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Coastal Resiliency Actions

Ocean Action Plan Updates

Here is a closer look at some of the exciting projects we are working on through the New York Ocean Action Plan:

Climate Change & Community Involvement


Governor Cuomo signing the CLCPA with former
Vice President Al Gore and DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos

On July 18, 2019, Governor Cuomo signed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (leaves DEC website), or CLCPA, which adopts the most ambitious and comprehensive climate and clean energy legislation in the country. The CLCPA requires the State to achieve a carbon free electricity system by 2040 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions 85% below 1990 levels by 2050, setting a new standard for states and the nation to expedite the transition to a clean energy economy. Implementation of the CLCPA will target investments to benefit disadvantaged communities, create tens of thousands of new jobs, improve public health and quality of life and provide all New Yorkers with more robust clean energy choices.

The National Climate Assessment (leaves DEC website) was created by a team of more than 300 experts guided by a Federal Advisory Committee. For detailed information about how climate change is impacting our ocean ecosystems, review Chapter 9: Ocean and Marine Resources (leaves DEC website) of the assessment.

Governor Cuomo announced the Green New Deal (leaves DEC website) in 2019 to provide a path to economy-wide carbon neutrality and a just transition to clean energy that spurs growth of the green economy and prioritizes the needs of low- to moderate-income New Yorkers.

In September 2014, Governor Cuomo signed the Community Risk and Resiliency Act (CRRA) into law. CRAA includes five major provisions that will advance New York's climate change adaptation strategy and promote the goals of Actions 45, 46, and 49 of the OAP. Additionally, the Climate Smart Communities Program is a network of New York communities that remain committed to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improving climate resilience strategies. Through the expansion of climate resilient communities, we can adequately adapt and plan for the future while meeting goals outlined by OAP Action 50.

For additional information, contact the Office of Climate Change.

The Breach Contingency Plan

Damage caused by Hurricane sandy
Pictured above are two aerial photos of Fire Island and Pelican
Island, pre and post Hurricane Sandy. Photo provided by USGS.

In October 2012, Superstorm Sandy caused three breaches (leaves DEC website) located along the barrier islands in Suffolk County. This lead to the first ever activation of the New York Breach Contingency Plan (link leaves DEC website) in partnership with the US Army Corps of Engineers, which began procedures to close the breaches. Ultimately, two of the three breaches were closed. However, the last breach, which occurred on Fire Island within the Otis Pike Fire Island High Dune Wilderness Area, (leaves DEC website) remains open, shown in the photo to the right.

SUNY Stony Brook School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) have established the Old Inlet Breach Monitoring Project (leaves DEC website) and Great South Bay Project to evaluate the effects of the barrier breach on the biological communities and ecosystem health in the Great South Bay. These projects collect pre-Sandy data (from 2007), compare it with post-Sandy data, and continuously monitor changes. Data indicate that since the breach, there has been an increase in biodiversity and number of warmer water fish using the habitats of the bay. This information contributes to climate change awareness and planning as well as accomplishment of Action 44 and 48.

Long Island LIDAR Mapping and Orthoimagery

After the devastation following Superstorm Sandy, NOAA collected high resolution elevation data (LiDAR) to track pre- and post-storm coastal zones. The data collected helped determine sea-level rise effects along the coastline. These data also aided in the remapping of Coastal Erosion Hazard Area (CEHA) on Long Island and in eastern Westchester. This imagery utilized various model tools, such as Sea Level Affecting Marsh Migration (SLAMM) (leaves DEC website), to predict marsh migration from the Hudson River and throughout Long Island. This project was completed in 2012 and helped determine which areas were most affected by the storm.

Following Superstorm Sandy, oblique map imagery was used for emergency responses in New York City, Westchester and Long Island. The imagery data collected, along with help from other data sets, has proved to be an effective tool during Coastal Erosion Hazard Area permit reviews, enforcement cases, and coastal construction projects.

This information aides Actions 44, 45, 46, and 49 goals of examining the impacts of coastal flooding and improving resiliency strategies.

Living Shorelines

Damage to a pathway in Mount Loretto Unique area
Superstorm Sandy damage located in
Mount Loretto Unique Area, Staten Island.

Living shorelines (leaves DEC website) are defined by NOAA as protected and stabilized shorelines made from natural materials such as plants, sand, or rock. Living shorelines are advantageous against hard shorelines because they serve as carbon sinks, provide nutrient pollution remediation, fish habitat provision, and storm buffers.

Recently, DEC announced guidance on "Living Shoreline Techniques in the Marine District of New York State" (PDF) that emphasizes living shorelines as a solution to better protect New Yorkers against threats posed by erosion, extreme weather and sea-level rise. The guidance also provides details on different types of living shorelines and proper siting, maintenance and monitoring considerations for shorelines that support Action 47 of the OAP.

Last updated: 07/17/2020