this past summer, New York Sea Grant's Launch Stewards offered voluntary watercraft inspection education to motorized and non-motorized boaters. They also produced a series of articles, took part in volunteer events such as a water chestnut weed pull and wrote for a blog to better inform recreational users how they, too, can help stop the spread of aquatic invasive species.
  • [ + On YouTube: Hydrilla Plants Invade Western NY; Invasive Species Found in North Tonawanda Waterways More>
    What has helped Hydrilla, an aquatic plant native to Asia, proliferate in Western New York's waterways? Banned in some parts of the U.S., this Federally-designated noxious weed is still popular with aquarium owners who use is it until it overgrows fish tanks. NYSG's Helen Domske shares her thoughts in this YNN spotlight story and video clip.]

  • [ + On Air: Asian Carp Could Pose Real Threat to Great Lakes Ecosystem More>
    As NYSG specialists shared with WRVO Radio in November, big head and silver carp have been detected very close to the Great Lakes, so the risk of a flood introducing them into the lakes is always present. 

    "The Wabash river has well established populations of Asian carp and a potential source for the carp entering Lake Erie by flooding into the Maumee River," said Dave MacNeill, NYSG's Fisheries Specialist. "Asian carp DNA was detected in Lake Erie in 2009 by scientists." MacNeill is co-author of the fact sheet, Asian Carp - Threats to the Lower Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River?, which he wrote with NYSG Coastal Education Specialist Helen Domske.]

  • [ + NYSG Researcher Featured in Phragmites Webinar More>
    NYSG-funded reseacher Dr. Bernd Blossey from Cornell University is a guest speaker for a Webinar series lecture on Phragmites, the common reed that has invaded many wetlands throughout North America.]

Events & Activities:

On YouTube, On Blog: Teachers Participate in Research on Great Lakes More>
Nearly 9,000 sets of eyes on Facebook alone saw social media posts related to the blog entries New York Sea Grant's Web Content Manager wrote while on-board the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 180-foot R/V Peter L. Wise Lake Guardian this past July for the week-long NYSG-led "Lake Ontario Shipboard and Shoreline Science Workshop."

In addition to blog entries and social media posts on both Facebook and Twitter, Focazio featured several YouTube clips of stories filed by local media along the way as the R/V Guardian ran the entire perimeter of Lake Ontario with 15 educators from across five Great Lakes States—Illinois, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Ohio and, of course, New York. While aboard and at various ports on the Lake, the educators received hands-on training from NYSG specialists and funded researchers on some key freshwater issues, including invasive species, harmful algal blooms, dunes and wetlands preservation/restoration and sportfishing. They were also visited by a series of featured guests, including representatives from U.S. Congressman Dan Maffei's office as well as New York State Senator Patty Ritchie’s office.

This marked the first time in five years that the R/V Guardian has been out on Lake Ontario for this week-long event and it'll be another five before it comes around again.
  • [ + Teaching the Teachers Via NOAA BWET: Lake Ontario Lessons More>
    Just a few weeks after the R/V Lake Guardian docked back in Youngstown, NY and the educators wrapped up their week-long learning, another dozen science teachers, two special education teachers and one high school librarian from across New York State embarked on a separate NYSG-led week-long hands-on teaching on the ecology of Lake Ontario. ]

On YouTube: Discover Clean Boating Expands, is at City of Water Day in NYC More>
New York Sea Grant expanded its "Discover Clean and Safe Boating Campaign" this past summer into New York City for the first time, some 300 miles away from its point of origin. As reported in the Cornell Chronicle (and later tweeted about by Cornell's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences), a crowd of thousands descended on New York's Governor's Island and New Jersey's Liberty State Park in late July for the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance's annual water-filic festival filled with free kayaks, boat and other watercraft excursions that helped heighten stewardship of the New York Harbor, the lower Hudson River and other surrounding waterways.

In the weeks leading up to the event, New York Sea Grant's involvement in the event received interest from New York's WBCS Radio, WNBC and WABC TV and a handful of Facebook posts reached some 2,400 people.

National Estuary Day: 'Toast the Coast' More>
The Long Island Sound Study (LISS), part of the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Estuary Program, asked residents of Long Island Sound to join in a nationwide “Toast the Coast” in celebration of late-September's 25th annual National Estuaries Day. NYSG's LISS educator helped collect event 'toasting' pics via social media and offered tips on how everyone can pitch in to keep estuaries cleaner.

On YouTube: Living Shorelines Workshop  More>
Many coastal communities are looking to “living shorelines” as the preferred method for dealing with erosion problems because of its environmental benefits and because its techniques are often considered more adaptable to potential impacts associated with climate change such as increased sea level rise.

At a related workshop presented by New York Sea Grant in May, attendees were provided with practical information on the use of living shorelines as an erosion control alternative, which is documented via a series of presentation slides and video clips. The over 100 attendees at "Living Shorelines for Coastal Erosion Protection in a Changing World" were a mix of government and non-government officials, coastal mangers and planners, shoreline property owners, marine contractors and consultants, and others interested in coastal erosion management.

On YouTube: A Day In The Life Of The Hudson River More>

In mid-October, environmental education centers and school classes all along the tidal estuary collected and shared scientific information to portray the river ecosystem as part of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation-run event. Thousands of students from around the State used hands-on field techniques to describe their sites, caught fish in nets, collected water and invertebrate samples, and examined water chemistry parameters.  As NYSG's Hudson River specialist Nordica Holochuck discovered, beyond just being a field trip, a “Day in the Life” allowed students to collect first-hand information about their communities’ natural resources and explore how their piece of the river fits into the larger ecosystem.

Seafood Throwdown Returns to Grown on Long Island Day More>

August's Chef 'Seafood Throwdown,' the third of its kind in the last year that NYSG has partnered on in Metro NY and on Long Island, was as fun as it was educational. As captured in NYSG Communication Manager Barbara A. Branca's article for Edible East End, this community-driven activity highlighted the many health benefits of a seafood diet and the importance of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) "community-supported fisheries" concept — supporting small family-owned and operated fishing businesses in feeding New Yorkers and helping to sustain our coastal economies.

On YouTube: Canada Geese Causing a Water Quality Issue? More>

New York Sea Grant Water Quality Specialist Eileen Keenan, Manager of the New York Nonpoint Source Education for Municipal Officials (NEMO) Program, discusses the issue with Long Island Report. This past summer, Keenan was a moderator at the NYSG co-sponsored Second Annual Long Island Green Infrastructure Conference & Expo hosted at Brookhaven National Laboratory.

On Air: Great Lakes Seaway Trail Blue Byway Seminar More>

A new Water Trail app in development by NYSG for the Great Lakes Seaway Trail is just one of the talking points from this October 2013 seminar. Also on the agenda were: The New York State Underwater Blueway Trail; the Great Lakes Observing System Boaters Forecast now available throughout the Great Lakes region and on the St. Lawrence River; and a panel discussion of the deliberate scuttling of historic ships with ties to Seaway Trail waters of the St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, Niagara River and Lake Erie. WRVO Radio spoke with event co-organizer Dave White, NYSG's Coastal Recreation and Tourism Specialist.

On YouTube, On Air: Researchers Collect Great Lakes Data in Lake Ontario More>
Researchers launched a high-tech underwater vehicle into Lake Ontario in mid-May. This research, documented in a report filed by Your News Now, will help keep the Ontario shoreline clean for swimmers and residents. "The near shore zone is the area where people recreate and fish and everything else, so that's really very important," said Dr. Gregory L. Boyer, chair of the SUNY ESF Department of Chemistry and director of Great Lakes Research Consortium.

WWWhat's Trending:

Web Site Relaunches, NOAA TweetAlerts, Other Social Media Milestones More>

New York Sea Grant went live with a new online look right before this past Memorial Day, followed by the reworking of the National Sea Grant College Program's virtual space just after Labor Day. Also in the second and third quarters of this year, NOAA unveiled #TweetAlerts and reached more milestones on both Twitter and Facebook.

WWWhat's Trending: Currents E-Newsletter to Feature Update on Coastal Change Education Materials for Metro NY Area More>
Statue of Liberty to reopen July 4, 2013 for the first time since Superstorm Sandy

Web Extras:

U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Presents Wear It Award to NY Sea Grant Specialist
The award recognizes excellence in teaching the public about life jacket safety.

Waterfront Launch Steward Program Needs College Students in 7-County Area
NYSG is looking to hire college and graduate students to serve as 2014 Launch Stewards at waterfront venues in Cayuga, Jefferson, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego, and Wayne counties.

Boating Industries Show Signals Fair Winds for 2014 Boating Season in New York More>
In recent years, the Boating Industries Association of Upstate NY has partnered with NYSG to offer boating safety education to its annual winter boat show, which has attract families, hearing-impaired boaters, paddlesport enthusiasts, and water rescue First Responders.

On YouTube: NYSG Promotes Efforts at 2014 CNY Boat Show More>

At Mid-February's 2014 Central New York Boat Show at the New York State Fairgrounds, NYSG and partners offered young boater safety and first responder cold water survival training courses as well as daily in-water demonstrations of life jackets.

  • Register Now for Young Boater Safety Training at 2014 CNY Boat Show More>
    The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and New York Sea Grant will offer the Young Boater Safety Certificate Training for ages 10-17 as part of the February 12-16, 2014 Central New York Boat Show at the NYS Fairgrounds in Syracuse, NY.

  • Mini-Boat Demo, Watercraft Inspection Education ... More>
    New attractions to the CNY Boat Show in 2014 include several New York Sea Grant-partner efforts: (1) A special Cold Water Survival CME-credit Safety Training for New York state-based First Responders with free show admission; (2) Young Boaters Safety Certificate with free show admission; and (3) Daily in-water demonstrations of life jackets.

  • First Responder Cold Water Survival Training Added More>
    Cold Water Immersion Survival Medical Education Training for New York’s First Responders will be offered at the 2014 Central New York Boat Show by the Boating Industry Association of Upstate NY, New York Sea Grant, US Coast Guard Auxiliary and Oswego County Office of Emergency Management.

  • Setting the Example for Boating Safety Training More>
    Forty-four marina owners and Boating Industries Association employees set a good example recently by completing an eight-hour NYS Boating Safety Certificate course now required by state law for anyone operating a motorized vessel of any size or type on New York waters.

  • NYSG will be at other shows through the 2014 season. See our "Clean and Safe Boating 2014" news archives More>

NOAA and Sea Grant Announce Projects for $1.4M Coastal Storm Awareness Program More>
Sea Grant programs in NJ, NY and CT award $1.4M in funds for 10 projects to improve hazard warnings for tri-state residents.

  • ESF social scientists improving storm-warning communications - Syracuse Post Standard More>

  • Two studies look to improve hurricane warnings - Cornell Chronicle More>

  • Sea Grant Funds Support Two ESF Researchers More>

  • NOAA and Sea Grant Fund a New Coastal Storm Awareness Program More>
    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Sea Grant College Program announces the award of $1.8M in grants to Sea Grant programs in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut.

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