PHILADELPHIA, PA — On Wednesday, September 21, Eldred, NY resident and Columbia University professor emeritus Peter Kolesar will receive a lifetime achievement award from the Water Resources …
PHILADELPHIA, PA — On Wednesday, September 21, Eldred, NY resident and Columbia University professor emeritus Peter Kolesar will receive a lifetime achievement award from the Water Resources Association of the Delaware River Basin (WRA). The group promotes the science-based management of water resources within the Delaware River Basin.
Kolesar was recognized for his work in designing and improving the Flexible Flow Management Program. The program guides the releases of water into the river from New York City’s reservoirs.
Previously, flow management was calculated based on worst-case scenarios that translated into less water released. This shortchanged the environment and the fishery. Instead, Kolesar calculated releases using statistical models based on water usage and availability. Later work focused on additional cold-water releases timed to protect wild trout during summer heat waves.
The main goal of his work, according to the letter that nominated him, was to “enhance the aquatic environment of the upper river to better support its wild trout fishery without negatively impacting either the reliability of the water supply to New York City or the interests of other… stakeholders.”
The WRA called the work “a fundamental component to the sustainable allocation of Delaware River water resources.”
“This research has been carried out over a span of more than 17 years, with the initial algorithm implemented in 2007, and the latest component, a procedure for mitigating thermal episodes in the river, implemented in 2019,” Kolesar wrote in an email. “In addition to the analytic difficulties, the challenges of securing unanimous approval for the policy changes from the four states of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware [and in] New York City, despite their at times conflicting interests, were formidable.”
Kolesar and the other award recipients “are an inspiration for their leadership, vision, and scientifically credible work to enhance the long-term sustainability of the Delaware River Basin,” said Skelly Holmbeck, WRA executive director.
The WRA annual recognition dinner will be held on September 21 at the Fairmount Water Works. For more information, visit wradrb.org/calendar.php.
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