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Community Risk and Resiliency Act and Rebuild by Design

The Community Risk and Resiliency Act was signed into law by New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo on September 22nd 2014. With support from a coalition led by the Nature Conservancy, this requires state governments to consider things like sea level rise, storms, and flooding when issuing certain funding and permits. This legislation is important because it demonstrates the forward thinking of New York’s government in terms of climate awareness and preparedness. State agencies are now required to assess future climate risks when making decisions concerning certain funding, permitting and regulatory decisions. These standards apply to things like:

  • Smart growth assessments
  • Placement of waste water treatment plants
  • Design and construction regulations for petroleum and chemical bulk storage facilities
  • Oil and gas drilling permits,
  • Properties listed in New York’s Open Space Plan
  • State assistance for local waterfront revitalization programs and coastal rehabilitation projects

An important part of the law is that the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) needs to come up with climate based predictions for sea level rise by January 1, 2016 and these predictions will be updated every 5 years. This is important because the data should give more accurate information concerning future risks. The DEC and Department of State (DOS) will also develop guidance on resiliency measures that utilize natural resources and natural processes to reduce risk. (When it comes to reducing erosional risks on the Hudson River look no further than the Sustainable Shorelines Project)

 

Community Resilience

New York City has some amazing plans to become more resilient! Looking into the future, New York’s reality is rising sea levels and increases in storm severity and occurrence. United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) launched the Rebuild by Design program.

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Proposed “New Meadowlands” design, New Jersey

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Proposed “Big U” design for Manhattan, NY

 

 According to their website:

“Rebuild by Design is pioneering new ways to design, fund, and implement a resilient future. Launched by HUD in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Rebuild by Design marshals the world’s greatest talents to answer a region’s greatest needs, while placing civic leaders and communities at the heart of the design process.”

Rebuild by Design will feature opportunities for public input to ensure communities have a say in how they can become more resilient.

The program is funding 930 million dollars for a number of different projects, seven of which are now under way. Using nature based features like wetlands and ecological restoration in the New Meadowlands, and flood protection methods like in the Big U (above), these designs will help highly urbanized systems become more resilient in the face of climate change. Another ecologically friendly design is the Living Breakwaters design proposed for Staten Island (below) which will offer storm protection while creating habitat for marine creatures.  Hurricane Sandy devastated the New York City area but when we look ahead to the future, communities will become stronger and more resilient while using ecologically friendly solutions and that is something to smile about!  Check more out at their website!

 

http://www.rebuildbydesign.org/

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Proposed “Living Breakwaters” design, Staten Island, NY

(All photos found on www.rebuildbydesign.org)

Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
NOAA National Estuarine Research Reserve System

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