Interns Help with Stream Assessment and Monitoring

Posted on: July 18th, 2018 by Brent Gotsch

There’s a lot of work being done this summer at AWSMP and we use all the help we can get! Thankfully, we have an arrangement with SUNY Ulster and the NYC Department of Environmental Protection to hire interns to help with field work and other essential tasks. This year we are proud to have both Justin Alecca and Kaitlyn Perrone as our summer interns.

Justin and Kaitlyn help monitor completed stream projects. This includes surveying the channel and sampling stream sediment. They use survey equipment and Global Positioning System (GPS) devices to record measurements of the stream. These tasks are repeated every few years and after floods to track changes and determine if a completed stream project is successful in its goal to stabilize the stream.

One type of channel survey, called a cross section, measures how deep the stream bed is at a particular point. Sediment sampling involves measuring the size of different sediment particles to determine what size particles the stream is moving. Steeper more powerful streams tend to move larger, heavier sediment particles. Longitudinal profiles characterize the average stream slope and depth of riffles, pools, runs and glides and is used to delineate stream types. Drastic changes such as increased build-up of sediment (also known as aggradation) or severe deepening of the stream bed (also known as degradation) can be evidence of instability that indicates a need for stream work. 

AWSMP Summer Interns Justin Alecca (left) and Kaitlyn Perrone (middle) help AWSMP Watershed Technician Tiffany Runge (right) run a cross section along the Stony Clove Creek.

AWSMP summer interns Justin Alecca (left) and Kaitlyn Perrone (middle) help SWCD Watershed Technician Tiffany Runge (right) run a cross-section along the Stony Clove Creek.


There are seven stream restoration projects that will be surveyed this year. After channel survey are completed, this busy team will move on to vegetation monitoring at numerous riparian buffer planting sites. They will wrap up the summer field season with stream assessments in Lost Clove and Hatchery Hollow near Oliverea.

Justin is a student at SUNY Ulster who recently became a criminal justice major. He learned about the internship opportunity through his biology teacher. His favorite part of the internship is being able to gain field experience while learning about streams. He has one more year at SUNY Ulster and would ultimately like to become a game warden in either Maine or Colorado.

Kaitlyn is a recent graduate of SUNY Ulster who majored in ecology. She learned about the internship through her adviser. Her favorite part of the internship is being outdoors and walking through the stream, since you can learn so much by being immersed in it. She plans to take a semester off and then transfer to a 4-year college to complete her bachelor’s degree in either ecology or biology.

We thank both Justin and Kaitlyn for all their hard work this summer and wish them the very best with their future plans and careers!

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