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A delegation from the Chinese Ministry of Water visited the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association last week. Twenty officials arrived with a translator at the Watershed Center for Environmental Advocacy, Science and Education to tour the facilities and learn about the innovative technologies deployed at the center.

The tour included a close look at stormwater runoff, which can be an overlooked source of pollution and a contributor to flooding and, if properly managed, stormwater can provide an opportunity for water recycling and groundwater recharging. Guests asked questions about how the Watershed Association collects and reuses stormwater at the Watershed Center with particular interest in the green roof design. The rain gardens surrounding the building were still wet from an evening’s rain and the delegates had the opportunity to see how the property distributes runoff.

After a presentation from Watershed Executive Director, Jim Waltman, the group talked actively about impervious surfaces, soil composition, and natural water filtration.  The Watershed Association presented and exchanged gifts with the delegates as they completed their tour.

“There was some trouble translating what it means to have a ‘green lawn’ here in America. Our yards here are often treated with chemical pesticides and fertilizers — a major source of runoff pollution,” said Waltman. “It is important to know that the world pollutes in a variety of ways. I hope they never have to worry about pollution from artificially green lawns in China.”

The Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association offers tours and education programs geared around the innovative features of the new Watershed Center.  To learn more, visit the Watershed Center for yourself: Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm and Saturdays, 10am-4pm or online at www.thewatershed.org.

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