Faced with high water, Hudson towns are reinventing waterfronts

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NEW YORK STATE (CORNEL) — With waters rising on the Hudson River from a rapidly warming climate, cities and towns along the banks of the river now have an opportunity to save and reinvent – ​​in terms of economic development and conservation of natural resources – their municipal waterfronts.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservationin partnership with Cornell, announces a chance for Hudson’s riverside communities to host the university’s Department of Landscape Architecture Climate Adaptive Design Studio in fall 2022 – to explore creating climate-resilient waterfronts.

“The Hudson River Valley is a wonderful place to live and work,” said studio director Josh Cerra, associate professor of landscape architecture at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “He has such a sensitive and natural beauty, character and community. How can we put this together in a future where climate change is in the mix? That’s what this project is about. »

By July, Cornell and DEC will select a town along the Hudson, where Cornell students will create new waterfront plan ideas in the fall. To be considered for hosting the Cornell Climate-Adaptive Studio, cities must submit a letter of interest to Lyndsey Cooper, Hudson River Estuary Program Climate Awareness Specialist, via email at Lyndsey.Cooper @dec.ny.gov before 5 p.m. on Monday. , May 2. Visit the Cornell Climate Adaptive Studio website for instructions for submitting a letter of interest.

Cerra students will study the selected municipality to work with local voters and assemble waterfront designs.

Over the past eight years, Cornell students have worked to develop waterfronts with the towns of Kingston, Hudson and Poughkeepsie, and the villages of Piermont, Ossining and Catskill. Last year, CED awarded grants of $250,000 to Ossining and Hudson to advance the design and implementation of Climate-Adaptive Studio-inspired projects on their shores.

“We work with small communities, which are limited in terms of staff and financial resources,” said Libby Zemaitis, Resilient Communities Program Manager at DEC, who has worked with Cerra on this project since 2015. “To have a group de Cornell students come in and provide great design assistance, which is really a huge plus for these cities. It doesn’t get any better than that.

In a 2018 report, the DEC projected that the lower Hudson River could rise 2 to 10 inches by the end of the 2020s. This projection rises 8 to 30 inches in the 2050s and increases to at 58 inches, or nearly five feet, in the 2080s. The Hudson could rise up to 75 inches higher from the current base by the turn of the next century. Funding for the CAD Studio is provided by the New York Environmental Protection Fund and is administered by DEC’s Hudson River Estuary Program in partnership with the State of Water Resources Institute of New York at Cornell.

“The Climate Adaptive Design Studio Opportunity…supports New York State’s ongoing efforts to stimulate and improve community preparedness for the threats posed by extreme weather events and sea level rise on the tide of the Hudson River,” said DEC commissioner Basil Seggos. “[This] is an example of the holistic approach needed to tackle the climate challenge head-on.

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