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For Release: Thursday, October 29, 2015

DEC Announces $2,220,000 Funding for Grants to Improve Resiliency and River Access and to Conserve Natural Resources in the Hudson River Estuary

Approximately $2,220,000 in new competitive grant funding is available to help communities in the Hudson River Estuary improve recreational access and estuary education, as well as design projects to increase resiliency to flooding, protect water-quality and enhance natural resources, Basil Seggos, Commissioner Designee of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. The grants support the State's post-Sandy strategy to prepare New York for extreme weather by transforming infrastructure and shoreline protection systems to better protect residents.

"Working with local communities, environmental groups and civic organizations, New York has significantly improved the environmental health of the Hudson River estuary," Commissioner Designee Seggos said. "Governor Cuomo has made important investments to protect the river, create new and expanded recreation access and improve community resiliency. This grant program will provide another boost to the Hudson River and its shoreline communities."

The grants will help achieve the goals of the NYSDEC 2015-2020 Draft Hudson River Estuary Action Agenda. Approximately $1,200,000 is available for "Local Stewardship Planning Grants" to help communities in the Hudson River Estuary watershed make progress in providing clean water; resilient communities; the sustainability of fish, wildlife, and habitats; and conservation of natural scenery. An additional $1,020,000 is available through a separate grant program--"River Access and Education Grants"-- for projects along the shoreline of the estuary which provide for enhanced waterway access, river education, and recreational opportunities, including measures to make access sites more resilient to flooding (see below for details on eligible project types).

The deadline for applications is December 16, 2015 at 3 p.m. The Requests for Applications (RFA) for "Local Stewardship Planning" and "River Access and Education" are available online through the NYS Grants Gateway webpage (link leaves DEC's website). Applicants may apply to one or both of the two estuary grant programs. The Grants Gateway is a web-based grants-management system that streamlines the way grants are administered by the State of New York. The "Local Stewardship Planning" and "River Access and Education" RFAs include the application, instructions, and detailed eligibility criteria. General information about the grants is also available on the DEC website.

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. Not-For-Profit applicants are required to "prequalify" in the Grants Gateway system. Completed grant applications must be submitted online by 3 p.m. December 16, 2015.

General questions about the Hudson River Estuary grants application process may be directed to Susan Pepe, DEC's Estuary Grants Manager, NYSDEC, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-3506; susan.pepe@dec.ny.gov. To date, the Hudson River Estuary Program has awarded 408 grants totaling $14,257,000. The grants are provided through New York's Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) and will be administered by DEC's Hudson River Estuary Program.

Details on eligible project types for Local Stewardship Planning Grants, $1,200,000

The seven categories of local projects and programs support planning for:

  • Hudson River shoreline communities to adapt land uses and decision-making to factor in shoreline flooding and sea-level rise projections;
  • Stewardship of water resources within an entire watershed or sub-watershed;
  • Restoration of stream habitat and stream flows through dam removal, fish passage, culvert right-sizing or bridge design;
  • Conservation of natural resources by creating a natural resources inventory or plan, or an open space plan;
  • Conservation, stewardship and enjoyment of natural scenery and natural vistas;
  • Making water and waste-water infrastructure more resilient to flooding and sea-level rise;
  • Using green infrastructure practices as a means to reduce combined sewer overflows.

Details on eligible project types for River Access and Education $1,020,000:

  • New Hudson River Shoreline Access, to plan, design and/or construct improvements for new access sites for fishing, swimming, boating and/or wildlife-dependent recreation along the tidal waters of the estuary.
  • Hudson River Shoreline Access Retrofits, for projects on the shoreline of the tidal waters of the Hudson River estuary to design, develop, retrofit, repair, or make improvements for river access sites to be resilient to storm surge and sea-level rise, and/or increase access for people of all abilities on and along the estuary.
  • Environmental Justice Access, for plans, designs or improvements designed to specifically serve environmental justice communities in municipalities which border the Hudson Estuary shoreline by providing or enhancing access to the tidal and non-tidal waters of the Hudson or its tributaries in those communities.
  • Regional Plans for River Access, for plans or designs which provide regional approaches for improving access to the Hudson and/or storm resiliency and/or use for people of all abilities.
  • Information for Users of Access Sites, for plans or projects to improve the availability of information on the web which will allow potential users of river access sites to understand local site conditions and make choices suited for their desires, needs and abilities.

Education project types are:

  • Hudson River Shoreline Facilities for Education about the Hudson River Estuary for projects on or in sight of the shoreline of the Hudson River estuary to plan, design, equip and/or construct facilities (including signage, exhibits and art installations) to be used for education of families, tourists and residents.
  • Hudson River Education for school groups, for projects that improve facilities, exhibits, web applications for mobile devices, or River access sites in ways that will help school groups learn about the estuary and relevant management issues and engage in stewardship of the estuary and its watershed.
  • Internet-based learning about the estuary, for projects to expand the audience for science-based information about the natural history of the Hudson estuary, promote a natural-history-based sense of place, making use of the internet, web applications for mobile devices, and social media.
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