New York Governor Announces Grants for 39 Projects

Governor Hochul Announces Awards of $1.5 Million in Grants for 39 Projects in Hudson River Estuary Watershed Communities

Grants Will Protect Communities from Future Flooding, Enhance River Access and Education, and Promote Environmental Stewardship

New York (STL.News) Governor Kathy Hochul announced grant awards totaling more than $1.5 million for 39 projects that will help communities along the Hudson River Estuary improve recreational access, enhance environmental education, and advance stewardship of natural resources.

“New York State is committed to investing in projects that will improve community resiliency and protect our natural resources in the Hudson River Valley and across the state,” Governor Hochul said.  “The 39 grants announced today, totaling more than $1.5 million in awards, will provide dozens of Hudson River watershed communities with the support they need to improve recreation and access to the river while working to preserve and protect the Estuary for future generations.”

The grants are funded by the State’s Environmental Protection Fund and administered by the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Hudson River Estuary Program.

“Thanks to Governor Hochul’s support, the $1.5 million in grants announced today will help Hudson River Valley communities develop plans and advance tools to become more resilient to flooding and other climate impacts while expanding recreational opportunities for people of all abilities,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos.  “These grant awards build on local conservation efforts and priorities to sustainably improve water quality and protect our natural resources.”

Grant recipients listed by region are:

MULTI-REGION

  • Riverkeeper – $50,000:  Climate Vulnerability Assessment of Waterbodies.  Riverkeeper will complete a regional-scale vulnerability assessment to better define climate-related vulnerabilities to waterbodies in municipal boundaries.
  • Consensus Building Institute – $49,990:  The Hudson River Flood Resilience Network:  Developing a Strategic Roadmap for Sustained Operation will deliver a strategic plan for the Hudson River Flood Resilience Network, along with regional guidance documents on flooding.
  • Pratt Institute – $43,916:  Estuary Access Project:  Inventory Database and Interactive Map.  Pratt Institute will develop a single gateway to comprehensive, up-to-date information to encourage New Yorkers to access and enjoy the Hudson River.

CAPITAL REGION

Albany County

  • Town of New Scotland – $50,000:  Town of New Scotland Natural Resource Inventory and Open Space Plan project will inventory, map, and describe natural resources in the town to create town-wide open space plan.
  • Radix Ecological Sustainability Center – $40,000:  Renewable Remediation for River Regeneration – Community Science, Equity, and Eco-Justice Education on the Hudson.  Radix Ecological Sustainability Center will construct a solar-powered watercraft for education about the Hudson River in the vicinity of the south end of Albany to help Radix youth employees and residents learn about aquatic areas of frequent use and concern.

Columbia County

  • Columbia Land Conservancy – $37,655:  Nature Quest Goes Virtual!  The Columbia Land Conservancy will create virtual and place-based experiences highlighting the Hudson River Estuary and watershed.  The project will include 10 virtual tours in the Travel Storys app, installing watershed-themed artwork on the “Access for All Trail,” and retrofitting an aging gazebo that overlooks river at the Greenport Conservation Area.

Greene County

  • Village of Catskill – $50,000:  Dutchman’s Landing Park Boat Launch Access Improvement Project.  The village will repair and improve access at the existing boat launch at Dutchman’s Landing Park to make the boat ramp and docks safer and more accessible, and protect against erosion and flooding.
  • City of Rensselaer – $50,000:  Open Space and Recreation Plan will be developed to create a more resilient and sustainable community.
  • Trout Unlimited – $49,838:  Town of Stephentown Road Stream Crossing Management Plan will serve as a guide for future culvert replacements, reconnecting high-quality aquatic habitat and improving community flood resiliency and protecting road infrastructure.
  • Rensselaer Land Trust, Inc. – $27,975:  Harvest from the Hudson River: Traditional Fishing Techniques and Sustainable Fishing for the Future.  Rensselaer Land Trust will create new lesson plans featuring components of traditional fishing methods, fish habitats, and species restoration efforts on the Hudson River.
  • Media Alliance, Inc. – $40,000:  Nature’s Computer Lab: A Virtual Canal from the Estuary to the Classroom.  Media Alliance, Inc., will purchase computers for their new NATURE Lab Urban Environmental Education Center, located in north central Troy.  The computer equipment will expand the scope of the work in the lab, supporting education and research about the estuary, and connecting youth and environmental organizations along the Hudson.

MID-HUDSON VALLEY

Dutchess County

  • Town of Milan – $44,010:  Creation of Natural Resources Inventory.  The town will work with Hudsonia to create a Natural Resources Inventory (NRI) designed for use by the Milan Planning Board and other town boards and commissions engaged in land use planning, policy-making, and environmental reviews.
  • Town of Poughkeepsie – $50,000:  New Hamburg Flood Study.  The town will conduct a study of flooding in New Hamburg, which is within the 100-year floodplain along the Hudson River.  The project will include an analysis of the floodplain, in-field surveying, and work on the design of possible solutions to mitigate flooding.
  • Dutchess County Department of Planning and Development – $49,496:  Dutchess County Natural Resources Inventory Update will better describe the current state of its the county’s natural resources and the potential threats.
  • Hudson River Sloop Clearwater Inc. – $40,000:  Clearwater Fish Key 2.0.  Hudson River Sloop Clearwater will enhance the existing web-based Fish Key tool by adding new video resources related to Hudson River fish and links to other websites to create a portal to a range of river education resources.
  • River Pool at Beacon – $12,500:  Immersion Education – Building Stewardship through Swimming, Access, and Studies of River Ecology.  The River Pool at Beacon will upgrade its floating river pool structure, including improvements to pool seats, walkway and entry points, and new signage.

Greene, Sullivan, and Ulster Counties

  • Hudson River Watershed Alliance – $39,183:  Rondout and Esopus Creek Land Use Leadership Alliance Training Program, in partnership with Pace University’s Land Use Law Center, will implement a community-based Land Use Leadership Alliance training program for the Rondout and Esopus Creek watersheds to foster the development of sustainable communities.

Orange County

  • Village of Highland Falls – $12,000:  Highland Falls Waterfront Park Natural Resource Inventory and Assessment will help develop a master plan for lands owned by Scenic Hudson for the future development for public use, education, and the conservation of its natural resources.

Putnam County

  • Town of Kent – $49,000:  Town of Kent Natural Resources Inventory Project will conduct a Natural Resources Inventory and prepare a biodiversity inventory.  The inventory will provide information on the region’s range of species for future reference and scientific study.

Rockland County

  • Village of Piermont – $15,000:  Development of a Comprehensive Plan for Piermont: Planning for Resiliency.  The village of Piermont will develop a Comprehensive Plan with a focus on resiliency and sustainability.  The plan will identify climate-adaptation strategies and policies to decrease vulnerability and provide guidelines for promoting economic and cultural sustainability.
  • The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York – $39,088:  Hudson River Education:  A Voice of Unity.  Columbia Lamont-Doherty educators will enhance the Next Generation of Hudson River Educators program, which works with underrepresented high school interns.  These students, paid stipends, will interview a wide variety of community residents about their experiences growing up and living along the tidal Hudson and develop stories to be shared through videos and outreach events.

Ulster County

  • City of Kingston – $50,000:  Community Preservation Plan from existing plans and inventories of natural and historic resources, as well as other sources of GIS data.
  • Ulster County – $46,554:  Ulster County Natural Resources Inventory and Cloud-based Mapping Portal.  Ulster County will develop a county-wide natural resources inventory and integrate it into a cloud-based mapping portal and accompanying municipal toolkit.
  • Arm of the Sea Productions Inc. – $31,639:  Program Awning at Arm-of-the-Sea Tidewater Center.  This project will design, permit, purchase, and install a large awning structure for Hudson River programs at the Arm-of-the-Sea Tidewater Center in Saugerties, NY.
  • Town of Marlborough – $40,000:  Accessible Kayak Launch at Milton Landing Park to serve regional residents and visitors in the town of Marlborough.
  • City of Kingston – $50,000:  Rondout Creek Public Kayak Access.  The city of Kingston will remove the existing unsafe public kayak dock on the Rondout Creek, complete a plan and design of a new kayak launch system, and construct and install a new dock with full handicapped accessibility.

Westchester County

  • Town of New Castle – $36,033:  New Castle Natural Resource Inventory.  The town will complete a Natural Resources Inventory, including a detailed analysis and report of the current state of the town’s natural resources and recommendations for conservation and mitigation.
  • Town of Mount Pleasant – $17,440:  Natural Resource Inventory and Wetland Mapping project will complete a Natural Resource Inventory and wetland mapping project for the Town of Mount Pleasant.
  • Town of Bedford – $30,981:  Conservation Overlay Ordinance and Map.  The Town of Bedford will engage a contractor to produce a conservation overlay ordinance and map, and draft Wildlife Corridors Overlay District legislation to be proposed for addition to existing zoning ordinances.  The conservation and wildlife ordinances will help to protect and preserve connecting corridors and habitat for wildlife.
  • Pace University – $46,612:  Building the Capacity of the Pocantico River Watershed Alliance.  Pace University will conduct a stakeholder-based assessment of the Pocantico River Watershed by compiling existing information and collecting new data.
  • Sarah Lawrence College – $40,000:  Teaching the Environment: Discovering Urban Landscapes and Watersheds. The Sarah Lawrence College Center for the Urban River at Beczak and the Child Development Institute will develop, test, and publish curriculum for “Teaching the Environment: Discovering Urban Landscapes and Watersheds.”
  • Groundwork Hudson Valley – $32,997:  A Pilot Project to Adapt, Teach and Assess will create an innovative curriculum about the Saw Mill River Daylighting in downtown Yonkers.  Groundwork Hudson Valley will develop the new standards-based curriculum for K -12 students across the river’s watershed, with a specific emphasis on students from southwest Yonkers.
  • Yonkers Paddling & Rowing Club – $45,800:  Hudson River Riders.  Working with community organizations, Yonkers Paddling & Rowing Club will expand its free Hudson River Riders program that provides river access for the public, with a focus on underprivileged youth.  The Hudson River Riders program recruits and trains young people to become the next generation of paddlers and environmental stewards.

NEW YORK CITY

New York County

  • Natural Areas Conservancy, Inc. – $50,000:  Forest Management and Stewardship Planning for Highbridge Park, New York City.  The Natural Areas Conservancy will develop a forest management and community stewardship plan for the 102 acres of natural forests in Highbridge Park in northern Manhattan.
  • New York Restoration Project – $49,984:  Living Shoreline Monitoring Project will evaluate the impact of the living shoreline initiative at Sherman Creek Park by assessing improvements to ecosystem function and shoreline conditions to protect the park from flooding.  The monitoring and evaluation study will examine how the living shoreline impacts habitat and biodiversity, the presence of wildlife, carbon sequestration, and improves sedimentation.
  • Friends of Hudson River Park – $38,188:  Hudson River Park WasteShark- Plastic Pollution Collection and Education Project will purchase and deploy an autonomous aquadrone called a WasteShark, designed to collect floating debris in the water while simultaneously gathering geospatial and water quality information.
  • Downtown Boathouse – $40,000:  Expansion of Free Kayaking Programs in Manhattan.  Downtown Boathouse will purchase kayaks, adaptive paddling, and safety equipment and build kayak and paddle racks at popular launch sites.  They also will expand the free kayaking programs to reach underserved communities, including training for youth.
  • Waterfront Alliance, Inc. – $39,341:  Estuary Explorers.  Waterfront Alliance will transform its coastal resilience education toolkit into a coastal resilience residency curriculum.  The residency will develop an implementation guide that will enable teachers to work together on estuary education and seek partnerships.  Funding will also support a pilot residency program in the schools, with four classes each over eight weeks in Environmental Justice communities in northern Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island.

Richmond County

  • NYC Dept of Parks & Recreation – $50,000:  Snug Harbor Green Infrastructure Design.  NYC Department of Parks & Recreation will develop designs for a rain garden in Snug Harbor Park on the north shore of Staten Island, to help manage untreated stormwater runoff that discharges directly into Harbor Brook.

The State’s Environmental Protection Fund has grown from its original appropriation of $31 million in fiscal year 1994-1995 to $300 million.  The Fiscal Year 2022 Enacted Budget sustains the EPF at $300 million, the highest level of funding in the program’s history.  Appropriations include $40 million for solid waste programs, $90 million for parks and recreation, $151 million for open space programs and $19 million for the climate change mitigation and adaptation program.  This investment will provide funding for critical environmental programs such as land acquisition, farmland protection, invasive species prevention and eradication, enhanced recreational access, water quality improvement, and an aggressive environmental justice agenda.