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For Release: Thursday, April 16, 2015

DEC Announces $1.5 Million Available in The Hudson River Estuary Grants

Grants Will Improve Water Quality, Increase Flood Resiliency and Conserve Natural Resources

Hudson River Valley communities can now apply for $1.55 million in the Hudson River estuary watershed protection grants, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. The grants can be used for projects to increase resiliency to cope with flood events, protect water quality, conserve natural resources and restore aquatic habitat.

"Governor Cuomo has a clear vision for creating resilient communities in New York State and the Hudson River Estuary Program is helping to make this vision a reality through these grants," DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said. "This year's budget increased funding for the Hudson River Estuary Program by $700,000 to enable local partners to join with us in achieving regional goals for the Hudson River environment that improve the ecology of the estuary and its tributaries, help sustain our fisheries, and connect New Yorkers to local waterfronts. I encourage all interested parties to apply for this funding so that they can join the State in building a stronger and more resilient New York."

The funding is provided through two Requests for Applications (RFAs) from DEC's 2015 Hudson River Estuary Grants Program: 'Tributary Restoration and Resiliency' and 'Local Stewardship Planning.' The Tributary Restoration and Resiliency grants will help Hudson communities replace bridges or culverts to restore aquatic habitat in tributary streams of the estuary; improve stream flow; and reduce local flood-damage to protect homes and businesses. The Local Stewardship Planning grants will fund planning projects to help communities improve infrastructure, protect water resources and conserve natural resources in the watershed.

The grants support Governor Cuomo's $17 billion strategy to reimagine New York for the new reality of extreme weather by transforming the State's infrastructure and shoreline protection systems to better protect New Yorkers.

Tributary Restoration and Resiliency RFA, $750,000
To be eligible for this funding, projects must conserve and restore aquatic habitat connectivity for Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) found in the tributary streams of the Estuary watershed, especially river herring and American eel. The grants are also intended to help communities reduce the risk of localized flooding along tributaries of the estuary. Projects that accomplish both habitat and local flood risk-reduction objectives are desired. Examples include the removal of dams and the right-sizing or replacement of stream culverts, road crossings and bridges to improve stream flow, create natural stream bottom conditions and restore passage for aquatic organisms.

These grants are provided through the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), the Natural Resource Damages Fund (NRD), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Program's State Wildlife Grant, and are administered under the Department of Environmental Conservation's Hudson River Estuary Program.

Local Stewardship Planning RFA, $800,000
The local stewardship planning grants will fund the following eight categories of local projects and programs to help communities achieve the targets of the Estuary Action Agenda:

  • Developing municipal and inter-municipal flood-adaptation plans relating to sea-level rise and storm surge for communities on the shoreline of the Hudson River estuary;
  • Assessing options for the design, operation and maintenance of municipal water and waste water infrastructure in ways that will mitigate the risks associated with storm surge and flooding;
  • Designing or assessing green infrastructure (strategies that restore or emulate natural systems) to recharge ground water and to reduce storm-water flows that contribute to combined sewer overflows;
  • Developing or updating watershed management plans for tributaries to the Hudson River estuary;
  • Improving conditions for free-flowing streams through design of improved road/stream crossings, dam removals or stream-barrier mitigation;
  • Designing shoreline-stabilization projects that address ongoing or anticipated erosion issues while maintaining or enhancing ecological function;
  • Developing natural resource inventories (NRI) or open space conservation plans; and
  • Developing scenic resource inventories or creating guidance documents for ecologicallysound scenic vista maintenance and related training.

These grants are provided through the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) and are administered under the Department of Environmental Conservation's Hudson River Estuary Program. The minimum grant award is $5,000 and the maximum award is $50,000.

Now in its 13th year, the Estuary Grants Program implements priorities outlined in DEC's Hudson River Estuary Action Agenda to ensure clean water; protect and restore fish, wildlife and their habitats; enhance waterway access; improve the resiliency of communities; and conserve river scenery.

The DEC Hudson River Estuary Program 2015 Request for Applications (RFAs) and application forms for the Tributary Restoration and Resiliency Grants and the Local Stewardship Planning Grants are available online through the NYS Grants Gateway at www.grantsreform.ny.gov. The Grants Gateway is a web-based grants-management system that streamlines the way grants are administered by the State of New York. All grant applicants, including government agencies and not-for-profit corporations, must be registered in the NYS Grants Gateway to be eligible to apply for any state grant opportunity. Registration cannot be completed online. Not-For-Profit applicants are required to "prequalify" in the Grants Gateway system. Registration and prequalification forms are available online at www.grantsreform.ny.gov.

Both RFAs include detailed eligibility criteria, and requirements for geographic location, permits and municipal approvals. Additional points for both grants are given to projects in environmental justice areas and projects which support regional economic development strategies. Completed grant applications must be submitted online by 2 p.m. June 15, 2015. Grant information and a link to the Estuary Action Agenda is also available on the DEC website.

General questions about the Hudson River Estuary grants application process may be directed to Becky Thomas, NYSDEC Hudson River Estuary Program, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-3506; becky.thomas@dec.ny.gov.

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