NEW PALTZ – This past year the Center for Research, Regional Education and Outreach (CRREO) at SUNY New Paltz undertook a wide-ranging project to improve watershed resiliency in the Saw Mill Brook, a tributary of the Wallkill River in the Hudson River estuary watershed. SUNY New Paltz students, faculty, and staff from a variety of disciplines and departments will present their work related to this project on Tuesday, Dec. 11, from 2-4:30 p.m. in Lecture Center 100, at a symposium organized by CRREO.
The project, “Planning and Implementing Green Infrastructure to Improve Watershed Resiliency in the Saw Mill Brook Watershed and Village of New Paltz,” seeks to improve water quality in the Saw Mill Brook, while improving resiliency to climate change and providing environmental education opportunities. Collaborative partners in this effort include the New York State Water Resources Institute at Cornell University, the NYS DEC Hudson River Estuary Program, and the Village of New Paltz.
A variety of green infrastructure practices, designed to allow rainwater to slowly soak into the ground, were installed across the New Paltz campus to treat stormwater runoff that was polluting the stream and contributing to flooding. These include a permeable pavement expansion of the college’s largest parking lot, vegetated swales adjacent to residence halls, enhanced bioretention areas and rain gardens at one of the most heavily traversed locations on campus, a rain harvesting system in the Wooster Science Building, and stream daylighting to decrease the impact of northern campus stormwater runoff into the village.
Biology Professor David Richardson is leading a faculty-student research team monitoring water quality, establishing baseline data, and ongoing measurement processes of progress toward achieving water quality goals in the Saw Mill Brook. This semester, faculty from each of New Paltz’s five schools – Fine & Performing Arts, Education, Liberal Arts & Sciences, Business, Science & Engineering – are integrating this project into their courses as part of an interdisciplinary, cross-course collaboration with a focus on water.
The symposium agenda includes:
- Student/Faculty Research Projects/Poster Session from 2-3 p.m. in the Lecture Center Lobby
- KT Tobin, associate director of CRREO, and Emily Vail, of the NYS DEC Hudson River Estuary Program, will provide history and an overview from 3–3:30 p.m.
- Faculty and Administrator Panel and Q & A from 3:30-4:30 p.m.
This project is a partnership with the NYS Water Resources Institute and the NYS DEC Hudson River Estuary Program, with support from the NYS Environmental Protection Fund. For more information regarding the Estuary Watershed Resilience Project, visit http://blogs.cornell.edu/estuaryresilience/.
CRREO was established in 2007 to further engage SUNY New Paltz and its people with communities, governments, not-for-profits, and businesses across our region. CRREO conducts and publicizes research on regional topics; creates and directs select institutes focusing on specific topics of regional interest; connects and partners with local governments, not-for-profits, and businesses to initiate reforms and advocate for best practices; contracts to assess the performance of public and not-for-profit agencies and programs; and works to foster intergovernmental collaboration and community engagement.