Climate Change Program for the Hudson River Estuary
Community stakeholders reviewing final Climate-Adaptive Design (CAD) boards at Open House in the Village of Catskill (L. Zemaitis)
The Climate Change Program for the Hudson River Estuary helps communities to adapt to climate change and become more resilient to climate risks. On our page you can find:
- Latest news for climate resilience in the Estuary
- What is climate resilience?
- What are our climate risks in the Hudson River Estuary?
- How can we help your community become more climate resilient?
- Assistance available for climate resilience
- What have other communities done to become more Climate Resilient?
- Sign up for our Climate Resilience in the Hudson River Estuary newsletter
- For further assistance
Latest news for climate resiliency in the Estuary
The Estuary Program, Cornell University and our partners are bringing Climate-Adaptive Design (CAD) studios to flood-prone Hudson Riverfront communities. To learn more, please visit the CAD Program webpage on the right-hand column.
What is Climate Resilience?
Climate resilience means our ability to manage climate risks, respond productively as the climate changes and recover quickly from extreme events. For examples, please visit our page on Hudson River Climate Resilience Case Studies.
What are our Climate Risks in the Hudson River Estuary?
The primary climate risks identified for this region include increased frequency and severity of:
- Flooding, which can impact our waterfront properties and infrastructure
- Heat waves, which can impact human health and agriculture
- Short-term drought, which can impact our food and water supply
Please download our climate fact sheet (PDF) (191 KB) for an overview of climate change in the Hudson Valley and what you can do to help. If you are a municipality, please download our more detailed climate summary for communities (PDF) (1.64 MB). You can also download our one-page overview of the latest climate projections for the Hudson Valley (PDF) (347 KB).
Assistance Available for Climate Resilience
High school students measure projected sea level rise at Marist
College (C. Bowser).
The Hudson River Estuary Program and our partners provide multiple opportunities for communities to receive assistance in improving their climate resilience by supporting our natural life support systems, like floodplains, forests and wetlands, in the valley. For example:
- Climate Smart Communities
- Grants Relating to Climate Resilience
- Climate Resilience in Estuary Newsletter
- Green and Natural Infrastructure to Manage Stormwater
- Natural and Nature-based Solutions to Manage Shoreline Erosion and Flooding
- Hudson River Sustainable Shorelines
- Trees for Tribs
- Rightsizing Culverts
- Watershed Resiliency Project
Is your community a Climate Smart Community?
You can check by visiting the List of Climate Smart Communities. If it is, you have access to valuable technical assistance and more opportunities to save money, reduce greenhouse gases, and become climate resilient. If not, your community can take the pledge and start taking action now. Climate Smart Communities now has a certification program to recognize climate leaders. The program's guidance outlines over 100 of the most important actions communities can take to become Climate Smart.
Grants Relating to Climate Resilience
To check for available funding, please see the DEC's grants page, the Estuary Program's grants page and the Estuary Program's main page for our latest RFPs. Sign up for our newsletter to receive alerts about the latest funding opportunities. You can download our fact sheet on financing waterfront resilience (PDF) (654 KB) for an overview of standard state and federal resources.
Green and Natural Infrastructure to Manage Stormwater
There are "green" alternatives to traditional "gray" infrastructure that are designed to mimic the natural processes that store and treat storm water runoff. Green stormwater infrastructure can help communities reduce water pollution and the effects of flooding under a changing climate. These systems provide a variety of benefits, including helping communities reduce energy use, improve air and water quality, increase property values, and provide wildlife habitat. Please visit our page on Green Infrastructure Examples for Stormwater Management in the Hudson Valley for more information. We are also working on a cost-benefit tool to allow decision makers to weigh the financial value of green infrastructure techniques, like permeable pavement. More details to come.
Creating a Natural Resources Inventory: A Guide for Communities in the Hudson River Estuary Watershed: A natural resources inventory (NRI) provides the foundation for comprehensive land-use planning that proactively considers a community's land and water resources and their relationship to climate resilience. This manual outlines how to inventory valuable natural and cultural assets and strategies for using an NRI in local land-use and conservation planning.
Natural and Nature-based Solutions to Manage Shoreline Erosion and Flooding
Green infrastructure can also be applied to shorelines to reduce erosion and flooding. The Estuary Program, with the help of our partners, have released a Coastal Green Infrastructure Research Plan for New York City and the Great Kills Harbor Breakwater Study for Staten Island.The Hudson River Sustainable Shorelines project provides case studies to document the use and benefits of ecologically-enhanced shorelines. Please click the link "Hudson River Sustainable Shorelines" found on the right.
Trees for Tribs to Restore Stream Buffers
Our Trees for Tribs program assists property owners in planting native trees, shrubs and grasses along Hudson River tributaries. This creates a stream buffer that can reduce flooding and improve water quality and wildlife habitat, ultimately helping us to maintain a healthy more climate-resilient watershed.
Many culverts in New York do not have the capacity to pass the amount of water that flows through them from streams during large storms, and some are too small for the stream flow from average-size rainstorms. These undersized culverts may fail, exacerbating local flooding and increasing infrastructure costs. The Estuary Program works with municipalities to identify and prioritize undersized culverts to help them invest in infrastructure in the most important areas. This not only benefits the municipalities' bottom line, but it also improves safety during large storms. For more information please visit the Aquatic Connectivity and Barrier Removal page on our website.
Watershed Resiliency Project
An educational project that focuses on climate change and watershed resiliency in the Hudson River estuary. Our partners at Cornell Cooperative Extension are working directly with municipal staff and landowners to understand and improve our ability to prevent and respond to flooding. For events and more information on this project, please click the link "Estuary Resiliency Project" found on the right.
What have other Communities done to become more Climate Resilient?
Cornell research students studying a map of the estuary at
Piermont Pier (E. Murphy)
For examples, please visit our page on Hudson River Climate Resilience Case Studies.
Also, view our Climate Smart Webinar on Adaptation Planning: Kingston Tidal Waterfront Flooding Task Force from January 9th, 2014.
How can I stay up-to-date with Climate Resilience in the Estuary?
Sign up for our newsletter: Climate Resilience in the Hudson River Estuary!
For Further Assistance:
The Hudson River Estuary Program provides assistance to communities and individuals in climate resilience. Contact our Climate Program at (845) 256-3153 or email us.
More about Climate Change Program for the Hudson River Estuary:
- Coastal Green Infrastructure Research Plan for New York City - Research plan to protect the coastal areas of New York City from erosion and flooding
- Great Kills Harbor Breakwater Study - The Great Kills Harbor Breakwater Study evaluates two offshore breakwater-system design options. It includes the results of the hydrodynamic modeling, the ecological survey and assessment, and an analysis of the potential damage-reduction benefits and regulatory considerations.