Clearwater Receives ‘Vassar, Good Neighbor Grant’ To Teach Students How to Manage Urban Stormwater

BEACON, NY– Hudson River Sloop Clearwater has been awarded $15,000 to continue a collaborative “Neighborhood Storm Water Project” in Poughkeepsie with Nubian Directions, Greenway Environmental Services, in partnership with the Vassar student body and community.  Clearwater is committed to protecting tributaries connected to the Hudson River, including the Fall Kill Creek in Poughkeepsie, and works to develop watershed awareness and stewardship training in under-resourced communities.  ‘The Frances D. Ferguson Good Neighbors Partnerships’ will fund this three-year project.

Over the course of the next three years, project participants, which include Nubian’s YouthBuild AmeriCorps Partnership program, Vassar and Dutchess Community College students, will create an on-site stormwater management system at 206 Winnikee Avenue; plan, design and implement a stormwater project for the 23 Hooker Avenue site; and install several stormwater projects for residents in the neighboring community.  Large amounts of rainwater or melting snow can wash sediment and pollutants into the City’s stormwater treatment plant causing it to overflow and allow raw sewage into the Hudson River.  A stormwater management system routes stormwater from the roof and paved driveway to a bioswale and a bioretention basin – landscaped areas that retain and treat the runoff before it enters waterways, preventing it from entering Poughkeepsie’s overburdened storm sewer.


The project for 2016 is to direct stormwater from the two-story house on Winnikee Avenue, which  YouthBuild AmeriCorps students renovated for energy efficiency last year, into the very productive rain garden that is part of a model Green Infrastructure (GI) stormwater management system at the Nubian Directions’ Training Center.  The GI system, which was also constructed last year, will be enhanced by the installation of a dome-shaped greenhouse this spring, which will extend the growing season for the garden.  Greenway Environmental Services will mentor the YouthBuild and Vassar students for design and construction of the greenhouse, and Clearwater will provide the educational component as background to the construction project.  There will be at least two more construction projects next year and the following year as part of the Vassar Good Neighbors Grant.


Students will attend workshops on watershed awareness, green stormwater infrastructure, water pollution prevention and clean-up, the American glass eel migration from the Sargasso Sea to the Hudson River, and take tours of Poughkeepsie’s water and wastewater treatment plants and other green infrastructure projects.


In addition to Clearwater’s Environmental Action work, during the sailing season, sloop Clearwater  serves the Hudson River with unique education programs where the focus is experiential.  Students come aboard to learn about Hudson River ecology, history and navigation.

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