Helping communities become climate resilient

Climate adaptation is local. The Hudson River Estuary Program and its partners work to engage, educate and empower communities to adapt to climate change.

Recognizing leaders with NYS Climate Smart Communities

Climate Smart Communities is a New York State program that helps local governments take steps to ensure we live in a resilient society that keeps pace with a changing ecosystem for decades to come, by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to a changing climate. The program offers free technical assistance, grants, and rebates. Communities in our region are climate leaders: 120 of the 261 (47%) estuary municipalities are registered Climate Smart Communities (CSCs), compared to 20% statewide. 26 (10%) are ambitious certified CSCs, compared to 4% statewide. The Estuary Program is actively encouraging this participation in the CSC program.

Helping communities complete adaptation actions

Cornell Cooperative Extensions (CCEs) are working directly with municipalities to help them complete Adaptation Actions (chapter 7) from the Climate Smart Communities (CSC) certification program.

This year's work supports Columbia-Greene, Dutchess and Ulster CCEs and 13 municipal and county partners to complete 17 adaptation actions from the CSC certification program. Adaptation actions include culvert management plans, water infrastructure inventories, vulnerability assessments, residential flood guides and more. The project will additionally fund CCE to support five municipalities to achieve CSC certification. For events and more information on this project, please visit Climate Resilience Partnership.

Flood Resilience Network

The Estuary Program supports municipal resilience planning to study flood risks and solutions for their waterfronts. A group of leading communities meet as a Flood Resilience Network to share insights and lessons learned, and work together on solutions. The network is led by a collaboration with NY Sea Grant, the Hudson River Watershed Alliance, the Consensus Building Institute, and Scenic Hudson. You can read the final waterfront resilience plans online (PDF) from leading communities: KingstonPiermont, and Catskill.

Additional support

The Climate Change program provides the latest information on climate projections and support programs. Please visit our page on Resources for Building Resilience next. We also work directly with communities to provide climate summaries that can be used in a variety of planning processes, and bring in Cornell Landscape Architecture students to provide inspirational climate-adaptive design concepts.