Paul Smith's-Adirondack Watershed Institute

Grant Name: AWI

Project Size: [1] $500,000, 2012; [2] $151,270, 2018; [3] $37,114, 2019; [4] $79,306, 2019

Grant Amount: [1] $250,000, 2012; [2] $30,000, 2018 [3] $8,000, 2019; [4] $15,000, 2019

Strategic Value:   The Foundation’s first grant was to match funds donated by then-active Paul Smith’s Trustees to endow the Chair of the Director of the Watershed Institute.  We observed that the Institute dis not appear in almost any Paul Smith’s literature, on its website, or in its catalogue.  The intent of that grant was to make the Trustees aware of the gem in their midst, and by bringing to light help it expand its mission and reach. 

The second grant was for a High-Pressure Ion Chromatography System to add capability to test another class of analytes, organic compounds found in nature and potentially modified by road salting to produce known regulated carcinogens (haloacetic acids).

The third grant was to test for sodium and chloride in well water and to map any contamination to proximity to salted road surfaces.

The fourth grant was to extend the results of the third grant to see if heavy metals were leached by excessive levels of chloride or sodium in the drinking water of affected residences.

About PSAWI: PSAWI is a program established by Paul Smith’s College in 2003. Its mission is to create new knowledge about terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, provide environmental job opportunities and experiences to students, and to engage the Adirondack Community in ways that conserve and protect our water resources. PSAWI has grown from a small program with mainly local influence into a large program with significant regional influence. With support from many partners we have

PSAWI has created and disseminated important new knowledge about human impacts on the environment, provided jobs to over 500 college students, and has played a lead role in regional efforts to protect Adirondack waters from invasive species. With respect to human impacts, the most notable work has been regarding the effects of road salt on lakes and streams ands efforts to reduce the effects of salting on the environment. It is an example of the research philosophy and focus on conducting work that illuminates and helps solve real problems facing the Adirondacks.