Nia Rene

Nia Rene
PhD, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Graduate

Cohort Level: Cohort - IV

Career Goal: My goal is to pursue a career in Environmental Science with NOAA's National Center for Coastal Ocean Sciences.

Expected Graduation Date: May 21, 2023

Degree: PhD Earth and Environmental Sciences

Research Title: Tracing Stormwater Related Pollution Impacts on New York City Urban Coastal Waters and Galvanizing Community Understanding and Support of Nature-Based Integrated Water Management

Research Synopsis: As stormwater runoff flows over developed landscapes it mobilizes a variety of pollutants, such as bacterial pathogens and chemical contaminants (ie. Nitrogen), resulting in significant inputs into adjacent coastal waterways. Nitrogen (N) loading to coastal waters can cause a myriad of ecological regime shifts, create anoxic or hypoxic conditions, reduce biodiversity, and induce coastal wildlife mortality amongst other environmental impacts. Stormwater related nitrogen pollution differ from urban to suburban areas of NYC. Sewage, both treated and untreated, is the prevailing nutrient source to coastal waters. During heavy storm events, the Great South Bay (GSB) receives sewage via subsurface groundwater discharge from a suburban watershed while Jamaica Bay (JB) receives untreated sewage via combined sewer overflows (CSO) from an urban watershed. High biomass macroalgal blooms persist in coastal NYC waters which contribute to hypoxia and loss of biodiversity in ecosystems such as the GSB (Dasysiphonia japonica) and JB (Ulva stipitata). The objectives of this study are to trace and quantify stormwater related N entering the GSB and JB, determine the source of N in coastal macroalgal tissue and to probe public perception of coastal water quality and galvanize community participation in nature-based water management.