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SUNY Plattsburgh LCRI Research Vessel Damaged in Nor'easter

RV MonitorPLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (Oct. 20, 2010) – The Lake Champlain Research Institute’s most important watercraft appears to have sustained significant damage in last Friday’s Nor’easter.

The RV Monitor, which was tied to a dock at SUNY Plattsburgh’s Valcour Conference Center, is now aground in four to five feet of water.

“This is truly a big loss for the Lake Champlain Research Institute,” said Tim Mihuc, director of SUNY Plattsburgh’s LCRI. “This vessel has served numerous research projects and literally hundreds of students, who’ve had an opportunity to get on Lake Champlain and participate in hands-on scientific research.”

The 32-foot, six-ton boat has a hydraulic system with a research boom capable of operating large sampling equipment. It originally cost around $120,000, but, according to Mihuc, its value to scientific research on Lake Champlain extends far beyond that initial price tag.

The RV Monitor has been used to do environmental studies for organizations like the GTE Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the federal Environmental Protection Agency. Projects have included research on blue-green algae and water quality.

In addition, SUNY Plattsburgh classes, like the freshwater ecology class, have made extensive use of the craft.

Mihuc believes it will take at least a month to fully assess the damage. First, the boat must be raised from the water. Then, the engine must be cleaned and dried to prevent rust. After that, all systems will need to be tested.

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