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Hudson River Climate Resilience Case Studies

Kingston Waterfront Flooding Task Force

The Challenge: Protect Kingston's Downtown Waterfront from Flooding

Aerial photo of the flooded Kingston downtown waterfront
Flood damage to the Kingston waterfront from Hurricane Irene,
and from subsequent storms have cost Kington millions
of dollars. (Photo Credit: HRNERR)

Kingston's historic downtown waterfront, businesses and wastewater treatment plant are located along the Hudson River and Rondout Creek. Sea-level rise-along with more frequent and severe floods-are causing costly damage.

  • Damage from Hurricane Sandy: $2.3 million
  • Property owners in flood-risk areas will see large increases in flood insurance rates
  • Projected cumulative property damage by 2100: Tens of millions of dollars

The Kingston Waterfront Task Force
The Task Force was formed in 2012 to help develop a more resilient waterfront. The objectives were to:

  • Engage the community in developing a vision and recommendations for a more resilient waterfront
  • Pilot tools to assess risks and vulnerabilities
  • Evaluate adaptation strategies
  • Analyze the costs and benefits of selected strategies
  • Recommend general and neighborhood-specific strategies to reduce flood damage
    The Task Force met for eight months and was guided by a planning team that included the Hudson River Estuary Program.

Flood Adaptation Tools Used by the Task Force

Scenic Hudson's Sea-Level Rise Mapper
The Sea Level Rise Mapper helps communities see future areas of flooding and permanent inundation due to sea level rise. To use this mapper, please see the "Sea Level Rise Mapper" link found on the right-hand column.

Coastal Adaptation to Sea Level Rise (COAST)
COAST is a sophisticated economic analysis tool that allows for visualizations of the costs of flood damage under different scenarios. DEC's Hudson River Estuary Program funded the use of the COAST tool.

Aerial photo of the Kingston riverfront with shading showing projected damages from storms and sea-level rise
This image shows the projected relative damages from a 100-year
storm in 2060, using sea level rise figures chosen by the Task
Force. Note flooding extent (light blue), lots permanently
inundated by sea level rise (brown), and lots damaged by the
storm (dark blue).Image created by Catalysis Adaptation
Partners using COAST.

The Task Force's Final Report and Future Steps

The Kingston Task Force's final report was released in September 2013. Recommendations were made for the near term (0 - 5 years) and longer term (5+ years) in these categories:

  • City operations, funding and decision-making
  • Resilient structures
  • Promotion of a waterfront economy and economic revitalization
  • Collaboration and public outreach
  • Emergency management

In addition, site-based recommendations examined each stretch of the city's waterfront and considered:

  • Where shoreline protection may be needed
  • Where natural shorelines and innovative architecture might be combined to create resilient neighborhoods
  • Where wetlands and high water should be allowed to migrate inland to safeguard the natural resources of the Hudson

The Hudson River Estuary Program will continue to provide technical assistance to Kingston's efforts to implement the Task Force's recommendations and create a safer flood-resilient waterfront. Kingston is now well-positioned to apply for funding from state and federal sources. To view the entire report, click on the "Kingston Task Force Final Report" link found on the right-hand column.