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For Release: Thursday, May 9, 2019

DEC Announces Climate-Adaptive Design Opportunity for Hudson Waterfront Communities

Innovative Design Projects to Reduce Flood Risks and Help Communities Adapt to Climate Change

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced an opportunity for a Hudson River waterfront municipality to host the Cornell University Department of Landscape Architecture's Climate-adaptive Design Studio during fall 2019. The Climate-adaptive Design Studio (CaD) links Cornell University graduate students in landscape architecture with flood-risk communities to explore design alternatives for more climate resilient and connected waterfront areas.

"This unique opportunity will help waterfront communities along the Hudson River bolster their resilience by designing innovative projects like floodable parks and flood-adapted buildings. To prepare New York's waterfront communities for the challenges of our changing climate, DEC is partnering with design experts from Cornell and local experts on the ground to ready New Yorkers for the challenges posed by extreme weather events and sea-level rise on the tidal Hudson," said Commissioner Seggos.

The CaD Studio is a collaboration between DEC's Hudson River Estuary Program and the Cornell University Department of Landscape Architecture. Student design teams meet with local stakeholders to develop an understanding of the unique waterfront opportunities and challenges, focusing on public access, economic development, and climate resilience.

Over four months, the teams create waterfront designs that encourage water-dependent use of shoreline property, provide public access to waterfronts, improve resilience to current and future flood risk, and use nature-based solutions for stormwater management and shoreline stability. Community stakeholders have opportunities to provide feedback to student teams as the designs are developed, and the host community is provided with the designs at the end of the semester.

The host community must be interested in applying the design principles to an existing or proposed project and be able to engage key stakeholders who commit to attending a minimum of three meetings with the student design teams.

Last month, DEC announced the availability of $125,000 to implement the design of a project to reduce shoreline or stormwater risk in Catskill, Kingston, Piermont, and/or Hudson after each of these communities previously participated in the CaD Studio.

An informational webinar about the CaD Studio opportunity will be held on June 12 from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Register for the CaD pre-application webinar (link leaves DEC's website). Interested municipalities can learn more about the CaD Studio (link leaves DEC's website) by visiting Cornell's 2019 CaD Studio webpage. A letter of interest must be submitted to Libby Zemaitis via email at by June 28, 2019. Visit Cornell's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences website for instructions on submitting a letter of interest (link leaves DEC's website).

Funding for the CaD Studio is provided by the State Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) and is administered by DEC's Hudson River Estuary Program in partnership with the New York State Water Resources Institute. In the 2019-20 State Budget, Governor Cuomo sustained the record-high EPF at $300 million for the fourth year in a row, providing funding for open space conservation, parkland stewardship, and other environmental protection projects.

The Hudson River Estuary Program helps people enjoy, protect, and revitalize the Hudson River and its valley. Created in 1987, the program focuses on the tidal Hudson and its adjacent watershed from the dam at Troy to the Verrazano Narrows in New York City.

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