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For Release: Wednesday, March 24, 2021

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 riverfront municipality to host the Cornell University Department of Landscape Architecture's Climate-adaptive Design Studio during Fall 2021. The Climate-adaptive Design (CaD) studio links Cornell University students in landscape architecture with communities to explore design alternatives for more climate resilient and connected waterfront areas.

"DEC is proud to partner with design experts from Cornell University and local experts on the ground to better prepare New York's waterfront communities for the challenges of our changing climate," said Commissioner Seggos. "These design efforts are better preparing New Yorkers for the threats posed by extreme weather events and sea-level rise on the tidal Hudson."

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 the student teams as the designs are developed, and the host community is provided with the designs at the end of the semester.

In 2019, DEC awarded $250,000 grants to the village of Piermont and the city of Kingston, two previous CaD studio host communities, to advance the design and implementation of CaD-inspired projects on their riverfronts.

Riverfront municipalities in the tidal portion of the Hudson are eligible to submit a letter of interest to host the fall 2021 CaD studio. The host community must be interested in applying the design principles to an existing or proposed project and be able to engage key stakeholders that commit to attending a minimum of three meetings with the student design teams. In-person meetings may take place, if pandemic-related conditions allow. The host community must also demonstrate willingness and ability to promote and advance CaD Studio concepts and principals after the end of the semester.

An informational webinar about the CaD Studio opportunity will be held on April 12 from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. To register, visit Cornell's Zoom registration page. Interested municipalities can learn more about the CaD Studio by visiting Cornell's website.

A letter of interest must be submitted to Libby Zemaitis via email at libby.zemaitis@dec.ny.gov by May 10, 2021. Visit Cornell's website for instructions on submitting a letter of interest.

Funding for the CaD Studio is provided by the State Environmental Protection Fund and is administered by DEC's Hudson River Estuary Program in partnership with the New York State Water Resources Institute. 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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