On Air: NYSG's new Hudson Estuary Specialist Talks with CCE Podcasters
Hudson River Estuary - News

Cornell Cooperative Extension's "The Coop-Cast" chats with NYSG's new Hudson Estuary Specialist

Kingston, NY, March 6, 2020 - On the latest episode of "The Coop-Cast!" Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County talks with special guest Jessica Kuonen about New York Sea Grant and all the great work they do. Another highlight of the discussion is what's going on with the Hudson River, and the challenges it's currently facing

This episode also features headlines and program announcements from the week of March 1-6, 2020.

Resources and Sources mentioned:

- NY Sea Grant: www.nyseagrant.org
- CCE Ulster: ulster.cce.cornell.edu
- Cornell Chronicle Article: news.cornell.edu

If you don't see the player above, it's because you're using a non-Flash device (eg, iPhone or iPad). You can download the mp3 file by clicking here (mp3). It may take a few minutes to download, so please be patient.

Stream the conversation above or listen to the podcast on Sound Cloud - Jessica's discussion begins around 4 minutes and 4 seconds into the podcast. Her segment runs until about 9 minutes and 58 seconds into the 12 and a half minute podcast.

Partial Transcript:

... Climate change is affecting communities across New York State. With this, many communities lack resources to adequately prepare for climate change, even if they have the knowledge of what they should do to address this need. The Climate Smart Solutions Program at Cornell is partnering with the New York Sea Grant to develop a Climate Stewards Volunteer program model after a successful Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardener program.

[00:02:02] Our special guest, Jessica Kuonen, Hudson estuary specialist for the New York Sea Grant, based in this Cornell Cooperative Extension Ulster County Office, is currently working on a portion of the curriculum that teaches the basics of climate science and will tell us more about that in a few.

[00:04:04] ... It's time for our special guest, part of the podcast.

[00:04:09] I'm here with Jessica Kuonen and I'm the Hudson estuary specialist for New York Sea Grant.

[00:04:14] Awesome. Great to have you here. So the first question I got for you is what is New York Sea Grant?

[00:04:21] So New York Sea Grant is a statewide network of research, education and extension that serves New York's coastlines. And we are a federal academic partnership between NOAA and the land-grant universities in all 33 coastal and Great Lakes states. And so in New York, that's Cornell and the SUNY system. And we have a team of extension specialists that are located throughout the state, in Long Island, down in Jamaica Bay and Brooklyn. I'm here in the Hudson and we've got some people over in the Great Lakes as well. And we live in these communities. We try to understand the issues and see how we can help through education, research and extension services. And what's cool about Sea Grant is we have this statewide network. So I can talk to my colleagues, you know, over in the Great Lakes if we're having similar issues and we're also tapped into this national network, which can be really nice for understanding problems in this kind of holistic way. And we have a similar mission to CCE and that we're bridging science and practice.

[00:05:33] So another question I have for you is what are Sea Grant’s focus areas?

[00:05:40] So our focus areas are healthy coastal ecosystems, sustainable fisheries, aquaculture and seafood businesses, which relates more to Long Island and the Great Lakes. We have resilient communities and economies, which is my main focus area. And we have environmental literacy and workforce development, which we all kind of contribute to.

[00:06:00] Can you tell us about the Hudson?

[00:06:03] Sure. So the Hudson is a very unique and dynamic system. It's an estuary, which means that it's tightly influenced all the way up to the federal dam at Troy. That means all the communities experience tides twice a day and an estuary. The definition of an estuary is just where the river meets the sea. So we've got the freshwater coming down from the Adirondacks, mixing with ocean water from the Atlantic. And it creates this kind of mixing zone, which, you know, it's this unique environment for all types of plant and animal communities. And it's a really important ecosystem for, you know, many species.

[00:06:43] What are some challenges that are going on the Hudson? What are some things that it's facing?

[00:06:48] Good question. So the Hudson has a really unique industry. You know, it was when Henry Hudson arrived here it's kind of been settled for one of the longest periods of time in the US. And so we have this long history of industry with the river specifically. We have a long history of dredging. We also have a history of contamination. Unfortunately, we have endangered species habitat. And we're also facing those problems from more people are moving here from the city. And there's just not a lot of room for our communities to grow because we're bounded by the railroad tracks and just like the steep slopes. And that's an issue when we're faced talking about things like sea level rise.

[00:07:35] What do you do as the Hudson estuary specialist?

[00:07:39] My focus here in the Hudson is I'm building a program around resilience. So resilience can mean a lot of different things. But we kind of think of it as a community's ability to bounce back after some type of disruption. And in this context, it's a community's ability to prepare for extreme events like Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Irene and Lee that happened here within the past decade. It's looking at those events and trying to understand how communities can be better prepared in the short term. So when we have these big disasters, but also with long term planning, because the Hudson is projected with climate change to have increasing temperatures, changes in precipitation, which can mean extreme rain as well as drought, as well as sea level rise, which causes flooding along the coasts.

[00:08:36] Another question I have for you is what is the relationship between Sea Grant and Cornell Cooperative Extension, specifically in Ulster County?

[00:08:46] Yeah, so administratively we kind of fall under the same umbrella at Cornell and I'm here at the Ulster County office just because Sea Grant agents … I'm the only person. And so this is just a we just have this relationship. I mean, essentially, I rent space here at the Ulster County office, but it's cool because I'm working since we have similar missions. I've already I've been here about five months and I'm already collaborating with people in this office on various things. So it's kind of just a really nice natural partnership.

More Info: New York Sea Grant

New York Sea Grant (NYSG), a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York (SUNY), is one of 34 university-based programs under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant College Program.

Since 1971, NYSG has represented a statewide network of integrated research, education and extension services promoting coastal community economic vitality, environmental sustainability and citizen awareness and understanding about the State’s marine and Great Lakes resources.

Through NYSG’s efforts, the combined talents of university scientists and extension specialists help develop and transfer science-based information to many coastal user groups—businesses and industries, federal, state and local government decision-makers and agency managers, educators, the media and the interested public.

The program maintains Great Lakes offices at Cornell University, SUNY Buffalo, SUNY Oswego and the Wayne County Cooperative Extension office in Newark. In the State's marine waters, NYSG has offices at Stony Brook University in Long Island, Brooklyn College and Cornell Cooperative Extension in NYC and Kingston in the Hudson Valley.

For updates on Sea Grant activities: www.nyseagrant.org has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube links. NYSG offers a free e-list sign up via www.nyseagrant.org/nycoastlines for its flagship publication, NY Coastlines/Currents, which is published quarterly. Our program also produces an occasional e-newsletter,"NOAA Sea Grant's Social Media Review," via its blog, www.nyseagrant.org/blog.

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