CERM 2018: Interactions Between Human and Natural Systems

Octo­ber 24–26, 2018
Bel­leayre Moun­tain Ski Center

The Catskill Envi­ron­men­tal Research & Mon­i­tor­ing (CERM) con­fer­ence is an oppor­tu­nity for researchers, resource man­agers, and oth­ers work­ing on envi­ron­men­tal man­age­ment in the Catskills to net­work and col­lab­o­rate. CERM 2018 fea­tured an expanded three-day for­mat to include field trips and a work­shop, 57 plat­form and poster pre­sen­ta­tions, and was attended by over 160 people!

“The Catskill For­est Pre­serve may be “For­ever Wild” but that does not make it immune from stres­sors intro­duced from the outside.” 

- CERM Co-Organizer Mor­ton Adams, Olive Nat­ural Her­itage Society

Con­fer­ence Evaluation

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Con­fer­ence Presentations

Visit the past con­fer­ences web­page to down­load CERM 2018 pre­sen­ta­tions and hand­outs avail­able from presenters:

CERM 2018 Pre­sen­ta­tions and Handouts


Presentation at the 2016 CERM Conference.

Pre­sen­ta­tion at the 2016 CERM Con­fer­ence. Photo cour­tesy of NYC DEP.

“The econ­omy of the Catskills depends on its nat­ural resources: forests, water, soil, and wildlife. Man­ag­ing those resources requires accu­rate sci­en­tific infor­ma­tion on their cur­rent state and pre­dic­tions of what might hap­pen to them in the future.”

- CERM Co-Organizer Gary Lovett, For­est Ecol­o­gist, Cary Insti­tute of Ecosys­tem Studies


Click on the image below for the final detailed agenda.

CERM Agenda jpg

Day 1 — Wednes­day, Octo­ber 24:

Con­fer­ence keynote:

Dr. Chad Daw­son, Pro­fes­sor Emer­i­tus of Recre­ation Resources Man­age­ment and for­mer Chair of the Depart­ment of For­est and Nat­ural Resources Man­age­ment at the SUNY Col­lege of Envi­ron­men­tal Sci­ence and Forestry in Syra­cuse, New York will present the keynote address on: “Mon­i­tor­ing Impacts and Man­ag­ing Recre­ational Use on For­est Pre­serve Lands.”

Fol­lowed by pre­sen­ta­tion ses­sions on:

  • Recre­ation Ecology
  • Soil/Plant Rela­tion­ships
  • Devel­op­ment Impacts
  • Poster Ses­sion and Mixer


Day 2 — Thurs­day, Octo­ber 25:

Pre­sen­ta­tion ses­sions on:

  • Sed­i­ment Studies
  • Hydrol­ogy
  • Wildlife
  • Human Influ­ences on Bio­di­ver­sity of Catskill Moun­tain Ecosystems


Day 3 — Fri­day, Octo­ber 26:

  • Work­shop and Field Trips


Research Break­fast Work­shop for Stu­dents & Faculty

Stu­dent researchers and their fac­ulty advi­sors were invited to join a break­fast work­shop about oppor­tu­ni­ties for research projects in the Catskills on Fri­day, Octo­ber 26.  The work­shop intro­duced fac­ulty and stu­dents to the his­tory of Catskills research and fund­ing avail­able to stu­dents inter­ested in address­ing research priorities.

Moun­tain High Field Trip

Field Trip Sched­ule and Directions

Hike to field sites illus­trat­ing Catskill veg­e­ta­tion, soils, for­est health, and for­est his­tory. Inter­act with researchers from mul­ti­ple dis­ci­plines along the hike. Choose hike options from low to mod­er­ately dif­fi­culty. Field sites will include exam­ples of con­trast­ing soil and plant asso­ci­a­tions, his­tor­i­cal char­coal burn sites, and an entry point into first growth for­est. There are two trip options: 1) Visit soil-plant asso­ci­a­tion sites and Cathe­dral Glen from 9:30–12:00 fol­lowed by a com­pli­men­tary Gon­dola ride at 1:00 (low level of dif­fi­culty); and 2) From 9:30–3:00 take the Gon­dola to the Bel­leayre Moun­tain sum­mit and explore for­est his­tory before return­ing via the Gon­dola (mod­er­ate level of dif­fi­culty). For more infor­ma­tion, con­tact trip leader Steve Pari­sio at steve.parisio@dec.ny.gov.

Val­ley Low Field Trip

Field Trip Sched­ule and Directions

This 4-hour hike will explore Bis­cuit Brook, a head­wa­ter trib­u­tary of the West Branch of the Nev­ersink River. Researchers from mul­ti­ple dis­ci­plines will be on hand to pro­vide inter­pre­ta­tion of the geo­logic, cli­matic, hydro­logic, geo­mor­phic and cul­tural processes that shape this head­wa­ter ecosys­tem — processes that made this stream crit­i­cal to the study of acid rain impacts in the north­east­ern U.S. The hike will be of mod­er­ate dif­fi­culty and begins at the Frost Val­ley Wel­come Cen­ter on Frost Val­ley Road (Ulster County Route 47) at 10:00. For more infor­ma­tion, con­tact trip leader Mark Vian at mvian@dep.nyc.gov.


The pur­pose of the CERM forum is to:

(1) High­light envi­ron­men­tal research and mon­i­tor­ing efforts relat­ing to the Catskill Mountains;

(2) Bring together a diverse inter­dis­ci­pli­nary group of researchers, stu­dents, resource man­agers and oth­ers inter­ested in the Catskills;

(3) Explore the impacts of cli­mate change, inva­sive species and other envi­ron­men­tal stres­sors on water qual­ity, bio­di­ver­sity and ecosys­tem health; and

(4) Stim­u­late dis­cus­sion and pro­mote col­lab­o­ra­tive efforts that address data gaps and envi­ron­men­tal issues affect­ing the region.

Learn about past CERM conferences.

Who Attends?

The con­fer­ence is intended mainly for researchers, stu­dents, and resource man­agers work­ing and study­ing in the Catskills, but any­one who would like to con­tribute or learn more about the region is wel­come to attend.

USGS electroshocking on the stream..

Fish study. Photo by Mark Loete.


The Bel­leayre Moun­tain Ski Cen­ter is located at 181 Galli Curci Rd, High­mount, NY 12441. The con­fer­ence is held in the Over­look Lodge with scenic views of the Catskill high peaks.

Belleayre Mountain view from ski lift

View from Bel­leayre Mountain

Con­fer­ence Organizers

Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Program/Cornell Uni­ver­sity Coop­er­a­tive Exten­sion of Ulster County, Bard College/Center for Envi­ron­men­tal Pol­icy, Catskill Insti­tute for the Envi­ron­ment, United States Geo­log­i­cal Sur­vey, Cary Insti­tute of Ecosys­tem Stud­ies, New York State Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion, New York City Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion, New York State Energy Research & Devel­op­ment Author­ity, New York State Museum, Rondout-Neversink Stream Man­age­ment Program