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For Release: Friday, July 8, 2016

DEC and NY Sea Grant Announce $192,000 in Grants for Great Lakes Basin Projects and Request Proposals for New Projects

Funding will Help Great Lakes Basin Communities Increase Resiliency and Improve Water Quality

In partnership with New York Sea Grant, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced $192,000 in grants for nine projects that will help Great Lakes coastal communities enhance their resiliency and protect water quality.

"Improving water quality is essential to enhancing coastal resiliency and the local economies in the Great Lakes region that depend on clean and healthy waterways," said Commissioner Seggos. "These grants advance local solutions to build stronger, more resilient communities in the face of climate change and ensure that water quality is protected for people, fish and wildlife, and I look forward to watching these innovative projects move forward."

"New York Sea Grant is pleased to administer these awards and work with the recipients to ensure that the results, products, and lessons learned are shared with all of our Great Lakes communities and stakeholders," said New York Sea Grant Associate Director Katherine E. Bunting-Howarth.

Coastal and inland communities throughout New York's Great Lakes region are vulnerable to impacts of storm surge, flooding, shoreline erosion, excessive nutrient loads, harmful algal blooms and many other challenges related to community resiliency and water quality.

To address these risks, and improve resiliency and water quality in the Great Lakes region, grants will be awarded to the following organizations:

  • City of Rochester: $25,000 to develop a Green Infrastructure Design and Maintenance Manual to encourage and guide the proper use and installation of green infrastructure technologies with an emphasis on retrofit and redevelopment projects;
  • Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council: $25,000 to provide outreach and education to municipalities to promote enrollment in the National Flood Insurance Program's Community Rating System (CRS), which focuses on reducing risk and building resilience;
  • University at Buffalo: $25,000 to quantify nutrient fluxes from representative urban and agricultural subwatersheds in Western New York to better understand the sources and timing of these fluxes and their impacts on the nearshore areas of NY's Great Lakes;
  • Wayne County Soil and Water Conservation District: $25,000 to assess, research, and complete geographical, fisheries, and wildlife surveys to aid in the establishment of an action plan to restore Port Bay's East Barrier Bar;
  • Onondaga Environmental Institute: $24,998 to enhance the resiliency, water quality and aquatic habitat value of Onondaga Creek by increasing riparian buffers, improving bank stability, and removing invasive Phragmites;
  • Finger Lakes Institute: $20,112 to develop a water quality monitoring program that works with citizen scientists to determine levels and sources of nutrients and bacteria in the nearshore area of Cayuga Lake;
  • Clarkson University: $18,630 to measure high resolution water quality parameters in the nearshore zone of the St. Lawrence River that will assist water resource managers in assessing risk, uncertainties, and changing conditions related to water level and water quality management in this region;
  • Center for Transformative Action: $15,000 to create and distribute 20 CurrentCast (60-second syndicated radio series and podcast) segments that educate the public about issues and activities related to topics such as stormwater management, shoreline protection, flooding and erosion protection, riparian restoration, wetlands protection, and green infrastructure; and
  • Owasco Lake Watershed Inspection Program: $14,183 to develop the Tributary Adoption and Identification Pilot Program resulting in simple, public-friendly information management tools focused on enhancing local public awareness, involvement, and understanding of watershed issues and concerns.

New York's Great Lakes Basin Small Grants Program is made possible by the NYS Environmental Protection Fund and Article 14, "Ocean and Great Lakes Ecosystem Conservation Act," of the state's Environmental Conservation Law. Grant projects support the goals of an Interim New York Great Lakes Action Agenda (GLAA), a plan for applying ecosystem-based management to complex environmental problems in order to conserve, protect and enhance our irreplaceable Great Lakes natural resources.

The New York's Great Lakes Basin Small Grants Program is in its second year of successfully funding projects that achieve goals of the GLAA, as identified by basin-wide stakeholders. New York Sea Grant and DEC are pleased to announce that a third year of funding is available for 2017-2018 projects that meet natural resource and resiliency goals. More information is available below:

New York Sea Grant and DEC Requesting Proposals for Small Grants Program for projects that serve to benefit the environment and economy of New York's Great Lakes basin

Grants of up to $25,000 will be awarded for projects that implement Goal #5 and/or Goal #7 of the GLAA. Respectively, these goals are to:

  • "conserve and restore native fish and wildlife biodiversity and habitats to achieve and sustain resilient ecosystems and vibrant economies" and
  • "enhance community resiliency and ecosystem integrity through restoration, protection, and improved resource management"

Project planning, design, and/or implementation, information management tool development, demonstration projects, and targeted outreach and education initiatives are eligible. Projects must be located within or be directly related to the Great Lakes basin region of New York.

To help not-for-profit organizations, local governmental and public agencies, and public and private educational institutions apply for grants, New York Sea Grant will offer informational webinars on July 11, 2016 at 12 p.m. and July 25, 2016 at 12 p.m. Those interested in attending may register at Cornell's website. (link leaves DEC website)

For questions or more information, please email Heather Weitzner at

Proposals will be due by September 23, 2016. Grants will be announced the week of October 31, 2016. Full request for proposals and application guidelines are online at Sea Grant Proposal page (link leaves DEC website).

For more information on the Interim NYS Great Lakes Action Agenda, visit DEC's website. For information on the current grant projects, go to Sea Grant website (link leaves DEC website).

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