Grants Support State's Efforts to Expand Access to Recreation and Encourage New Yorkers to Get Outside
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's (DEC) Hudson River Estuary Program in partnership with the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC) today awarded contracts for two community projects to improve the resiliency of Hudson River access sites and more sustainably manage scenic vistas.
"Governor Cuomo has made significant investments to create new and expanded access to recreation along the Hudson River and encourage New Yorkers to get outside and enjoy nature," DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. "New York State is prioritizing preserving our natural resources and recognizes the need to bolster the resiliency of these sites along the river in the face of increasing flood risks and severe weather events."
A $49,855 contract was awarded to WSP USA Inc./Louis Berger to aid Hudson River communities planning efforts for sea-level rise and flooding at shorefront parklands and river access sites along the Hudson River estuary. WSP will conduct site visits, evaluate existing flood models and climate predictions, and develop recommendations and guidance that includes a library of resources and an online tool for decision-making to reduce flood vulnerabilities. In addition, WSP will create a network of Hudson River user groups, riverfront property owners, environmental organizations, and other stakeholders to share and learn from each other's experiences in developing resilience measures.
A $134,980 contract was awarded to Saratoga Associates to assist riverfront landowners and historic sites in managing scenic vistas while protecting natural resources and wildlife habitat. Saratoga Associates is partnering with New York State College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry (SUNY ESF) to develop a series of ecologically-friendly Best Management Practices (BMPs) identified through research of existing visual and ecological conditions along the Hudson River. The Saratoga team also will conduct a review of current practices being used at public properties adjacent to the Hudson. The project will result in technical assistance guides that apply ecological and landscape architectural standards to avoid impacts to the landowners' property, habitat, and natural areas. In addition, the Saratoga team will provide training sessions and undertake two demonstration projects using the BMPs.
Funding for the contracts is provided by the State's Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) and is administered by DEC's Hudson River Estuary Program in partnership with the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC).
Susan Sullivan, NEIWPCC Executive Director, said, "NEIWPCC is pleased to be able to help communities and landowners along the Hudson bolster the sustainability and resiliency of riverfront recreation sites and protect vital habitat while ensuring that visitors can enjoy spectacular views."
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.
DEC's Hudson River Estuary Program focuses on the tidal Hudson and its adjacent watershed from the federal dam at Troy to the Verrazano Narrows in New York City.