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Building Community Flood Resilience

Following major New York State storm events Irene, Lee and Sandy in 2011 and 2012, concern and attention paid to extreme precipitation and flooding seemed to be at an all-time high. Though 2016 brought New York State one of its worst droughts in history, 2017 was again a year of serious flooding, this time on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence Seaway as regional precipitation hit record highs. Additional heavy precipitation events followed in 2018, this time impacting many Southern Tier counties bordering Pennsylvania. Across the state, citizens and decision makers are increasingly faced with complex choices about land use, economic development, and infrastructure investment in the context of flooding and extreme precipitation. Researchers, as well as extension staff, are increasingly being asked to forecast the probability of such flooding events and provide support to individuals and communities seeking to plan for, and respond to, flooding in more effective ways.

Check out WRI's climate resilience work in partnership with HREP staff.

Research Goals

  • Better understand how individuals and communities perceive flood risk and define resilience with the goal of improving extension and outreach to achieve flooding mitigation and adaptation

  • Improve our understanding of the value of Hudson River tidal wetlands to sequester greenhouse gases including the following:

  • How and why different tidal wetlands in the New York New Jersey Harbor and Hudson River Estuary region might vary in their ability to sequester carbon both within individual wetlands and among different wetlands

  • Which Hudson River tidal wetlands might be most valuable for carbon sequestration and how that might affect wetland management approaches

  • How NYS could capitalize on the carbon sequestration benefit of tidal wetlands in the region through future policy approaches including the recently passed Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act

Outreach Goals

Select Projects & Publications

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Key Actions to Promote Flood Resilience for NYS Communities

Jun 2, 2020

In the face of increasing storm intensities and changing landscapes, many NYS communities need to become more resilient to flooding—before, during, and after the event—but may not know where to start. Here are ten key actions that communities can take that have cascading effects, both to improve resiliency and to satisfy state and federal programs that promote flood resilience and can provide financial incentives to implementing these actions.

Developing a Municipal Downspout Disconnect and Green Infrastructure Program

May 4, 2020

One solution municipalities can use to address increasing runoff is to implement residential downspout disconnect and green infrastructure programs. The result is cost savings for wastewater utilities and decreased combined sewer overflow and stormwater runoff in neighborhoods and local waterways. This guidance lays out a step by step guide to disconnect program implementation.

WRI Staff member quoted in article highlighting the mental health risks of rising sea levels

Jul 9, 2019

Kristin Marcel, WRI staff member and Climate Resilience Program Coordinator for the Hudson River Estuary Program, was quoted based on her experience working with the town of Piermont, NY.  Piermont, just north of New York City, is at risk from rising sea level linked to climate change.  WRI’s Hudson River Estuary Climate Resilience Program, in partnership with the NY DEC, works with municipalities to adapt to climate related threats.  Learn more in this article about the Hudson River Estuary Program.