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Connecting the Drops Factsheets

Connecting the Drops logoConnecting the Drops ~ The New York State Thruway Authority and Canal Corporation:
Working with You to Protect Clean Water

The Connecting the Drops Campaign —
Connecting the Drops is a public outreach campaign of the New York State Thruway and Canal Corporation (NYSTA/NYSCC). The goal of this outreach is to remind New Yorkers that water connects us all, and that what is dropped in the environment can reach water bodies and put aquatic life, recreation and even drinking water at risk. The Connect the Drops effort includes educating Authority/Corp. employees, as well as all the motorists and boaters that use the Thruway and Canal Systems.

Why? —
Everyone depends on clean water, and therefore has a responsibility to keep it clean. To protect clean water, an understanding of how pollution can reach the rivers, lakes, and streams within our watershed is needed. The public also needs to know what they can do to prevent pollution, particularly non-point source pollution. The Authority and Corporation are working to prevent pollution from all roads and facilities, and an important part of this effort is education. If the New York public understands the importance of working together to prevent pollution from reaching waterways, this effort can be successful.

Q. What is a watershed?
A. A watershed is an area of land where all the water that falls in it and drains off it goes to the same place. For example, all water in the Hudson River watershed would eventually flow into the Hudson River. The entire Hudson River watershed is 13,400 square miles.

Q. What is the difference between point source and non-point source pollution?
A. Point-source pollution generally comes from the wastewater discharged from the pipes of industrial facilities and municipal sewage treatment plants into rivers, streams, lakes, and the ocean. Non-point source pollution enters the environment from a widespread area that is not clearly defined. Rather than coming from the end of a pipe, non-point source pollution comes from storm runoff (rain, snow) from parking lots, city streets, farmland, even your own yard. It can contain oils, spilled chemicals, pesticides, fertilizers, sewage, or litter.

Q. How does stormwater get contaminated?
A. When water flows through a watershed it can carry any pollution that it picks up along the way. This means that pollution spilled or dropped in a parking lot or on the ground can reach a river or stream some distance away.

Q. How does the NYSTA/NYSCC work to prevent stormwater pollution?
A. A federal regulation requires permits for stormwater discharges from Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s), which includes the New York State Thruway Authority and Canal Corporation (NYSTA/NYSCC). Under this permit, NYSTA/NYSCC is implementing a five-year, system-wide stormwater management program that includes public education and outreach; public participation; detection and elimination of all illicit discharges; construction site runoff control; post-construction runoff control; and pollution prevention. NYSTA/NYSCC is working hard to help protect clean water.


Connecting the Drops logoHudson River Watershed Model

This watershed model of the Hudson River was custom designed to illustrate the water cycle and the importance of preventing pollution of stormwater runoff.

About the model –
The Hudson River Watershed Model provides an interactive learning experience that demonstrates how stormwater runoff can carry pollution to New York’s lakes, rivers and streams. The model illustrates key features of the nearby landscape (including the museum itself!) westward to the Hudson River, and the geologic layers below the surface. The Scientist’s Desk accompanying the model includes ecology tools, an interactive hydrology map and preserved samples of insects, plants, minerals and rocks.

Why?
Everyone depends on clean water, and therefore has a responsibility to keep it clean. In order to protect water, an understanding of the water cycle and how pollution can contaminate rivers, lakes and streams is necessary. The New York State Thruway Authority, and Canal Corporation, are working to prevent pollution from all its roads and facilities. An important part of this effort is education. Educating the public about pollution prevention can help to make this a success.

Who? –
This exhibit was made possible through a partnership between the New York State Thruway Authority and Canal Corporation, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and the Children’s Museum of Science and Technology. The model was designed and constructed by Petraworks, Inc.

Q. What is a watershed?  
A. A watershed is an area of land where all the water that falls in it and drains off it goes to the same place. For example, all water in the Hudson River watershed would eventually flow into the Hudson River. The entire Hudson River watershed is 13,400 square miles.

Q. What is the water cycle?
A. The water cycle is the system by which water moves through the environment. Water is collected and redistributed through several processes: precipitation (rain, snow); infiltration and percolation into soil; transpiration (moved through roots, plants, and into atmosphere); evaporation; and condensation.

Q. What is non-point source pollution?
A. Non-point source pollution enters the environment from a widespread area that is not clearly defined. Rather than coming from the end of a pipe, non-point source pollution comes from storm runoff (rain, snow) from parking lots, industrial areas, even farmland. It can contain oils, spilled chemicals, pesticides, litter and other sources of pollution.

Q. How does the New YorkState Thruway Authority work to prevent stormwater pollution?
A. A federal regulation requires permits for stormwater discharges from Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s), which includes the New York State Thruway Authority and Canal Corporation (NYSTA/NYSCC). Under this permit, NYSTA/NYSCC is implementing a five-year, system-wide stormwater management program that includes public education and outreach; public participation; detection and elimination of all illicit discharges; construction site runoff control; post-construction runoff control; and pollution prevention. NYSTA/NYSCC is working hard to help protect clean water.

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