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Conservation and Land Use Webinars

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The Hudson River Estuary Conservation and Land Use Team created this webinar training series to provide a foundation in conservation and land use planning for members of Hudson River estuary watershed conservation advisory councils/boards and environmental commissions, as well as members of planning and zoning boards, elected officials, and interested citizens. Participants will learn about biodiversity, conservation principles, best practices, and tools to identify and conserve important habitat and water resources within New York's home rule system.

Webinar attendees will receive an email confirming attendance, which may be submitted locally for municipal planning or zoning board training credit.

Note: Webinars are held using the Webex platform. You can join a Webex event from your computer, mobile device, or phone. Download the Webex app (leaves DEC website). Get Webex troubleshooting advice (leaves DEC website).

Upcoming Webinars and Hybrid Events:

Overview of NY's Freshwater Wetland Regulatory Changes
Register via Webex for webinar on Thursday, October 26, 1:00-2:15 p.m.

In 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law historic revisions to New York's Freshwater Wetlands Act. Currently, the Department of Environmental Conservation's (DEC) jurisdiction is limited to wetlands that are equal to or greater than 12.4 acres (and certain wetlands of unusual local importance) and identified on the State Freshwater Wetlands Map. The new legislation will eliminate the map requirement beginning in 2025, and in 2028 DEC's jurisdiction will expand to wetlands as small as 7.4 acres. The reforms will allow DEC to protect over one million acres of critically important freshwater wetlands that are currently unmapped and thousands of additional acres of smaller wetlands.

This webinar will provide an overview of DEC's current freshwater wetlands regulations and how they are enforced. It will explain the need for the regulatory revisions and outline the forthcoming regulatory changes and their effective dates.

Krista Spohr, Environmental Program Specialist, DEC Bureau of Ecosystem Health

Protecting Wetlands and Streams in Your Community
Register via Webex for webinar on Thursday, November 9, 1:00-2:30 p.m.

Protecting wetlands and streams is vital to safeguarding water resources, but gaps in federal and state regulations leave many wetlands and streams vulnerable to degradation and loss. The Supreme Court's June 2023 Sackett v. EPA ruling significantly rolled back federal protection for wetlands and streams. New York State is meanwhile set to expand some protection for wetlands, but major gaps remain, especially for smaller wetlands, seasonal streams, and adjacent buffers around these sensitive water resources.

This webinar will cover:
• the importance and functions of wetlands and streams in the Hudson Valley;
• status and changes to federal and state wetlands and stream regulations; and
• ways local government can provide more comprehensive protection for these key water resources.

Emily Svenson, Gordon & Svenson LLP
Ingrid Haeckel, Hudson River Estuary Program and Cornell University

Municipal Options for Financing Open Space Protection
HYBRID: Attend in person in Kingston, NY OR online via Webex
Tuesday, November 14, 2:00-5:00 p.m.
Register via Webex (Please specify in-person or virtual attendance)

Many municipalities are interested in protecting forests, farms, streams, and other open spaces that are important to their residents. Open space planning is an important step for a community to identify priorities and assess a range of potential policies to achieve conservation goals. Evaluating financing options to protect priority lands and waters is a next step to establish a municipal land protection fund. In the Hudson Valley, communities are using bonds, community preservation funds, general appropriations, and tax incentive programs to protect open space.

In this interactive forum offered by the Hudson River Estuary Program, local leaders from New Paltz, Red Hook, and Bethlehem will share case studies on developing and implementing local open space finance policies in their towns. Speakers will share experiences with building community support, lessons learned, and how funds have been used to achieve conservation of local priorities. Presentations will be followed by facilitated discussions.

This program presents an opportunity for dialogue with town supervisors to learn from their experiences with established local conservation programs.

Note that the hybrid/virtual portion of the program will last approximately 2 hours.

Past Webinar Recordings

Note: Use the Webex Network Player Playback function to stream webinar recordings to your computer. It may take some time for the recording to open.​ All links to recordings in this section leave the DEC website. Presentation slides are available in PDF format upon request.