Norrie Point Environmental Center and Omega Center for Sustainable Living

This Monday, we visited Norrie Point Environmental Center. The center is in the Mills-Norrie State Parkin Staatsburg, NY. Chris Bowser, who works at the center, greeted us and taught us about the fish of the Hudson. He even passed around a small dead sturgeon-sicle and a jar of live baby eels. The tiny eels are born in the Atlantic Ocean and then make their way up to estuaries in North America to live until they are old enough to go lay eggs in the Atlantic Ocean. Bowser is doing research on these eels as a part of a larger study of the eels in the Hudson River which can be read about here: http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/49580.html

After that we all put on waders and did some seining in the Hudson. Seining is when a pair of people stretch a large net between them with small weights at the bottom and floats at the top and walk out into the water with it. By dragging the net through the water we caught several different fish. Then Chris gave us all fish and books with which to identify them. We caught a hogchoker, a green sunfish, a bluegill sunfish, and some zebra mussels. After talking about the fish we caught it was time to go the Omega Center.

Omega Center.

Omega Center.

The Omega Center focuses on sustainable living. While there we were given a tour of their waste water treatment system. The system uses the pressure head of the water and the force of gravity to move the campus waste water from thetanks that control the rate of flow so it is constant and the system is not overwhelmed.

Then the water goes into a gas capture chamber that removes any gases that are coming off the water. After that the water goes through a large open outdoor tank with lots of gravel and wetland plants growing in it. This step uses microorganisms to reduce the amount of nitrogen and other components in the water.

The water is then pumped to the indoor lagoon where tall plants growing on a layer of metal wiring in a tank of water pulls off extra nutrients. Lastly the water is put through a sand filter to take out the last particulates and dispersed under the grass parking lot. The tour ended in a conference room where we could ask questions of the CEO of the Omega Center.