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Climate-adaptive Communities in the Hudson River Estuary

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We help communities to adapt to climate change using natural and nature-based solutions. Learn more about our support programs, funding assistance, and more.

Resilience Actions from Climate Smart Communities

Watch our short videos about adaptation and resilience actions from the NYS Climate Smart Communities Program, now available with English and Spanish subtitles.

What is a Climate-adaptive Community?

Climate-adaptive communities anticipate and manage climate risks, respond productively as the climate changes and recover quickly from extreme events. For examples, please visit our page on Hudson River Climate Resilience Case Studies.

Climate Risks in the Hudson River Estuary

People view climate adaptive design boards
Community stakeholders reviewing final
Climate-adaptive Design (CaD) boards
at Open House in the Village of Catskill (L. Zemaitis)

Our communities are facing more frequent and severe climate risks:

  • Flooding, that impacts our waterfront properties and infrastructure;
  • Heat waves, that impact human health and agriculture; and
  • Short-term drought, that impacts our food and water supply.

Please download our climate fact sheet (PDF) for an overview of climate change in the Hudson Valley and what you can do to help. If you are a municipality, please download our more detailed climate summary for communities (PDF). You can also download our one-page overview of the latest climate projections for the Hudson Valley (PDF).

Assistance Available for Climate Resilience

The Hudson River Estuary Program and our partners provide multiple opportunities for communities to receive assistance in improving their climate resilience by supporting our natural life support systems, like floodplains, forests and wetlands, in the valley. For example:

Climate-adaptive Design (CaD) Studio

The Estuary Program, Cornell University, and our partners are bringing Climate-Adaptive Design (CaD) studios (leaves DEC website) to flood-prone Hudson Riverfront communities.

Stakeholders meet to discuss important issues
Members of the community discuss Climate-adaptive
Design (CaD) concepts in Ossining, NY. (L. Zemaitis)

Receive Support and Recognition: Climate Smart Communities

By participating in our state's Climate Smart Communities (leaves DEC website), you can access support, funding and opportunities to save money, reduce greenhouse gases, and become climate adapted.

Climate Resiliency Partnership: Helping Communities Complete Adaptation Actions

Cornell Cooperative Extensions (CCEs) (leaves DEC website) are working directly with municipalities to help them complete Adaptation Actions (chapter 7) (leaves DEC website) from the Climate Smart Communities (CSC) (leaves DEC website) certification program.

Adaptation actions include culvert management plans, vulnerability assessments, flood guides for residents and businesses, incorporating climate adaptation into comprehensive planning and more. The partnership also supports municipalities to achieve CSC certification. For events and more information on this project, please visit their website in the right hand column.

Grants Relating to Climate Adaptation

New York State provides funding support for communities to adapt to climate change. Please visit our webpage Funding Climate Adaptation & Resilience (leaves DEC website).

To check for currently available funding, please see the DEC's grants page, the Estuary Program's grants page, and the Estuary Program's main page for our latest RFPs.

Green and Natural Infrastructure to Manage Stormwater

Green alternatives to traditional "gray" infrastructure are designed to mimic the natural processes that store and treat stormwater runoff. Please visit our page on Green Infrastructure Examples for Stormwater Management in the Hudson Valley for more information.

More information is available on our Cornell partner website Climate change in the Hudson River Estuary (leaves DEC website).

Conserving Nature in Your Community

A student stands near the river while measuring the effects of sea level rise.
High school students measure
projected sea level rise
at Marist College (C. Bowser).

Communities can use nature to adapt to climate change by proactively prioritizing and conserving important land and water resources like forests and wetlands.

Natural Shorelines to Reduce Flooding and Erosion

Green infrastructure can also be applied to shorelines to reduce erosion and flooding. The Estuary Program, with the help of our partners, have released a Coastal Green Infrastructure Research Plan for New York and the Great Kills Harbor Breakwater Study for Staten Island (see "Research on Resilience Strategies" on the right column of this page). The Hudson River Sustainable Shorelines project provides case studies to document the use and benefits of ecologically-enhanced shorelines.

Trees for Tribs to Restore Stream Buffers

The Trees for Tribs program assists property owners in planting native trees, shrubs and grasses along Hudson River tributaries. This creates a stream buffer that can reduce flooding and improve water quality and wildlife habitat, ultimately helping us to maintain a healthy more climate-adapted watershed.

Right-sizing Culverts and Bridges

Many culverts in New York do not have the capacity to pass the amount of water that flows through them from streams during large storms. These undersized culverts may fail, exacerbating local flooding and increasing infrastructure costs. Visit Aquatic Connectivity and Barrier Removal for more information.

More about Climate-adaptive Communities in the Hudson River Estuary: