When thinking of countries that have had to deal with flood control and water management at an extensive level, one’s mind may instantly go to the Netherlands. Today, approximately 27 percent of the country is actually below sea level. This area is home to over 60 percent of the country’s population of 15.8 million people. Dealing with floods is second nature to the Dutch, who have gone to great measures to manage the impressive force of the North Sea and the country’s rivers, including the famous Rhine, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean at the critical port city of Rotterdam.
David Berg, AICP, LEED AP and Cameron Engineering & Associates, LLP gave a presentation for New York State’s Climate Smart Communities Program on many of the management techniques the Dutch have already implemented (or plan to implement) as this low-elevation nation continues to thrive in the face of the rising threat of global climate change and sea level rise.
Here are the slides from their presentation (two parts):
On Tuesday, October 2nd, the Resiliency Project hosted a seminar at its Dutchess County location entitled “Streams 101: Planning for Streamside Habitats and Flood Resilience”. This educational presentation provided basic information on stream dynamics – how streams naturally flow on the land, how streams respond to disturbance and problems that can arise from the interaction of streams and human-built infrastructure, especially during flood events. Presenters also touched on municipal case studies and useful planning tools and resources to assist municipalities in adapting and becoming more resilient to future flood events.
Check out the video recording:
Streams 101: Planning for Streamside Habitats and Flood Resilience from Hudson Estuary Resilience on Vimeo.
For links to this and our other presentations, visit our ‘Seminars’ section under Media!
Today, Monday September 22nd, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed into law the Community Risk and Resiliency Act, aimed at strengthening New York State’s preparedness for the effects of climate change and helping protect communities against severe weather and sea level rise. The Community Risk and Resiliency Act advances a number of important recommendations of the NYS 2100 Commission, which the Governor convened after Superstorm Sandy to develop more resilient infrastructure systems across the state.
For the complete press release from the Governor’s office, click here.
Earlier this month, New York State Attorney General’s Environmental Protection Bureau released a new report entitled “Current & Future Trends in Extreme Rainfall Across New York State”. The report details the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme rainfall events across New York State and the need to tackle climate change at the state level. It includes a historical analysis of 2-inch rainfall events in New York, which was conducted by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell University. That research shows a marked increase in the occurrences of 2-inch rainfalls beginning in the mid-1990s. Research from the Center also found that intervals between extreme “100-year” rainfall events shortened dramatically for the years 1978 to 2007, to a frequency of only 60 years.
The report also finds that the best-available scientific projections of precipitation trends suggest that we can expect the frequency of extreme rainfall events to increase in the future. According to the recent United States National Climate Assessment report, if current trends in greenhouse gas emissions remain as high as they are today for the remainder of this century, the frequency of extreme rainfall as measured by the 20-year daily storm may increase by up to 300% to 400% before the end of the 21st century.
To view the full report, click here.
Save the date! September 17-18, 2014
The New York State Water Resources Institute (WRI) and Community & Regional Development Institute (CaRDI) will be providing a conference - Water Resources Infrastructure: A Critical Piece of Community Development at Honor’s Haven Resort in Ellenville, NY
For more information, please visit the CaRDI site here!
Click the thumbnail below to see the flyer:
The Fall Kill by North Water St. in Poughkeepsie
This Watershed Wednesday we will be focusing on the Fall Kill! The Fall Kill is a creek in Dutchess County that flows south and west 16 miles from its headwaters in the towns of Hyde Park and Clinton to its mouth at the Hudson River in Poughkeepsie. Although the northern end of the Fall Kill is made up of a number of marshes and wetlands, towards its end, in the City of Poughkeepsie, the Fall Kill flows through a largely urbanized area, and 2.5 miles of it were channelized by stone walls during the period of the Great Depression. The creek’s drainage basin (watershed) accounts for over 12,000 acres in the western part of the county – an area in which roughly 30,000 people reside.
In a 2000 report, the NYS DEC listed the Fall Kill as a stream with impaired aquatic life as a result of urban runoff and suspected nutrients. The stream is classified as a class “C” stream – meaning it’s OK for fishing, but swimming is not recommended. The Fall Kill Watershed Committee was formed in 2002 with goals of 1) improving water quality to the point that the stream can support swimming and other forms of contact recreation; 2) protecting open space along the creek to provide habitat for fish and wildlife as well as places where humans can interact with the natural world; 3) providing more public access to the creek and increase recreational opportunities for the public to enhance a sense of community ownership and caring; and 4) developing educational programs to inform the public and policy makers about the ecological and historical significance of the creek.
One such educational program is Cornell Cooperative Extension of Dutchess County’s No Child Left Inside (Dutchess NCLI) program, which has just started its second year. NCLI, led by Carolyn Klocker of CCEDC, is a program that teaches youth and adults more about their environment in the Hudson Valley Region. The program hires teenagers (age 14-19) from the City of Poughkeepsie and provides them with the training and the skills necessary to become Youth Environmental Educators in the program. This past year, NCLI has learned a lot about the Fall Kill Creek and its watershed. The youth educators spent a great deal of time and hard work creating a series of podcasts pertaining to the creek, it’s ecology, history, and water quality, and to flood issues in general. Check out their fantastic new website complete with podcasts and interviews with local watershed experts, as well as photos and more information on the Fall Kill Creek. For more information regarding CCEDC’s No Child Left Inside program, please contact:
Carolyn A Klocker
Sr. Water Resource Educator
Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County
2715 Route 44, Millbrook, NY 12545
845-677-8223, ext. 135
…and for more information on the Fall Kill, please visit DutchessWatersheds.org’s page on the creek here!
Hurricane Irene over the Northeast
August 27th-28th, 2011 – Hurricane Irene hits the northeastern U.S., causing disastrous flooding throughout the Hudson Valley, and the Mid-Atlantic and New England as a whole. It cost the Northeast billions of dollars in damages, and a few dozen lives lost.
The Catskills region got hit exceptionally hard. Here’s Windham, NY.
August 28th, 2014 – Today, 3 years later, the Hudson Estuary Watershed Resiliency Project’s mission is to educate communities and help them deal with flooding issues – many of which were influenced by Irene’s devastating forces – and to help them prepare for severe weather events and flooding in the future.
Here’s an article from the Watershed Post on Hurricane Irene’s 3 year anniversary.
For more information on what you can do to help reduce flooding in your community – whether you’re a landowner, municipal official, or highway personnel/DPW – please visit our Resources section.
Starting this week, look to our blog for your mid-week “Watershed Wednesday” highlight! Every week, on Wednesday, we will highlight certain topics that make up the physical, ecological, biological, and social aspects of our Hudson River Estuary Watershed.
This first Watershed Wednesday, we are focusing on the NYS DEC’s Trees for Tribs program!
The Hudson Estuary Trees for Tribs (‘tribs’ as in tributaries) program engages volunteers in restoring thousands of feet of streamside buffer through the planting of native trees and shrubs. The program offers land owners with free native trees and shrubs for qualifying riparian buffer planting/restoration projects. Trees for Tribs staff may also be able to assist with plant selection, designing a planting plan, and other technical support to improve the odds of success for projects.
Riparian (streamside) buffers are a major component to maintaining healthy streams and waters and their conservation is a critical element of any holistic watershed program. Riparian areas are often severely damaged during the land development process, leading to unintended negative impacts to our streams and rivers. Composed of trees, shrubs and grasses, these buffers help to reduce pollution entering waterways by slowing down and filtering runoff, thus extending retention time and improving water quality. Buffers also help to reduce flooding and erosion by stabilizing shorelines and absorbing high velocity flows. In addition, they serve an important role for wildlife as a shoreline transition zone and travel corridor, not to mention increasing overall biodiversity and improving in-stream health.
For more information on the project, site selection, and how to apply, as well as a number of links and resources pertaining to streamside buffers and tree planting, please visit the NYS DEC’s Hudson Estuary Trees for Tribs site here, or contact:
Beth Roessler, Hudson River Estuary Program’s Riparian Buffer Coordinator
21 South Putt Corners Rd.
New Paltz, NY 12561
phone (845) 256-2253
Tomorrow night (Tuesday, April 26th), the Resiliency Project will be presenting a seminar - ‘Planning for Streamside Habitats and Flood Resilience’ – in Catskill, NY (Greene County). The event will be held at the Catskill Town Hall (439 Main Street, Catskill, NY) from 5:00-7:00 PM
This seminar will be presented by Ron Frisbee of CCE Columbia-Greene and Gretchen Stevens of Hudsonia, and will include an overview of stream dynamics and flooding, and a presentation on Catskill Creek habitats and their role in flood prevention. This seminar will increase your understanding of how streams work and steps communities can take to decrease vulnerability to flooding.
The event is free and open to public, but we ask that you please register beforehand at 518-622-9820 ext. 33
Sunset at Tivoli Bays with views of the Catskills
This Friday, we’re highlighting Tivoli Bays – a great example of intertidal marshes in our Hudson River Estuary. Located right on the river just south of the village of Tivoli in northern Dutchess County, the bays are home to a multitude of different habitats: freshwater intertidal marsh, open waters, riparian areas, subtidal shallows, mudflats, tidal swamp and mixed forest uplands. The north bay, an intertidal marsh, is perfect for canoeing or kayaking. The south bay is a different habitat completely – a large, shallow cove with mudflats which are exposed at low tide. Also found at the site are a number of a trails that meander through the uplands bordering the bays, Cruger and Magdalene Islands, and the mouths of two Hudson River tributary streams – the Stony Creek and the Saw Kill.
Marsh at Tivoli Bays
The marshes found in the Tivoli Bays perform a wide range of ecosystem services for us. Not only do they provide excellent habitat for birds and aquatic animals, but they are excellent natural tools for flood mitigation. The marshes and their vegetation help by acting as a barrier to the land behind them and providing a buffer from storm surge, as well as helping to filter floodwaters from the tributaries and the estuary itself. Finally marshes can help to provide stabilization to the stream bank and reduce erosion downstream.
Canoe launch on the north bay
Tivoli Bays is a great place to go canoeing/kayking or hiking. The north bay has a canoe launch that is usable at all tides and is easily accessible by car from Kidd Lane. Bird-watching is a great activity at Tivoli Bays, and bald eagles can often be spotted, as well as a number of marsh birds. If canoeing or kayaking isn’t your cup of tea, there are also a number of trails that run along the uplands adjacent to the Bays which follow numerous ravines and ridges, and provide varied and interesting terrain.
For a map of the Tivoli Bays area including the canoe launch and hiking trails, or for more information, please visit the NYS DEC’s Tivoli Bays website here.
Grab your canoe or kayak this weekend and take a paddle around some of the Hudson River’s tidal wetlands at Tivoli Bays!