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NY Sea Grant and DEC Award $200,000 to Projects to Enhance Community and Ecosystem Resiliency

Ithaca, N.Y.; May 4, 2018.  Wayne County communities will benefit from two grant awards recently announced by New York Sea Grant in partnership with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

The Genesee-Finger Lakes Regional Planning Commission, Rochester, NY, has received a $25,000 grant for a Post-Flood Recovery Building Workshop. Through a whole community-driven planning process, all stakeholder groups in the Sodus Point area can react to the 2017 flood and erosion event along Lake Ontario by identifying past, current, and future challenges and strengths based on infrastructure, environment, economy, tourism, and other community components. Actions to improve community resilience to future high and low water levels and to better integrate coastal resiliency efforts into local planning and management will be developed and prioritized.

The Environmental Finance Center at Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, has received $25,000 for a project titled Creating Community and Watershed Resiliency through Training and Technical Assistance. This project will offer two workshops to spur shoreline and upland communities toward implementing Ecosystem-based Management in community planning efforts, specifically to increase flood resiliency. Participants will be equipped with the tools and knowledge to cope with flooding events while maintaining ecosystem integrity and balancing the economic and social needs of their communities. Educational materials and resiliency financing plans will be developed in communities along the southern Lake Ontario shore in Wayne County.

Consistent with New York’s Great Lakes Action Agenda (GLAA), the projects are enhancing community and ecological resiliency throughout the watershed, while supporting water quality improvements and the restoration of native wildlife and habitats.

“These grant projects are part of New York’s ongoing commitment to strengthen the New York Great Lakes Basin environment and economy. For the third year in a row, Governor Cuomo has sustained the State’s Environmental Protection Fund at $300 million, supporting critical projects in the Great Lakes watershed and across the state, protecting and enhancing New York’s unmatched natural resources,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos.

New York Sea Grant Associate Director Katherine E. Bunting-Howarth said, “These small grants address a broad range of opportunities to implement projects from Western New York to the St. Lawrence River region. Projects utilize living shoreline practices to protect property, enhance aquatic habitat, assess wastewater system upgrade options, and inform local stakeholders about resilience practices, while applying a comprehensive ecosystem-based management approach to benefit New York’s Great Lakes environmental and human communities and stakeholders.”

New York Sea Grant administers New York’s Great Lakes Basin Small Grants Program, now in its fourth year of successfully funding projects that achieve goals of the GLAA, as identified by basin-wide stakeholders. The Program is a project of the state Environmental Protection Fund’s Ocean and Great Lakes Ecosystem Conservation Program.  Grant projects support the goals of the Interim Great Lakes Action Agenda, a plan for applying ecosystem-based management to complex environmental problems in order to conserve, protect and enhance irreplaceable Great Lakes natural resources.

The 2018-2019 Great Lakes Basin Small Grant award recipients also include:
. Town of Greece, Greece, NY, $25,000: Waterfront Infrastructure Resiliency Assessment
. The Nature Conservancy, Rochester, NY, $25,000:  Salmon Creek/South Avenue Engineering Study
. City of Ogdensburg, Ogdensburg, NY, $25,000: Alternative Solutions for Managing Erosion: Engineered Solutions vs. Nature-Based Approach and the Implications for Access to Waterfront Recreation
. Onondaga Environmental Institute, Syracuse, NY, $24,987: Improving Aquatic Habitat Connectivity in the Onondaga Creek Watershed for Coldwater Species Restoration in the Face of a Changing Climate
. St. Lawrence County, Canton, NY, $25,000: Enhancing Shoreline Resilience Along the St. Lawrence River in St. Lawrence County; and
. Western New York Land Conservancy, East Aurora, NY, $25,000: Enhancing Ecosystem Integrity and Climate Resiliency by Restoring Rare Wetland Seep Ecosystems in the Niagara Gorge.

For more information on the Interim NYS Great Lakes Action Agenda, visit DEC’s website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/91881.html. For more information on the grant projects, go to http://www.nyseagrant.org/glsmallgrants.

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