February 20, 2024
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Awards $1.8 Million in Grants for 26 Projects in Hudson River Communities

Governor Hochul Awards $1.8 Million in Grants for 26 Projects in Hudson River Communities

Grants Will Protect Watershed Communities from Future Flooding, Enhance River Access and Education, and Promote Environmental Stewardship

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced grant awards totaling more than $1.8 million for 26 projects to help communities along the Hudson River Estuary improve water quality, enhance environmental education and advance stewardship of natural resources. The grants complement the Governor’s comprehensive plan to protect communities from the impacts of climate change by investing in resilience.

"New York State is investing in projects that will improve resiliency and protect our natural resources both in the Hudson River Valley and across the state,” Governor Hochul said. “These 26 local grants will provide dozens of communities support to improve recreation, expand river access and education, and preserve and protect this iconic river for future generations of New Yorkers.”

Now in its 21st year, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Hudson River Estuary Grants Program implements priorities outlined in the Hudson River Estuary Action Agenda 2021-2025. To date, DEC’s Hudson River Estuary Program awarded 643 grants totaling more than $28 million. Funding for DEC’s Estuary Grants program is provided by New York State’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), a critical resource for environmental programs such as land acquisition, farmland protection, invasive species prevention and eradication, recreation access, water quality improvement, and environmental justice projects. Governor Hochul’s proposed 2024-25 Executive Budget maintains EPF funding at $400 million, the highest level of funding in the program’s history. 

Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “Thanks to Governor Hochul’s sustained efforts to bolster community resiliency to climate change’s impacts, $1.8 million in grants awarded today for 26 projects will help Hudson River Valley communities develop plans to both protect residents and natural resources from severe weather driven by climate change while strengthening ecosystems. These grants build upon local conservation efforts and priorities to sustainably improve water quality and protect the Hudson River.”

Grant recipients listed by region are:

MULTI-REGION

  • Riverkeeper, Inc.: $150,000 for “Dam Reconnaissance” on 12 Hudson River tributaries, targeting at least 16 priority dams whose removal will restore natural stream flow, improve habitat and aquatic connectivity, and benefit river herring and American eel, two Species of Greatest Conservation Need.
  • Hudson River Watershed Alliance: $75,000 for “Building Organizational Capacity for Watershed Planning and Implementation,” which will create a regional guidance document to define specific key roles on watershed planning and implementation for community-based watershed groups throughout the Hudson River Estuary Watershed. 
  • Pace University: $49,811 for “Flood Resilience Network Land Use Leadership Alliance Training Program,” a project with the Land Use Law Center which will implement a community-based Land Use Leadership Alliance (LULA) training program for five to seven municipalities that are members of the Hudson Valley Flood Resilience Network. The training provides climate change adaptation-focused policy, planning, and regulatory tools for shoreline resiliency and resilient communities. 

CAPITAL REGION

Albany County

  • Radix Ecological Sustainability Center: $65,625 for “Renewable Remediation for River Regeneration Round 2,” which will continue operation of Radix’s solar-powered boat to deploy and monitor artificial floating wetlands in the Hudson River near Albany’s South End neighborhood.

Columbia County

  • Columbia Land Conservancy, Inc.: $75,000 for “Columbia County Countywide Conservation and Open Space Plan,” which will engage a broad coalition of community partners to ensure that the countywide conservation vision responds to the needs of diverse communities, considers suitable renewable energy siting, and provides opportunities for the development of affordable housing.

Rensselaer County

  • Riverkeeper, Inc.: $150,000 for “Planning and Engineering for Kenwood Mill Dam Removal,” to continue working with Princeton Hydro to conduct hydrologic and hydraulic modeling on Kenwood Mill Dam on Mill Creek and produce final engineering design plans and permit applications, resulting in a shovel-ready project. 

MID-HUDSON VALLEY

Dutchess County 

  • Town of Red Hook: $109,000 for “Willets Drive West and East Culvert Replacements,” to develop shovel-ready designs for the replacement of two stream crossings in poor condition on town-owned Willets Drive West and East.
  • Town of Milan: $93,500 for “Woody Row Road Culvert Replacement,” to develop a shovel-ready design for the replacement of the stream crossing in poor condition on town-owned Woody Row Road.
  • Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum: $37,925 for “River Lab at the Discovery Museum,” a project to develop Hudson River Estuary education programs for elementary-age school groups and the public at the Poughkeepsie Waterfront Pavilion and in the museum. 

Orange and Ulster Counties

  • Bard College: $69,300 for “River Harmful Algal Blooms Watershed Characterization and Communication Toolkit,” to develop a Watershed Characterization report and communication materials focused on harmful algal blooms (HABs) in the Walkill River in partnership with the Wallkill River Watershed Alliance, Hudson River Watershed Alliance, and Riverkeeper. Inc.

Putnam County

  • Town of Kent: $40,825 for “Town of Kent Open Space Plan Initiative,” to complete a town-wide Open Space Inventory and Plan to develop strategies to conserve and protect its natural resources.

Putnam and Westchester Counties

  • Riverkeeper Inc.: $59,543 for “Nutrient Analysis in Peekskill Hollow Brook, a Regional Drinking Water Source,” a project that will use DEC’s Loading Estimator of Nutrient Sources (LENS) tool to estimate point and nonpoint phosphorus contributions in the Peekskill Hollow Brook watershed, to inform drinking water-source monitoring and protection or clean water plan development for the city of Peekskill and other stakeholders.

Rockland County

  • The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York: $75,245 for “Hudson River Education: Extending the Pathway into Climate,” a project that supports summer high school interns in Rockland County Potential Environmental Justice Area communities to deepen their science connection as they work on climate change impacts on the Hudson River. 
  • Village of Nyack: $17,000 for “Nyack Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Plan,” to conduct a vulnerability assessment and create an adaptation plan for Nyack residents and businesses that will address climate change hazards. The assessment will include frequency and duration of heat waves, increasing intensity of extreme weather events, rising sea levels, storm surge, and climate change-related disease. 

Ulster County

  • Arm of the Sea Productions, Inc.: $46,350 for “Resilient Electrical Service and ADA Lift for Tidewater Center,” to install resilient electrical service to the Arm-of-the-Sea Tidewater Center, connect that service to the outdoor performance space and Program Support Center, and install an electrically-powered, ADA-compliant lift for the Program Support Center. 
  • Town of Hurley: $36,800 for “Town of Hurley Natural Resources Inventory,” to engage a consultant to develop a Natural Resources Inventory to be used in conjunction with the 2018 Hurley Open Space Plan and an updated Comprehensive Plan to provide the tools needed to incorporate climate resilience and mitigation elements, improved wetland and watercourse protections, and critical environmental area protection in the Town Zoning Code.
  • Hudson River Maritime Museum: $20,000 for “Accessible Gangway for A-dock,” to purchase and install an ADA-compliant aluminum gangway to improve accessibility to the floating docks on the western side of the museum campus, referred to as “A-dock.” 
  • Town of Lloyd: $19,176 for “Illinois Mountain Connectivity Plan,” to complete a connectivity plan for Illinois Mountain Park, which will serve to evaluate and conserve natural resources through the creation of a connectivity plan and inform the development of a future conservation plan for the mountain.

Westchester County

  • Hudson Valley Stream Conservancy: $114,920 for “Sprout Brook Dam Removal Phase 2: Final Planning, Deconstruction and Stream Restoration,” which will complete the Sprout Brook Dam removal and stream restoration and will restore aquatic connectivity to the stream for migrating fish and eels. 
  • Village of Hastings-on-Hudson: $75,000 for “North Broadway/Zinsser Drainage,” a project to conduct the necessary planning and preliminary design for a new stormwater system to implement drainage improvements to control flooding in the village of Hastings-on-Hudson. 
  • Village of Ardsley: $59,384 for “Village of Ardsley Natural Resources Inventory,” to engage a consultant to complete a Natural Resources Inventory to identify areas for plant and animal habitat improvement, enhanced flood storage to facilitate resiliency, and to guide opportunities for green infrastructure in the Downtown Business District.
  • Town of Cortlandt: $50,000 for “Town of Cortlandt and Village of Croton Intermunicipal Natural Resources Inventory,” for the town of Cortlandt and village of Croton to complete an intermunicipal Natural Resources Inventory for both communities, to identify critical natural resources and to develop preservation and management strategies.

NEW YORK CITY

Kings County

  • Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy, Inc.: $100,000 for “Enhancement of Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy’s Environmental Education Center and Program,” a project to fund the conceptualization and design of several new state-of-the-art exhibits themed around the urban ecology of the New York Harbor. 

Kings, Queens, and New York Counties

  • City Parks Foundation: $100,000 for “Learn Coastal Classroom,” a project to support City Parks Foundation’s Coastal Classroom program, which teaches elementary, high school, and college students about the city’s waterways, from coastal ecology and human impacts on the environment, to stewardship, and more. 

New York County

  • Downtown Boathouse: $75,000 for “Expansion of Free Kayaking Programs in Manhattan,” to increase free and inclusive recreational access to the Hudson River by purchasing new adaptive equipment and specialty boats for people with disabilities, and by broadening community engagement with its off-season pool program.
  • New York Restoration Project: $47,364 for “The Living Shoreline at Sherman Creek Park [Phase 2]” to extend the Living Shoreline model to include and restore a five-acre tidal mudflat on the Harlem River waterfront in Northern Manhattan’s Sherman Creek Park.

In January, Governor Hochul announced a comprehensive resiliency plan to protect New Yorkers from extreme weather, flooding, and other climate impacts as part of her 2024 State of the State and included $435 million in the Executive Budget proposal to help implement the initiatives. Highlights include:

  • Creating the ‘Resilient & Ready’ Program to establish a flexible fund to support resiliency efforts for low- and moderate-income homeowners ahead of future storms. The program will enable State Homes and Community Renewal to assist households that experience flood damage to make necessary repairs in the aftermath of storms and will cover the cost of proactive flood mitigation improvements.
  • Creating the Blue Buffers Voluntary Buyout Program, with $250 million included in the 2024-25 Executive Budget to encourage buyouts in communities most vulnerable to flooding. The program will prioritize outreach and education first and then begin identifying voluntary projects based on the level of flood risk, ensuring we protect our communities that are most vulnerable to high water and storm surges.
  • Making major investments in statewide disaster response to put more boots on the ground, improve training and preparedness, and address evolving threats as they come.
  • Update Coastal Erosion Hazard Area (CEHA) Maps, which are essential to the protection of beaches, dunes, and bluffs that maintain and enhance flood resilience, so that communities and permit applicants quick quickly determine if a property is within a CEHA.

Contact the Governor’s Press Office

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