Awards to Help Develop Innovative, Broad-Based Resiliency Plans to Better Prepare for and Recover from Extreme Weather Events
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that five counties will receive grants totaling $1 million to combat man-made climate change. The grants will be used to help the counties develop resiliency plans to better prepare for, and efficiently recover from severe weather events in an era of increased storm and severe weather risk.
The five counties awarded funding through the grant are: Albany, Genesee, Orange, Sullivan and Tompkins.
"With unpredictable weather becoming more and more frequent, we can't afford to wait for the next storm to happen before working to protect our communities and infrastructure," Governor Cuomo said. "This funding will help counties across New York develop plans to prepare for future disastrous weather events and protect New Yorkers from some of the unpredictable ramifications of man-made climate change."
"We're investing in projects and programs to combat the threat of climate change and ensure communities are prepared for extreme weather events," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "This funding for counties in upstate New York will support innovative resiliency plans and ensure the safety of New Yorkers."
The $1 million, funded through the State Environmental Protection Fund's Smart Growth Program, will be used by the counties to create a pipeline of projects to protect streams, coasts and critical infrastructure, increasing the flood resiliency of their communities. The grant program builds on the Governor's NY Rising Community Reconstruction Initiative after Superstorm Sandy, which was recognized by the Harvard Kennedy School's Ash Center for Innovation in Government as a Top Ten innovative program in 2015.
Each county will use the funding to develop resiliency plans and identify projects while incorporating the principles of smart, sustainable growth and development. The plans funded through the grant will address:
- An increase in frequency and severity of storm and precipitation events;
- Sea-level rise;
- Storm surge;
- Coastal and riverine flooding;
- Drought; and
- Debris and ice jams.
The Smart Growth Grant Program was announced in December 2016 at Governor Cuomo's Sustainable Development & Collaborative Governance conference in Binghamton. At the event and at nine additional conferences across the State, panelists and speakers from each region discussed different ways that communities have addressed sustainable development and community resiliency. Fourteen counties applied for the competitive grant, with the five winning counties achieving the highest scores.
New York State Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, "New York's Smart Growth program ensures that communities across the state have resources to combat climate change. With these grants, these five counties will be able to better plan for damaging events and protect their residents and businesses."
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "The awards announced today will provide resources to these communities, bolstering their resiliency to our changing climate. Thanks to Governor Cuomo's leadership, New York's communities have tools and resources to prepare for our changing climate and are positioned to better protect our citizens, public infrastructure, buildings, and other assets. While the federal government is actively ignoring climate-related challenges to our communities, New York is working to protect our citizens and public investments from climate-driven severe weather events and flooding hazards."
Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "Riverine, coastal and watershed communities face an increasing risk from extreme weather events and flooding. As Governor Cuomo reminds us, the next bad storm could come tomorrow. Planning and preparing for these events is more important than ever and these awards will help communities take a holistic approach to preserving and protecting life, property, community, and commerce."
Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Roger L. Parrino, Sr. said, "Flooding is the number one risk in New York and these funds will help these counties improve their resiliency against future severe storms."
New York State Association of Counties Executive Director Stephen Acquario said, "County leaders across New York are always looking for new, effective ways to protect residents from the next big weather event. Governor Cuomo's Smart Growth grant program gives counties additional resources to build resilient communities and create a more sustainable future."
Albany County Executive Dan McCoy said, "Governor Cuomo has led the nation in the fight against climate change. At a time when inclement and unpredictable weather is on the rise, protecting our communities and infrastructure is more important now than ever. These funds will ensure these high-risk counties are prepared for the State's next extreme weather event."
Genesee County Legislature Chairman Robert Bausch said, "The Smart Growth grant program has provided some of our State's most vulnerable counties with the resources they need to ensure they are prepared for the next severe weather event. We can never be sure when the next disastrous storm will hit. With this funding to build more resilient communities and fight against the devastating effects, Governor Cuomo is creating a more sustainable New York for all."
Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus said, "We must build our communities and infrastructure to withstand powerful storms. This funding is an important part of keeping our communities ready to deal with these increasingly unpredictable weather events. I appreciate the opportunity to work with Governor Cuomo on this and other initiatives to secure our public facilities and homes against extreme weather events."
Sullivan County Legislature Chairman Luis A. Alvarez said, "Preparing our natural resources and infrastructure to withstand and recover from severe weather is essential to our State's economy. These targeted state funds have proven to be a key strategy for helping communities protect their homes and infrastructure against storm damage. I applaud Governor Cuomo for recognizing how climate change can drastically affect the weather and for working to protect future generations of New Yorkers and their communities."
Tompkins County Legislature Chair Martha Robertson said, "Whether you 'believe in it' or not, climate change is already leading to unpredictable, destructive weather events, impacting our farms, cities, homes, and infrastructure. While the federal government continues to ignore its responsibility to address the ever-increasing effects of human-made climate change, New York is accelerating progress toward a more resilient state. With these funds, Governor Cuomo is ensuring that our communities will be protected against damage caused by these unpredictable events."