Monitoring and Protecting the St. Regis Chain of Lakes

Monitoring Fish Communities

Our Fisheries and Wildlife students gain direct experience in standardized lake survey techniques, data collection and analyses as part of an ongoing fish community study of Lower St. Regis Lake. The lake provides students with an on-site case study of the effects of historical changes to water quality, water-level management, shoreline habitat, and ways in which fish communities can be used to monitor improvements in water quality. Students learn how to characterize fish populations, monitor community trends, quantify fish diets, and assess shoreline habitat. The skills learned are transferable to other lake study scenarios. Students performing regular fisheries surveys on Lower St. Regis directly contribute to a long-term fisheries database, and learn the ecological value of long-term data when assessing uncertainty and change.

Nearly 50 Years of Limnology Research

Paul Smith’s College takes full advantage of its unique location on the shores of the 1,440-acre St. Regis Chain of Lakes. Faculty and students at PSC have been investigating the limnology of the lakes since 1971, representing one of the farthest-reaching aquatic datasets in the region. Faculty such as Corey Laxson and students address questions related to physical processes, biological interaction, and land use impacts on water quality. Each fall semester, students enrolled in Limnology contribute to the 45 year dataset by collecting field data, performing chemical analysis on the samples, and disseminating the results to their peers.

Protecting Our Watersheds

The Adirondack Watershed Institute at Paul Smith’s College is a water quality monitoring and invasive species management program that enables students to participate in meaningful projects and graduate-level research.

Aquatic Invasive Species – identified as non-native aquatic plants, animals, and microorganisms in water bodies – are serious threats to the Adirondack Park. The AWI is a nationally-recognized team that leads the way in managing invasives throughout the region. Students involved in the program may find themselves out on the waterways scanning for emerging problems, responding rapidly to eradicate reported invasives, or joining the ranks of our Watershed Stewards to sanitize watercraft and conduct citizen-awareness efforts.

We also conduct a combination of fundamental and applied research, with all of our efforts rooted in practical needs for science to inform and support policies and management to conserve and protect our natural resources. By involving Paul Smith’s College students in all aspects of the research process – just as graduate students are involved at other institutions – the AWI enables students to present their work at conferences and co-author publications.