Checking the health of a river is no easy feat. However, people researching the Hudson River in New York will soon be able to detect when fish are migrating, when parasites are present and when it’s safe for the power plant to collect water to cool its generators.

In an unlikely partnership, the Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries is working with IBM to build a research center and install sensors along the river. The sensors will collect information and help people who rely on the river to make environmentally responsible decisions. We read in an article in The New York Times that participants are hoping that similar projects can be implemented in other areas of the world, and that the project will inspire young people: Ms. Nunes called the application of advanced technology in solving environmental problems like those in the Hudson “the new moon race,” saying it would entice young people to study physics and engineering, the same way the space program did in the 1960s.

Maybe the next generation of students can blend space exploration of the past with the environment movement of the present. Then they can launch that gigantic sun umbrella people have been getting all excited about.

Story by Susan Cosier. This article originally appeared in Plenty in August 2007.

Copyright Environ Press 2007