After hearing about this on the news today I decided to do some further research. DEP is working in partnership with Biohabitats, HydroQual and the University of Arkansas, to pilot this project which involves converting algae into biofuel. The cost of the project is $387,000. It involves running treated wastewater through the algal turf scrubber (mechanical device) which is built at the Rockaway Wastewater Treatment Plant, located in Queens.

The wastewater which is run through the machine contains phosphorous and nitrogen which are the two main primary sources of nutrients enabling plant growth. Through the process of photosynthesis, algae begins to grow on the algal turf scrubber, which is later harvested and made into butanol (high quality fuel).

At 10 to 14 day intervals, the algae is removed using wet/dry vacuums. This is needed because algae has a high water content and the removal system allows for easy separation of the algae from the water. The algae is then sent to the chemical engineering department at the University of Arkansas, where it is converted to biofuel, which can be used as an alternative to gasoline.

The algae biofuel project is part of the Jamaica Bay Watershed Protection Plan. Last month, DEP released an updated version of the plan, which shows the progress DEP is making on its goals to protect one of the most bountiful wildlife habitats in the Northeastern United States and tracks initiatives including wastewater treatment plant upgrades, oyster and eelgrass pilot restoration projects, a wetlands restoration.

This is one of the ways they are trying to think outside the box when it comes to going green.



Rivers Alive! is the outgrowth of the collaboration between Al Landzberg, a sculptor, and Anthony Walmsley, a landscape architect. Landzberg’s model for a previous interactive environmental artwork, “Sky River”, was exhibited in White Plains, NY and Bronxville, NY in 2005-06 and reviewed in the New York Times. Like Rivers Alive! it was focused on the intersection of the water and the sky. Clean-up of the Hudson River and adjoining waterways has driven a great interest in the rivers and provided a compelling reason for interactive environmental artwork that could provide direct public access to the water.


– To provide full public access to the waters of the East River on Pier 13 at Wall Street.

– To create a center for active waterfront recreation and education on Pier 13 for residents, workers, and visitors.

– To elevate the history of Lower Manhattan with a site- specific artwork that evokes its majestic suspension

bridges, glorious skyscrapers and regal tall ships.

Rivers Alive is working with Community Board#1, the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development to advance the Rivers Alive! project. The support of people from all walks of life in Lower Manhattan, as well as community groups is required for a start on the road to recognition, acceptance, advocacy and realization. Various fund raising alternatives will be explored in order to find a way to realize the mission. Current efforts are focused on establishing partnerships with existing Not-For-Profits and finding corporate sponsors.

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Final project proposal

November 21, 2010

Storm Surge Barriers

New York is considered to be one of the most vulnerable cities to be exposed to coastal flooding this century.

By the 2070s, the total population at risk could grow to around 150 million people worldwide, in my final project I will discuss the combined effects of climate change (sea level rise and increased storminess), subsidence, population growth and urbanisation in detail, and what attempts have been made to protect the coastline.

Not only will the metropolitan area of New York City be affected by sea level rise over the coming century, it is already at risk of flooding from catastrophic storms. Port facilities, major transportation infrastructure, coastal communities, and high rise commercial and residential real estate are all subject to the effects of extreme winds and flooding, and the flood risk will only increase in the future as sea levels rise due to the effects of global climate change.

I will present the final project in report format, the report will include various visuals to make the project clear and informative.

West Point

November 11, 2010

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November 2, 2010


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The name derives from a Native American word (roughly U-puku-ipi-sing), meaning “the reed covered lodge by the little-water place,” referring to a spring or stream feeding into the Hudson River, south of the present downtown area. Poughkeepsie is known as “The Queen City of the Hudson.” During the late 1980s through the late 1990s, Poughkeepsie suffered from severe socioeconomic turmoil, serving as a symbol for urban decay in the Hudson Valley. Recent efforts at waterfront and Main Street revitalization poise Poughkeepsie for a potential upswing. Early on, Poughkeepsie was also a major center for whale rendering, and during the 19th century industry flourished through shipping, hatteries, papermills and several breweries along the Hudson River. The first house was buil tin 1702, and the city was chartered in 1854. Due to the area’s natural beauty and proximity to New York City, families such as the Astors, Rogers and Vanderbilt built palatial weekend homes nearby. The city is also home to the oldest continuously operating entertainment venue in the state, the Bardavon 1869 Opera House.

Environmental issues

An Iroquois natural gas pipeline scheduled to be built running through Poughkeepsie by 2014. Still not passed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the state Department of Environmental Conservation.  In 1991 one was built in Waddington to South Commack Long Island, construction was controversial, company paid more than 22 million in fines bc of damage to wetlands and safety hazards around the pipes. Two superfund sites in Poughkeepsie : Haviland Complex 1984 – two Haviland Complex water supply wells serving about 2,000 people have been contaminated with Trichloroethylene, Perchloroethylene, Vinyl Chloride, chlorobenzenes, and other volatile organic chemicals, according to tests conducted by the county. And Jones Sanitation 1987- industrial liquid wastes and sludges generated by Alfa-Laval (formerly DeLaval Separator Co. of Poughkeepsie), a manufacturer of mechanical separating equipment, were accepted. These materials consisted primarily of oils and greases but also included acids, alkalies, solvents, metals from plating operations, pigments, PHENOL, METHYLENE CHLORIDE, CHLOROFORM, TRICHLOROETHYLENE, and NAPTHALENE. About 77,500 gallons per month of liquid industrial waste from Alfa-Laval were disposed of at the site between 1972 and 1979, according to a report prepared by an Alfa-Laval consultant. The site now disposes only of septic waste collected by commercial firms. Unfenced. `Diesel Soot seems to be a huge problem in Dutchess County. IBM has a large campus in Poughkeepsie, once referred to as IBM’s “Main Plant”.The area is home to several colleges: Marist, Vassar (one of the Seven Sisters), The Culinary Institute of America, and Duchess Community, all of which are in the Town of Poughkeepsie.

Poughkeepsie Economic Outlook


  • Solid migration from New York City puts a floor under population growth.
  • Large education and healthcare presence limits employment volatility.
  • Business costs are low for the region.


  • Few high-paying jobs outside of manufacturing.
  • Above-average cost of living combined with below-average income.

Poughkeepsie Demographics

Population 42,777
Male 20,479
Female 22,298
Married 34,646
Single 10,304
Separated 996
Widowed 2,165
Divorced 2,160
Number of Households 14,605
Avg Household Size 2.57
Avg Family Size 3.10
Median Age 34.80
Median Household Income $55,327
Average Household Income $14,595
Per Capita Income $23,589
White Collar Jobs 16,592
Blue Collar Jobs 19,597
Employed 20,105
Unemployed 2,049

Poughkeepsie Income & Jobs

$0-10,000 30
$10,000 – $14,999 627
$15,000 – $24,999 1,234
$25,000 – $34,999 1,519
$35,000 – $49,999 2,250
$50,000 – $74,999 3,339
$75,000 – $99,999 2,316
$100,000 – $149,999 1,765
$150,000 – $199,999 380
Over $200,000 350

Poughkeepsie Ethnicity Statistics

White 36,203
African American 3,771
Hispanic or Latino 2,254
Asian 2,449
American Indian or Alaska Native 210
Hawaiian / Pacific Islander 43
Other 1,030

Poughkeepsie Crime

Population 30,436
Violent Crime 417
Murder and Nonnegligent Manslaughter 4
Forcible Rape 13
Robbery 173
Aggravated Assault 227
Robbery 173
Property Crime 1,122
Burglary 242
Larceny-theft 792
Arson 4

Kindred Spirits (1849) is a painting by the Hudson River School painter Asher Durand. It depicts the previously deceased painter Thomas Cole and his friend poet William Cullen Bryant in the Catskill Mountains.

Kindred Spirits is regarded as a defining work of the Hudson River School. Although painted in the detailed and realistic style that Durand championed for the American landscape school, the painting’s idealized composition brings together several sites, including the Clove of the Catskills and Kaaterskill Falls, in a way that is not geographically possible. This shows that the main purpose of the painting was intended to pay tribute to American nature and to the two men who had celebrated its special beauties together. Durand’s Kindred Spirits paid homage first and foremost to Cole’s ability as a painter of American wild scenery.

By looking at the painting it becomes evident that Durands intention was to remember these men by showing the environment they enjoyed to be in most, nature at its finest. Surrounded by blossoming plants and sunshine making everything appear bright and enjoyable.

The painting was commissioned by New York art collector Jonathan Sturges as a gift to Bryant in appreciation of his eulogy of Coles. Its title was inspired by John Keats’ “Sonnet to Solitude”. Bryant’s daughter Julia donated the painting to the New York Public Library in 1904. In 2005, it was sold at auction to Walmart heiress Alice Walton for $35 million, a record for a painting by an American artist.

Benedict Arnold

October 10, 2010

Born: 14 January 1741

Birthplace: Norwich, Connecticut

Died: 14 June 1801

Best Known As: The great traitor of the American Revolution

Although he fought with skill and courage in many campaigns during the American Revolution, General Benedict Arnold (1741-1801) is best known as the man who betrayed his country.

Benedict Arnold, was born in Norwich, Connecticut on January 14, 1741. He was an American Revolutionary general and Americas most infamous traitor.

At the age of 14, Arnold worked as an apprentice in a pharmacy, but left twice to serve in the colonial militia during the French and Indian War (1754-63).

As soon as the American revolution broke out, Arnold marched his Connecticut militia to Massachusetts, where he was made a Colonel. His force along with Ethan Allen’s Green Mountain Boys, captured Ticonderoga on May 10 1775.

Arnold then led a force of 1,100 Men through Main in the Winter to invade Canada. His march remains a military classic. The attack on Quebec turned out to be unsuccessful, and Arnold was severely wounded. For his courage he was promoted to brigadier general in January 1776.

Before his defection, Arnold had a brilliant career in the Continental Army. In October 1776 he fought a series of naval battles on Lake Champlain, that helped delay a British invasion from Canada.

He particularly distinguished himself during the second Battle of Saratoga on October 7th, in which he led a headlong charge, and make the British surrender. One of his soldiers called Arnold “as brave a man as ever lived”.

He suffered many disappointments that embittered him. Arnold was accused of overstepping his authority. His second marriage in 1779 to Margaret Shippen, the daughter of a Loyalist, also aroused suspicion. His bitterness, along with the need of money to pay heavy debts, led Arnold to negotiate with the British. In July 1780, he sought and obtained command on West Point in order to surrender it to the British.

Arnold’s scheme was exposed when American forces captured British Major Jhon Andre carrying papers that revealed the plot. Upon learning of André’s capture, Arnold fled down the Hudson River to the British sloop-of-war Vulture, narrowly avoiding capture by the forces of George Washington, who had been alerted to the plot. Arnold received a commission as a brigadier general in the British Army an annual pension of £360, and a lump sum of over £6,000.  In the winter of 1782, Arnold moved to London with his second wife.

He was well received by King George III and the Tories but frowned upon by the Whigs. Worn by depression and suffering from a nervous disease, he died in London on June 14th, 180.

**To view a video of Benedict Arnold visit:

BY: David + Carla

The Lenape Tribe

October 3, 2010

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While visiting The Museum of  the American Indian I concentrated on finding out about the Lenape tribe and getting to know their culture.

 In 1524, Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazano was the first European to discover the Lenape. In 1609, Henry Hudson claimed much of their land. The Lenape lived in the area called  Lenapehoking, around the Delaware and lower Hudson River.

The Lenape believed in one God, making it easier for them to grasp the concept of Christianity when the Europeans came. They respected the earth they lived on and thrived off of, and had various ceremonies centred on the growth and harvest of their crops.  Corn and Deer were the main constituents of their daily meals.

Labour was divided equally between Men and Women. Men were in charge of crafting tools, building housing, hunting and fishing and helping with raising the children. The Women were in charge of preparing and decorating animal skins, cooking, and raising the children.

Families were relatively small, with an average of  2-3 children. Because resources were low and time was of the essence, the females drank a special tea every morning which lowered hormonal chemicals in the body, making them less fertile. The children were a loud to enjoy their childhood by playing and learning and were not forced to work at a young age.

In 1609, Henry Hudson claimed much of the Lenapes land in the name of Holland. In 1626 the Lenape sold Manahatta to Peter Minuit, director of the Dutchsettlement, for sixty guilders ( $24 ).

The Lenape population dropped rapidly because of various infectious diseases brought in by the Europeans, for example; smallpox, measles and diphtheria. Starting in the 1620’s the Dutch were able to settle west of the Hudson, meaning the Lenape were forced to sell their land and move to areas in Wisconsin, Oklahoma and Ontario.

After reading about several species of plants and animals which live in the Hudson River, I became interested in some of the invasive Species which have been introduced from foreign countries, having harmful effects on the local environment. The northern snakehead is an invasive fish native to China, Russia and Korea. They were illegally imported into the US for 2 reasons:  1) to be used as local food source 2) to be used as freshwater aquarium fish, as soon as they go too large owners eventually released them. Combining the northern snakehead’s adaptability, carnivorous appetite, ability to move over land, capability to breed quickly and have a lack of natural enemies, you end up with a real threat to indigenous species that live in these water ways.

The snakehead fish is very different compared to other fish. They look similar to eels when looking at their body, and they can grow to around 4 feet.  They have the ability to breathe air, and travel short distances on land to nearby sources of water. It got its name because of its stereotypically flat, snake-like head and toothed mouth. They feed voraciously, primarily on other fish but also eat frogs, crayfish and aquatic insects. They are able to inhabit any lakes and streams and are able to live in a wide range of oxygen levels.

Two populations of Snakehead fish have been found in New York State: one in two connected ponds in Queens and one in Ridgebury Lake. Even though the Queens population is confined, the Ridgebury population, situated in the Wallkill River drainage, could easily infest the entire Hudson River drainage.

 In 2002, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service added snakeheads to the list of “injurious fish.” This means that snakeheads are prohibited from being imported into the US. Several states prohibit the possession of live snakeheads, but there is still a large amount of illegal activities reported. They can also be bought over the internet.

For the time being the DEC has been able to stop the spread of the Northern Snakehead in  Ridgbury Lake by the use of the pesticide rotenone. The native fish were removed prior to adding the pesticide and released back into the lake, as soon as water levels were no longer harmful.

Even though the threat has been momentarily contained, this does not mean that it is over, locals need to keep in mind that if one of these fish is caught, it needs to be documented and destroyed. The Hudson River is under serious threat of this vicious Species entering its waterways. Where there is one there are likely to be many more…