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Annual Report 2008–2009

Photo: Paul Hartman

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Lynda Shenkman-Curtis

The past year has been transformative on many fronts for Beacon Institute. As you will see throughout this annual report, the Institute’s core research, education and policy initiatives—including REON, SENSE IT and a new policy center with Pace University—have developed and expanded thanks to the hard work and dedication of top flight staff, powerful and fruitful academic and industry collaborations, and the generous support of our institutional funders, government agencies and individual donors. Beacon Institute is employing technology, imagination and ingenuity to create a 21st century model for dealing with the pressures of humanity’s impact on the natural world that harmonizes the dynamic tension between these two forces, rather than demonizing them. Studies around “smart” electrical grids have shown that real-time information can inspire humans to make smarter decisions and motivate changes in habits and behavior. This information and inspiration is exactly what is needed right now to address the complex issues To create and maintain a global surrounding abundant and high quality water for our communities and fragile center for scientific and technological ecosystems that provide us this resource.


innovation that advances research,

The visualization of data now streaming education and public policy regarding live from multiple REON sensors in the Hudson River is just one example of rivers and estuaries. our success this year in moving closer toward the vision of a “source-to-sea” sensor network for the Hudson that could be replicated for rivers worldwide. SENSE IT, the acclaimed curriculum and teacher development program adopted this year by 31 schools in the state of New York, thanks to major funding from the National Science Foundation and others, is inspiring educators and generating enthusiasm in students about careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. At Beacon Institute, we are inspired and motivated towards greater understanding of riverine and estuarine ecosystems. The current economic climate has only intensified our efforts to work “smarter” by continuing to laser-focus attention on careful and prudent use of funds for maximum results. One small example is the decision to save “green”—both dollars and trees—by distributing this annual report primarily in a digital format, increasing e-news communications and limiting direct mail to selected fundraising efforts. You can help in this regard by providing us with your email address. If you find yourself in Beacon or Troy, NY, I encourage you to stop in to meet our fine staff, take in an exhibit or attend an event. The cultural and community events we host bring more than 4,000 people through our doors each year and are designed to educate and resonate with those who share our passion for water. On behalf of the Institute’s entire Board of Trustees, please accept my sincere thanks for your interest and support in building a smarter way to take on the challenges of rivers around the world, and for your tremendous support in making this year of progress possible. Sincerely, Brian Ruder Chair, Board of Trustees © 2009 Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries. All rights reserved.

Board of Trustees Brian Ruder Skylight Partners, Inc. Chair

John C. Cavalier Vice Chair

William J. Florence, Jr. Florence & Smith Treasurer and Secretary

Heather Briccetti The Business Council of New York State, Inc.

Anthony G. Collins, Ph.D. Clarkson University, President

John Cronin Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries Pace University

Charles E. Dorkey III McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP

Thomas Endres Jacob K. Javits Convention Center

Michael C. Finnegan Stephen J. Friedman Pace University, President

Alan P. Goldberg Ann Meagher Greater Southern Dutchess Chamber of Commerce

William F. Plunkett, Jr. Plunkett & Jaffe Group of McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP

Lynette M. Stark Northeastern New York State Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Paul Webster New York State United Teachers (NYSUT)

Visualizing the Smart River The world’s rivers and estuaries are where the majority of people live. These ecosystems and population centers are affected most and first by the challenges of the human relationship to nature—whether those are the environmental, economic and social impacts of human-induced climate change, or diminishing global water resources, or declining commercial fish stocks. The planet runs on water. The world’s population is growing but its water resources are not.

and public policy regarding rivers and estuaries. Our programs encompass: technological innovation, STEM skill education (science, technology, engineering and math), policy research and economic development. Working with key partners at IBM, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Clarkson University, and Pace University’s Academy for Applied Environmental Studies and the Pace School of Law, we are designing and implementing:

Within the next five years, the term “water footprint” will be as common as “carbon footprint.” Competition for water resources will become central to domestic and global politics. In some cases, the availability of water will outweigh cheap labor as a criterion for economic development and the location of job-producing companies.

• The River and Estuary Observatory Network (REON), a “source-to-sea” realtime monitoring network for New York’s Hudson and St. Lawrence Rivers, with technology replicable for rivers worldwide;

“Imagine the extraordinary

• A new collaborative environmental policy center to explore how 21st century innovation should affect decades-old policies to form policy recommendations backed by the latest information and research available; and • Innovative sensor technology and “green” research facilities.

advances to the environment, education, and the economy if we could know, in real time, the chemical, physical and biological conditions of any water body.”

—John Cronin Our knowledge of water, its monitoring, management and protection is woefully inadequate. It must become a priority in education, engineering, the sciences, public policy and the marketplace. The mission of Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries is to create and maintain a global center for scientific and technological innovation that advances research, education

If the 20th century was the era of environmental brawn, the 21st century has to be the era of environmental brains. The last half of the last century was spent fighting the impacts of decades of environmental abuse. In this century we must become smart enough to measure our impacts and our needs decades in advance. Imagine the extraordinary advances to the environment, education, and the economy if we could know, in real time, the chemical, physical and biological conditions of any water body. This new way of observing, understanding and predicting how large river and estuary ecosystems work will allow us to translate that knowledge into better policy, management and education for the Hudson River, and for rivers and estuaries worldwide.

Lynda Shenkman-Curtis

On the health front, between one and two billion people on the planet are without sanitary water, and conservative estimates tell us that two million people a year die from diseases associated with water pollution, mostly children in the developing world.

• SENSE IT, a teacher-training program to identify and develop the next generation of science and technology experts;

John Cronin is an environmental leader whose 35-year career of public service and accomplishments have earned him the designation of “Hero for the Planet” from Time magazine. Cronin heads Beacon Institute as its Director and Chief Executive Officer and is a senior fellow in environmental affairs at Pace University’s Academy for Applied Environmental Studies.

tom moore

Dean Kaufman

Science & Technology

REON 2.0 tom moore

Beacon Institute’s flagship scientific research initiative is the River and Estuary Observatory Network (REON), the first technology-based monitoring and forecasting network for rivers and estuaries. A joint effort between Beacon Institute, IBM and Clarkson University first announced in 2007, REON will allow for minute-to-minute monitoring of physical, chemical and biological data from New York’s Hudson and St. Lawrence Rivers via an integrated network of sensors, robotics and computational technology distributed throughout both rivers. REON is a featured case study in IBM’s Global Outlook Innovation report on water (2009) and its Smarter Planet initiative.

Top Right: On the B1 advanced monitoring station, solar panels power a computercontrolled autonomous robotic profiler with an array of sensors that travels vertically in the water for measurements. Along with the profiler, meteorological sensors and an acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) measure atmospheric and hydrodynamic conditions. Above: Research team members Chris Fuller and Russ Nelson of Clarkson University with the underwater undulating tow device.

his research team at Clarkson University redesigned B1 for redeployment in April 2009, yielding valuable real-time data. Fixed acoustic Doppler current profilers (ADCPs) at sites at West Point, Poughkeepsie and Albany are providing additional data. Other research highlights include: • Development of Novel Sensors. Beacon Institute and Clarkson University, with funding from a National Science Foundation Major Research Instrumentation grant (NSF-MRI), are co-developing new submersible sensors to enhance the type and quality of data collected.

The REON plan calls for a networked array of sensors to provide the data necessary to capture variations in multiple environmental parameters. Applications of REON data could include the ability to visualize the movement of chemical constituents, protect fish species as they migrate and provide a better scientific understanding of river and estuary ecosystems.

• Real-time GIS mapping system of the Hudson River. Beacon Institute and the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) at Columbia University are producing a sophisticated tool that will play a key role in presenting data collected by REON and additional information sources throughout the watershed.

On August 20, 2008, Beacon Institute deployed B1—the first advanced monitoring station in the REON system—in the Hudson River off Denning’s Point in Beacon, NY. Over the winter, James S. Bonner, Ph.D., P.E., REON Director of Research, and

Plans for 2010–2011 call for deployment of at least ten more networked sensor arrays and monitoring stations throughout the Hudson, St. Lawrence and Mohawk Rivers, in partnership with Clarkson University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

• May 2009: Beacon Installation and preview testing of land-based radar to generate surface current map

Tom Moore

• April 2009: Beacon Re-engineered and redesigned B1 deployed in same location off Denning’s Point

Sample of Daily Observational Data from B1 at Denning’s Point

Mohammad Shahidul Islam, Ph.D., REON Project Manager






• August 2009: Lower Hudson Test cruise of mobile monitoring system using proprietary underwater undulating tow device with instrumentation similar to B1









• October 2009: Lower Hudson Research cruise with mobile monitoring system (Beacon to Tarrytown) • October 2009 Fixed ADCP installed horizontally on pier at USGS station at IBM site in Poughkeepsie, NY

10 14:24






Dissolved oxygen (milligrams/liter) The optical oxygen sensor uses optical fluorescence technology to detect the amount of oxygen in the water. Dissolved oxygen is an important indicator of ecological health. Red means low concentration of oxygen, blue shows a higher concentration. 0


0.2 0.18





1.5 12:00








TIME 55 14:24







Particle volume (microliter/liter) This figure shows the variation of particle concentration in the water at the platform over time. A strong current in either direction can move water and particles from the bottom, and bring up particles from the ocean, as concentration can change with tidal forces. Normally particle concentration is expected to be higher near the river bed, and less in the upper portions of the water column.

Salinity (practical salinity unit) Salinity is an indicator of the amount of salt present in the water. Red shows high tide, with high salt water concentration from the ocean. Blue shows low tide, with more fresh water concentration. There is a slight amount of lag time with this parameter due to tidal variations. 0 .05




1.5 12:00

0 20.2 DEPTH (m)

• September 2009: Lower Hudson Research cruise with mobile monitoring system (New Hamburg to Tarrytown)





14 1


Current Profile (centimeters/second) On B1, the acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) points downward toward the river bed to measure water current direction and speed. Dark red shows the variation in the depth of the river bed, which changes with time due to forces of the tide. Positive velocity magnitude (yellow to red) indicates that water is moving up the river to the north—high tide. Negative velocity magnitude (turquoise to blue) shows water moving to the south, back toward the Atlantic Ocean—low tide.


• September 2009: Grasse River B2 advanced monitoring station deployed in northern NY, near St. Lawrence River








• July 2009: Albany Fixed ADCP installed vertically and anchored to river bottom near site of Dutch Apple Cruises



• June 2009: West Point Fixed acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) installed horizontally on pier near the USGS gauging station at South Dock at the U.S. Military Academy





B1 advanced monitoring station deployed in Hudson River off Denning’s Point

Mohammad Shahidul Islam, Ph.D., REON Project Manager, a recent graduate of Texas A&M University, created these dynamic, web-accessible graphic interpretations of REON data streaming. IBM will be creating future iterations of data visualization.


•August 2008: Beacon

REON Data Visualization


REON Deployments


20 19.8


19.6 1.5 12:00

19.4 14:24







Water temperature (degrees Celsius) In this figure, red indicates warmer water, while blue indicates colder water. Water temperature can vary with the tide and time of day.









Chlorophyll concentration (parts per billion) The three-channel fluorimeter (FL3) provides data on the presence of biological, physical and chemical particles in the water. Chlorophyll concentration measured by FL3 provides an indirect measure of the phytoplankton biomass (algae). At certain levels, algae can be a food source, but an overabundance can be detrimental to the ecosystem. Red shows a higher concentration of phytoplankton biomass, blue shows lower.

REON data captures: Mohammad Shahidul Islam, Ph.D.

tom moore

Paul Hartman


Sense IT Too many of today’s students are choosing not to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering or mathematics, but Beacon Institute’s new hands-on approach using sensor technology aims to change that.

Paul Hartman

Developed by Beacon Institute and Clarkson University, SENSE IT (Student Enabled Network of Sensors for the Environment using Innovative Technology) offers high

teach their students to construct their own prototype water quality sensors. “Our goal is to use the Hudson River and the REON project as learning platforms to demonstrate how science and technology help us view, interpret and interact with the environment,” said Liesl Hotaling, Chief Education Officer for Beacon Institute and creator of SENSE IT. Hotaling is a nationally recognized expert in developing internetbased science curricula for K-12 teachers. SENSE IT was piloted at Tech Valley High School (TVHS) in the Capital District in 20072008, and the high school implemented Year Two of the curriculum in 2008-2009.

school teachers new ways to engage students in hands-on exploration and application of the critical science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills that can further excite students about science and technology career paths. Above: Teachers and students participated in SENSE IT this summer at Beacon Institute’s Center for Environmental Innovation and Education.

SENSE IT brings sensor technology into the classroom. Participating teachers learn to implement the hands-on curriculum modules and receive the equipment necessary to

Thanks in part to the success of the TVHS pilot, in 2008 the National Science Foundation, through its Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (NSF-ITEST) program, awarded Beacon Institute and Clarkson University $1.4 million to expand SENSE IT across three regions in New York State. Additional funding for SENSE IT has been provided by Motorola Foundation, Turner Construction

Company, Louis Greenspan Charitable Trust, the Bender Scientific Fund of the Community Foundation of the Greater Capital Region, Verizon and Senator Stephen Saland and Senator Vincent Leibell. During July and August of 2009, 41 teachers and 80 students from 31 school districts across the Capital District, Potsdam area and Hudson Valley participated in one of three intensive two-week professional development workshops designed to prepare them to implement the SENSE IT curriculum in their classrooms this fall. The SENSE IT curriculum modules, designed to integrate into any high school STEM curriculum, include sensor development, deployment and data gathering; water quality investigation; and sharing data across observatories. Students learn the engineering design process by designing, constructing, programming and testing water monitoring sensors, with the ultimate goal of interesting students in STEM-based career paths. Acceptance into the program requires longterm commitments from teachers and schools to employ these methods.

Lynda Shenkman-Curtis

“For New York State and the nation to remain competitive in the global economy it is essential we develop math, science and engineering skills in young students,” said John Cronin, Director and CEO of Beacon Institute. “By combining an environmentally-driven purpose—the monitoring and protection of critical waterways—with advanced technological skills, we are preparing a new generation of innovators and leaders who can address one of our most pressing regional, national and global environmental challenges—threatened water resources.”

What Educators Are Saying about SENSE IT Richard C. Ianuzzi

Chad Cianfrani

President New York State United Teachers

Oakwood Friends School Physics, Robotics, Engineering

“This program allows classroom teachers to participate in real-life scientific research that will have a lasting environmental impact, and that they will be able to pass on to their students.”

“This leads in very nicely to the robotics class where I also use the Lego NXT processors that we used this week with SENSE IT. With my ninth graders, I will be able to incorporate a lot of the sensors we are using into the curriculum right away… It has been fantastic!”

Jonathan Morey Orange/Ulster BOCES Career and Technology Education Center Engineering; Guidance Counselor

Amber Kardas

“Students don’t know what engineering is—it’s such a vast academic leap from mechanical to electrical to chemical engineering. What I’m trying to do is give them actual hands on experience so that they can say ‘I would like to be this type of engineer.’ [SENSE IT] is a perfect handson application to help students choose a career based on experience, rather than just stumbling into it.”

Poughkeepsie City School District Mathematics

“It really puts engineering, science, computers, math and technology all in one.” Anne Green Hadley-Luzerne School District Environmental Science

“It was the best thing I did all summer… Our [local] economy is based on tourism. Water quality is a big part of it.”

Participating School Districts Potsdam Region Seaway Area Tech BOCES Brasher Falls Canton Clifton Fine Hermon DeKalb Heuvelton LaFargeville Madrid-Waddington Massena Norwood Ogdensburg Free Academy Potsdam

Capital Region AuSable Valley Cairo-Durham Hadley-Luzerne Hoosick Falls Schenectady City Schuylerville Shenendehowa Troy City Waterford-Halfmoon

Beacon Institute is a member of the Centers for Ocean Science Education Excellence Networked Ocean Worlds (COSEE-NOW), which facilitates collaborations between scientists and educators. COSEE-NOW members create educational materials that use observing systems data in new media formats for formal and informal educational settings.

Hudson Valley Region Beacon City Blind Brook Croton-Harmon The Masters School Oakwood Friends School Onteora Orange-Ulster BOCES Poughkeepsie City Sleepy Hollow/Tarrytown Valley Central

tom moore


Our Water Future tom moore

“Current state and federal water policies are wholly inadequate,” asserts John Cronin, Beacon Institute Director and CEO, and senior environmental fellow at Pace University’s new Academy for Applied Environmental Studies, “if clean water, functioning ecosystems, and sustainable economic development are society’s goals.”

tom moore

According to Cronin, new 21st century policies that embrace, encourage and reward innovation must be at the center of water resource management. And, unlike laws written in the 1970s, a new comprehensive water policy should integrate its goals for ecological, human and economic health. The Pacific Institute estimates that between 36 million and 70 million people, mostly children in the developing world, will die from water pollution-related diseases by 2020. The New York Times reports that as many as 19.5 million Americans are made ill each year by biological contaminants in drinking water.

Above (L to R): Panelists at the NYS Water Resources conference: John Cronin, Beacon Institute; Marcia Bystryn, NY League of Conservation Voters; Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, Pace Law School; Carter H. Strickland, Jr., NYC Mayor’s Office; Sharon Nunes, Ph.D., IBM; Anthony Collins, Ph.D., Clarkson University Left: NYS Water Resources conference Professor Nicholas Robinson, Pace Law School

In New York’s Hudson River, home to Beacon Institute, thousands of tons of municipal and industrial wastes are dumped annually. Sewage overflows are commonplace and people routinely swim near industrial and municipal outfalls. At least seven major fish species are in decline and health advisories about toxins in fish have been in place for 34 years. At least one city has a drinking water intake within two miles of its sewage plant discharge, and another has an intake 35 miles downriver of a PCB Superfund site. No single discipline can cure the world’s environmental ills. And no policies based on

outdated technologies can provide the sweeping change necessary to address the enormity of the water crisis our world now faces. Beacon Institute is bringing together some of the best minds in the not-forprofit, corporate, research, academic and government sectors to create a new era of policy that encourages innovation, protects our waterways and protects our communities. The Institute is launching a science, technology and environmental policy center in collaboration with Pace University’s Academy for Applied Environmental Studies and its Center for Environmental Legal Studies. The concept for this policy center began in the former Pace Academy for the Environment, founded in 2002, which has counted amongst its achievements the Environmental Consortium of Hudson Valley Colleges & Universities. In its new incarnation as Pace University’s first center of excellence, the Pace Academy for Applied Environmental Studies gathers experts in science, law, politics, ethics, health care, technology and business from the university community and beyond for their combined expertise to generate and contribute innovative and integrated solutions to environmental problems. Key experts from Pace University— including John Cronin, Pace President Stephen J. Friedman, Pace Academy Director Michelle Land, Assistant Dean of Environmental Law Alexandra Dapolito Dunn and University Professor Nicholas Robinson, among several others—have been involved deeply with Beacon Institute.

At the conference, it was said often that comprehensive protection and management of water would finally come when a crisis forced the issue. Water is fast equaling climate change as a universal, environmental priority. Beacon Institute is addressing the water crisis and the need for information with vision, integrity and imagination. It has gathered together the best and brightest minds from academia and industry to create the River and Estuary Observatory Network (REON) that, when complete, will provide real-time monitoring of the chemical, physical and biological changes in the Hudson and St. Lawrence Rivers, and make this “smart river” technology replicable for rivers worldwide. The SENSE IT education program puts sensor technology in the hands of today’s students, and delivers the inspiration and knowledge they will need to prepare for their role in solving the water crisis for their children and grandchildren. The new policy center with Pace University will fuse the hard scientific data streaming in from REON with the energy, enthusiasm and intellect of the environmental lawyers, academics, policymakers and scientists who have the skill, means and motivation to change the way we think about this increasingly precious resource. “The illusion that water is forever flowing, bountiful and continually improving, is a myth,” states Cronin. “Our national and regional unpreparedness for a sustainable water future indicates that a crisis is already upon us. We need to get smart about water now. We have the talent. We need only to understand the road ahead and put our best talent and genius to work.”

The Environmental Consortium of Hudson Valley Colleges & Universities The Environmental Consortium of Hudson Valley Colleges & Universities was established in 2004 by Beacon Institute and Pace University with the mission to harness higher education’s intellectual and physical resources to advance regional, ecosystembased environmental research, teaching, and learning through interdisciplinary, collaborative programs and information sharing. As a founding partner of the Environmental Consortium, Beacon Institute provides seed funding and staff support for its programming. “The partnership between Beacon Institute and the Environmental Consortium continues to enhance and reinforce our joint vision for the region and its environment,” says Michelle Land, J.D., Director of the Environmental Consortium. “We are continually advancing our ability to engage member institutions in collaborative programs that engage students and faculty in river-related research and activities toward a better understanding of the Hudson’s health and functioning.” River Summer Faculty Development 2008 A total of 53 individuals from 31 institutions and organizations participated as both “teachers” and “learners” in River Summer’s fourth year. Two modules transited the full length of the Hudson River estuary, from New York Harbor to the Troy Dam. On board the R/V Seawolf of Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, and through a series of off-shore lessons, faculty were immersed and transformed as they witness firsthand the changing landscape, waterscape, human and natural impacts. Faculty from Pace University School of Law used environmental law as a connecting theme through the two modules. Curriculum developed by faculty for the River Summer program is being produced and made available online.

Margie Turrin

Months of planning for this new policy center culminated in a September 2009 conference on “New York State Water Resources: Assessing the Need for a Comprehensive Policy,” sponsored by Pace Academy for Applied Environmental Studies, Beacon Institute and the Center for Environmental Legal Studies at Pace Law School. At the daylong conference, experts in government, law, science, education and advocacy discussed the crisis that threatens state, national and international aquatic resources. The conference helped set the agenda for Pace Academy’s and Beacon Institute’s continuing research and applied studies of water policy.

Educators participating in River Summer aboard the R/V Seawolf of Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences.

Student Summit on Building Your Green Future: Choosing a Career and Degree with Sustainability in Mind On April 3, 2009, the Consortium’s 4th Annual Student Summit was held at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, NY, and attracted 125 students from over two dozen institutions around the region. Kevin Doyle, President of Green Economy and one of the nation’s leading experts on employment trends in the rapidly expanding world of “green jobs,” delivered the keynote. The event featured breakout sessions led by environmental professionals and concluded with an environmentally themed career/ graduate school fair. Mercy College School of Health and Natural Sciences, Pace University and Beacon Institute co-sponsored the summit. Supporting Faculty Grant Opportunities The Environmental Consortium offered a series of seminars to encourage junior faculty to submit National Science Foundation CAREER grant proposals. Liesl Hotaling, Chief Education Officer at Beacon Institute, and Michelle Land, Director of the Consortium, demystified the grant application process and demonstrated how Consortium membership can be leveraged in grant proposals. The seminars were offered at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (upper Hudson), Vassar College (mid-Hudson) and Marymount Manhattan College (lower Hudson).

Photo courtesy IBM

Dean Kaufman

Smart Rivers

Smart Rivers for a Smarter Planet John E. Kelly III Senior Vice President and Director IBM Research

“Society and business are facing increasingly complex challenges when it comes to understanding and managing water resources on this planet. Getting smart about water is important to all of us for one simple reason: water is too precious a resource to be wasted.”

Above: John Cronin with Sharon L. Nunes, Ph.D., Vice President, Strategic Growth Initiatives, Big Green Innovations, IBM Systems and Technology Group

John E. Kelly III, Senior Vice President and Director of IBM Research, spoke eloquently at the IBM Smarter Planet conference held in Poughkeepsie, NY, in June 2009, about the “interconnected, instrumented and intelligent” systems that IBM is developing for management of information and resources like electricity, health care records and water. Here, Beacon Institute Director and CEO John Cronin, who served as a guest speaker for the Smarter Planet conference, interviews Dr. Kelly. John Cronin: Why do we need to get smart about water? John Kelly: Many people think that water is the most abundant resource on the planet, but when you start to look at the available fresh water it’s a very different story. Although three quarters of the earth’s surface is covered in water, less than one percent of that is suitable for use by humans. Most of our water—97 percent of it—is saltwater; 2 percent is held in snow and icebergs and only 1 percent is usable fresh water. While the global water supply is largely fixed, the world population and its

water consumption are growing. In just the last 100 years, global water usage has increased at twice the rate of population growth. Today, 20 percent of the world’s population lacks ready access to safe drinking water. That percentage is increasing annually. The flow of clean, plentiful water is as essential to our economy and society as it is to our planet. The time has come to stop taking water for granted, and start managing it as the precious resource it is. John Cronin: How do we get smart about water? John Kelly: We get smart about water by building intelligence into water systems—by using smart technology to monitor, measure and analyze entire water ecosystems, from rivers and reservoirs to the pumps and pipes in our homes. As water resource management expert Doug Miell has said, you can’t manage what you can’t measure. IBM is using sophisticated sensor networks to collect and analyze the tremendous amounts of data generated in complex water systems.

For example, in our work with Beacon Institute and Clarkson University on the River and Estuary Observatory Network (REON), we’re applying advanced analytics to the information gathered via the minuteto-minute monitoring systems installed on New York’s Hudson River. REON’s integrated network of sensors, robotics and computational technology distributed throughout the river will help provide a better understanding of the effects of global weather changes, the movements of migrating fish or the transport of pollutants.

What It Takes to Build Smart Rivers Over the past three years, Beacon Institute has raised more than $3.5 million in public and private funds for research and development efforts to create and develop the River and Estuary Observatory Network (REON).

Seeing REON to fruition will require a significant investment of private dollars. In 2010, Beacon Institute will invest more than $1.5 million to deploy and maintain advanced sensor equipment for REON. Your support is both needed and appreciated.

John Cronin: Why is this important to IBM, and more importantly, the average citizen?

In IBM’s recent Global Innovation Outlook report on water, a lack of viable and actionable data was identified as a key inhibitor to effective water management. We saw this as a call to action because we have the ability to apply the kinds of advanced technologies—sophisticated sensor networks, smart meters, deep computing and analytics—that are necessary for smarter water management.

Kari di loreto

John Kelly: Society and business are facing increasingly complex challenges when it comes to understanding and managing water resources on this planet. Getting smart about water is important to all of us for one simple reason: water is too precious a resource to be wasted.

Sharon L. Nunes, Ph.D., IBM, and James S. Bonner, Ph.D., P.E., REON Research Director, with members of the research team.

tom moore

Mount Marcy

Troy Mohammad Shahidul Islam, Ph.D., REON Project Manager, on B1.


Hudson New York City tom moore


Chris Fuller of Clarkson University releases the underwater undulating tow device for a research cruise.

Croxton Collaborative Architects

Bilyana Dimitrova

Lynda Shenkman-Curtis

Public Outreach

Center for Environmental Innovation and Education A beautiful cold, crisp, sunny day and the celebration of the Beacon Institute’s new “green” facility brought more than 350 excited guests to the opening of Beacon Institute’s new Center for Environmental Innovation and Education (CEIE) at Denning’s Point in Beacon, NY, on December 13, 2008. “Beacon Institute is a Hudson Valley treasure—the research and innovation taking place here in our own backyard will translate into tangible benefits that will resound throughout the international community,” said Congressman John Hall. “Water is perhaps our most important natural resource. Beacon Institute is showing us new ways to monitor and protect this precious element. The new CEIE facility on Denning’s Point in Beacon will provide an important touchstone and opportunity for people to engage with the Institute’s programs and reconnect with the Hudson River.”

Top Right: Gensler design director Oliver Schaper presents the “green” features of the CEIE. Above Left: Exterior of CEIE Above: Rendering of CAER

“We had a vision for a world class center for advanced river and estuary research to make its home in Dutchess County. We are thrilled to see that vision become a reality with the opening of the Beacon Institute,” said Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus. “Our investment in the Beacon Institute provides an opportunity for our children to learn more about our environment and how to protect it for generations to come.”

Equipped with surround-sound videoconferencing, broadcasting and simulcasting capabilities, the CEIE was designed by architectural firm Gensler to receive high LEED certification, with flexible spaces that are easily reconfigurable for seminars, workshops, exhibits, public forums and cultural and social events. Educational programming in the CEIE included SENSE IT teacher development programs in August 2009. Event programming at the facility in 2009 has been broad and well-received by hundreds of participants, and has included lectures, films, nature tours of Denning’s Point and teacher training, as well as several events for regional professional and community groups. “The opening of the CEIE is a great milestone for the Beacon Institute, and the Dyson Foundation is pleased to have been an early supporter of the organization and this effort,” said Diana M. Gurieva, Executive Vice President of the Dyson Foundation. “The educational opportunities that will be available to residents of the Mid-Hudson Valley at the CEIE will be a wonderful asset to the region.” The CEIE also functions as a Visitor Center for Denning’s Point, part of New York’s Hudson Highlands State Park. From April 1 to November 30, the Park is open to visitors, who can visit the new CEIE as they walk the hiking trails from the Metro-North Beacon station and around Denning’s Point.

Center for Advanced Environmental Research Early design has been completed for the Center for Advanced Environmental Research (CAER), Beacon Institute’s second facility on Denning’s Point. Croxton Collaborative Architects, pioneers in green building design, are leading the planning and design of CAER with the goal of creating a unique research facility where collaboration amongst scientists, engineers, policy analysts and scholars is seamless and intuitive. The design—including site orientation, public areas, research facilities, preliminary landscape concepts, viewsheds and interior layout—incorporates the latest in integrated, sustainable design and practices.

Gallery at 199 Main Street Beacon Institute’s Gallery at 199 Main Street in Beacon, New York, demonstrates its commitment to the cultural heritage of rivers and their people. From July 2008 to June 2009, more than 4,000 people visited the Institute’s gallery, bookstore and gift shop. Local theater groups, not-for-profits and other civic organizations enjoyed regular use

of the gallery for special events on a spaceavailable basis. Gallery exhibitions are selected on the basis of resonance with and relevance to the Institute’s mission, with special emphasis on regional artists inspired by the complexity and beauty of the Hudson and other bodies of water.

Beacon Harbor Beacon Institute continues to collaborate with the City of Beacon and other partners to revitalize Beacon Harbor. Key to this effort is the planned construction of a dock to serve both the Institute’s research vessels and enhance public use and access to the water. The dock is expected to accommodate the Clearwater, the Woody Guthrie and other large vessels. The City’s harbor management plan, currently under state review, anticipates a shoreside public facility that will support deep water research vessels and researchers, as well as educational programming for the Institute, the community and other harbor organizations.

Philipse Manor Beach Club © 2008 Ted Kawalerski

Top to Bottom -- The Hudson River Photographs by Ted Kawalerski October 4, 2008-April 26, 2009

Sleepy Hollow photographer Ted Kawalerski shared with viewers his deep personal connection to the Hudson River and the multicultural diversity of people who live along its banks.

Upper Hudson Research Center at Troy In 2008, Beacon Institute, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), the City of Troy and New York State announced plans to design and build a sustainable environmental research facility on the former Rensselaer Iron Works site as part of the City of Troy’s waterfront revitalization plans. The Upper Hudson Research Center (UHRC) will launch new educational and research initiatives to preserve river ecosystems. Facility construction will begin following completion of an environmental cleanup of the brownfield property as part of New York State’s Environmental Remediation Program. Planning for the new streetscape and improved fishing pier was accomplished, now providing the community with renewed access to the river.

The Center for Land Use Interpretation Archive

Up River: Man-Made Sites of Interest on the Hudson from the Battery to Troy Courtesy of The Center for Land Use Interpretation May 9 – November 8, 2009

This portrait of the Hudson’s shores focused on man-made sites rarely seen by those who travel along the river’s banks. Aerial photography highlighted the shore area’s landmarks both plain and remarkable: factories, prisons, power plants, quarries, parks, current industries and planned redevelopments—in many cases, overlooked places that can only be seen from above.

Adam Reitzel, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Research

Starlet Sea Anemones and Environmental Stress

Lars Behrendt, WHOI

Postdoctoral scholar Adam Reitzel, Ph.D. earned his Ph.D. from Boston University and an M.S. in Zoology from the University of Florida. With support from Beacon Institute and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), Reitzel has been studying the starlet sea anemone, a tiny creature (< 1 cm) that lives in the salt marshes of the Atlantic coast, including the Hudson River estuary. Adam: Estuaries, home to a variety of organisms including fish and crustaceans, continue to be impacted by environmental stressors, including coastal development, climate change and anthropogenic contaminants. My research at Woods Hole focused on testing hypotheses to better understand the responses of the starlet sea anemone Nematostella vectensis to toxic metals and temperature, common natural and anthropogenic stressors, due to industrial activity and climate change. Top: Adam Reitzel, Ph.D. collecting Nematostella at Sapelo Island, GA. Top Left: Adult Nematostella and egg masses. Above: Adam Reitzel collecting Nematostella at Great Sippewissett Marsh in Falmouth, MA.

I took three approaches to characterize the molecular machinery deployed by Nematostella to environmental stressors: candidate gene identification and expression, transcriptional profiling to identify novel genes, and gene suppression. Each approach provides complementary insights into the

genetic mechanisms underlying stress responses. I expected that some of the candidate genes would be expressed in a way that would lessen organismal stress. However, the degree of stress necessary to elicit the molecular response varies considerably among species. One surprising result is that Nematostella could tolerate fairly large changes in temperature and metal exposure before deploying a molecular response when compared to other related organisms (e.g. corals). A second surprising result was the potential involvement of a nuclear hormone receptor in response to metal exposure. This observation provides a novel direction for my future work. This postdoctoral opportunity provided resources to pursue a diverse set of questions in both the field and laboratory, to collaborate with other researchers and to present my research at academic conferences and focused working groups. This combination of experiences has resulted in several completed projects to better understand Nematostellaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s relationship with its environment and how estuarine organisms use molecular mechanisms to respond to stressful environments.

Hudsonia, Ltd.

Undergraduate Research

Since the 1960s, many unwanted pet slider turtles have been released into ponds and lakes. This highly adaptable turtle population, which can thrive in poor habitats with small amounts of water, little vegetation, no basking sites and limited food resources, has expanded beyond its native range. Sliders were first recorded in Denning’s Point Bay in 2003, a habitat hosting another invasive species, the water chestnut (Trapa natans L.). During the study period from June 1 to July 31, 2009, the students captured and documented the slider turtle population in Denning’s Point Bay using radio transmitters. After recording identifying data, the students released all turtles at the original point of capture in Denning’s Point Bay. Matt: In the initial days of the internship, we observed 12 to 15 slider turtles basking on a large log in the center of Denning’s Point Bay. Although we were not able to identify

these sliders specifically as red-eared sliders, we were confident we would find and trap a decent-sized sample of a population of redeared sliders that we could track and monitor. In actuality, we only trapped three red-eared sliders over the course of the summer. We tracked and monitored the activity of these three turtles throughout the bay and recorded the water depths and temperatures at their locations. Lori: We expected to find the sliders using a larger portion of the bay than they actually did. Their movements remained concentrated along the shores of the bay in dense water chestnut mats. We were not able to locate any nests, but we did observe two juvenile sliders (between 1–2 years old) in the bay, indicating that the turtles here are indeed reproducing.

Hudsonia, Ltd.

Undergraduate students Lori Jaeger of Sullivan County Community College and Matthew Francis of Marist College received research funding from Beacon Institute and the Environmental Consortium of Hudson Valley Colleges & Universities to study the presence of the non-native red-eared slider turtle (Trachemys scripta elegans), in the Hudson River estuarine environment, under the supervision of Erik Kiviat and Tanessa Hartwig of Hudsonia, Ltd.

Hudsonia, Ltd.

Red-eared Slider Turtles at Denning’s Point

Matt: Through this internship I gained valuable field research experience and became familiar with the process of writing a formal academic research paper. These skills will prove beneficial as I pursue a career in biology. Lori: This internship experience of participating in an undergraduate research project was an honor and a privilege. I feel much more confident about tackling things that might seem out of my reach. After spending a summer on the beautiful Hudson River, working outdoors has become a requirement in my future plans.

Top: Lori Jaeger and Matthew Francis setting traps in Denning’s Point Bay. Top Right: A turtle receives a radio transmitter Above: Map of turtle locations in Denning’s Point Bay.

tom moore

tom moore


Beacon Institute continued to reach new constituencies and new supporters. In fact, participation in the annual fund doubled from last year. During this year of uncertainty and unprecedented economic hardship, we are grateful for each and every gift and for every new supporter. Careful use of our resources has allowed us to sustain our programs during these challenging times and we are optimistic for 2009–2010.

bill kirkey

How Does Beacon Institute Use Your Gifts? Expenditures 2008–2009




$1,461,259 35%

Capital Projects

866,111 20%


788,197 19%

Public Policy

314,333 7%

Development & Communcations

415,180 10%


367,546 9%




9% 10% 35% 7%

19% 20%


2008–2009 Expenses by Function*


4m 6m 6M

2008–2009 Expenses by Function*


5m 5M


4m 4M

Top Right and Left: Students and teachers participating in SENSE IT at Denning’s Point in Beacon, NY.

Yearly Budget Comparison










3m 3M


2m 2M

2007–2008 Revenue Fundi 1m 1M

Above: Installation of acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) at West Point, NY.




2007–2008 Revenue Funding by Source*


Contributors Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries remains grateful for our 2008–2009 donors who offered both operating and capital support. $100,000+

Under $1,000

NYS Department of Environmental Conservation

Bob & Marianne Abrams

NYS Department of State Office of Coastal, Local Government & Community Sustainability

Robert E. Adamski

NYS Empire State Development Corporation


Dutchess County

Terry Badura

The Dyson Foundation

Howard & Marie Baker

Faith A. Adams Daniel & Susan Albinder John J. Atherton

Beacon Rotary Club

$10,000 – $99,999

Beacon Terminal Associates


Mrs. Eric Bergmann

Bender Scientific Fund of the Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region

Susan Berliner

Hawksglen Foundation Louis Greenspan Charitable Trust George & Miriam Martin Foundation Motorola Foundation NYS Education Department Turner Construction Verizon Foundation Lucy R. Waletzky

$1,000 — $9,999 Douglas C. Berlin John Cronin & Connie Hough Charles E. Dorkey, III William Florence Stephen J. & Fredrica S. Friedman Fund Harold Gainer Alan Goldberg Shirley & Paul Hartman Dr. Carl W. Kohls M&T Bank Marc Moran & Mala Hoffman William Plunkett

tom moore

Susan Fox Rogers Brian & Ginny Ruder The partners of Sedore & Company

Tia Biasi John & Betsy Brockway Babette Brown Wayne Bunker Randi Chalfin-Piney The Chazen Companies Christina E. Clayton Committee to Elect Adrian Butch Anderson Mauri J. Coover-Reid Dr. Edwin H. Cromey Joe Curto Jill Dayan Kevin A. Denton Eileen Doherty John C. Dubberstein Diane M. Duffus Alexandra Dunn Hank Dutch Ellis & Associates Steven Ferlauto Sarah A. Fitts Joan W. Fitzpatrick Michael J. Flaherty Arthur Fontijn Erica Forman Marcia Frahman

Joseph Squillante & Carol Capobianco Donald K. Stammer, D.D.S.


Wendy & Alex Stanton Lynette M. Stark Jack Stearns

Under $1,000 conâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t.

Darren B. McCormack

Polly Steinway

Jane Geisler

Charles H. McDuffie

Mr. & Mrs. William Y. Stevens

D. E. Gilman

Margaret McDuffie

Virginia K. Stowe

Bruce Gitlin

Ann Meagher

Anne Strain

David M. Goldberg

Anthony Merante

Joan & Joe Taphorn

Elaine Goldman

Mr. & Mrs. Frank Mitchell

Dr. & Mrs. Ronald Tatelbaum

Rebecca Gott

Dorothy Modlin

Vehig S. Tavitian

John T. Graham

Vincent L. Montalbano

Dr. Jerome Thaler

Drayton Grant

John Morgan

Rosemary Thomas

Josie & Bennett Gray

William B. Morrison

Elizabeth Thorndike

Joseph P. Gribbin

Ed Murr

Claudette P. Thornton

Erica Hauser

Louis Nesslar

Arthur R. Tully

Lloyd J. Herman

Florence Northcutt

Iris J. Turkenkopf

Mark Hershey

Harold Oakhill

Heather M. Upshaw

Walter A. Hunt, Jr.

P & D Electric of Hudson Valley

John J. Valentino

Harold Hyatt

Donald G. Palmer

Joan K. VanVoorhis

The JLS Group

Perreca Electric Co. Inc.

Tony Cenicola

Oliver Johnson

Cynthia Owen Philip

Viscount Wines & Liquor

Evelyn Kamenetzky

Piccone Group of Companies

William W. Weisner

Linda Kamenetzky

Sandra Piccone

Leigh L. Wen

Quartararo & Quartararo

Margery Whiteman

Harvey D. Rappaport

Nan Whittingham

Robert Rathjen

Zywia Wojnar

Azzy Reckess

Jean Wort

Carol S. Rietsma

Nancy M. Yambem

Frank Ritter

Heather Yukon

River Pool at Beacon Inc.

Alexander & Marine Zagoreos

Anne Kane Pamela Kasa Richard A. Kimball, Jr. Chris Kingsley Michael J. Kovach Thomas LaBarr Roy Lamberton Lanc & Tully Engineering & Surveying Land Family Foundation Randy K. Lashua Marta J. Lawrence June T. Leaman Michelle LeBlanc Josette M. Lee Arthur Levin Mr. & Mrs. L. Lewis Lifetime Learning Institute at Bard College

Julia Robbins Lorraine M. Roberts Adrienne S. Rodriguez Ken & Dorcas Rose Barry & Edith Rosen Toby Rossman Charles R. Rowe Janice & Richard Ryan Mrs. John E. Sanders Gerard M. Sapunarich

Anne Lindberg

Sarah Schilling

Mr. & Mrs. Bernard Liquorman

Mr. & Mrs. J. David Schmidt

Richard Manley

Terry Schwadron

Randall Martin

Ian Shaw

Jillian Mauer

William K. Simpson

Dean McBeth

Fred Snitzer

Am Zgonena Joyce Zucker Carmelina Zullo Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries makes every attempt to ensure the accuracy of our information. If you would prefer that your name be listed differently, or if you have found an error or omission, please contact our Development office at 518.273.3215 and we will gladly update our records. The Beacon Institute, Inc., is a charitable, nonprofit corporation classified by the Internal Revenue Service as a publicly supported taxexempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. A copy of the latest financial report may be obtained by writing to Beacon Institute, or to the New York State Attorney Generalâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Office, Charities Bureau, 120 Broadway, New York, NY 10271.

Join the Smart River Revolution!

Enjoy an Event at Our Facilities

• Check out for info, news, events, blogs, videos and more.

Beacon Gallery, Bookstore and Administrative Offices 199 Main St., Beacon, NY Exhibits showcasing river and environmentally themed artists. Talks by regional Hudson Valley authors.

• Subscribe to our email list. Instead of printing newsletters, we save “green” (dollars and trees) by sending informative weekly emails to keep you in the loop. • Volunteer. Join the Denning’s Point conservation corps. Make your gift today! Donate online or mail your gift to: Beacon Institute, 199 Main St., Beacon, NY 12508. Your tax-deductible gift helps us: • Deploy more sensors for real-time monitoring of the Hudson and beyond; • Reach more teachers and students with exciting, hands-on learning that brings environmental science to life; • Provide more scientific data to inform policy and decision-making about water management; and

tom moore

tom moore

Lynda Shenkman-Curtis


Center for Environmental Innovation & Education (CEIE) 199 Dennings Ave., Beacon, NY Award-winning “green” education facility and Visitor Center, on the Hudson at Denning’s Point, near Dia museum and Metro North Beacon train station. Events, environmental walks and exhibits. Upper Hudson Administrative Offices 225 River St., Troy, NY Administrative offices for Upper Hudson Research Center, part of Troy’s waterfront revitalization.

• Protect our rivers for the next generation and beyond.

Top Right: Guest enjoy the CEIE “Picnic in the Park.”

Thank you again for your generous support of Beacon Institute.

Above: Preparing for a mobile monitoring research cruise.

Staff John Cronin Director and Chief Executive Officer

James S. Bonner, Ph.D., P.E. REON Director of Research

Regan Coover-Chichester Senior Project Manager

Linda DeCrescenzo Project Assistant

Kari Di Loreto Receptionist/Docent

Brigid Driscoll, Ph.D. Program Manager

Josie Gray Senior Development Officer

Shirley Hamilton Hartman Chief Development Officer

Michael Heintzman Public Outreach Coordinator

Courtland Herbert Facilities Manager

Jim Heron Project Historian

Kathleen M. Hickey Chief Communications Officer

Liesl Hotaling Chief Education Officer

Mohammad Shahidul Islam, Ph.D. REON Project Manager

Carol Jarvis Docent

Randy Lashua Administrative Assistant/Docent

William P. Leitch III Project Director Upper Hudson Research Center

Jo Merchant Office Manager

Marc Moran Chief Operating Officer

Terry Platz Docent

Claudette Thornton Deputy Director of Development

Danielle Ward Docent

199 Main Street Beacon, NY 12508 845.838.1600 fax: 845.838.6613 225 River Street Troy, NY 12180 518.273.3215 fax: 518.273.3218

Beacon Institute Annual Report 2008-09  

Beacon Institute Annual Report 2008-2009