Plan seeks to cope with climate change

HUDSON–The county Environmental Management Council (EMC) heard a presentation last week about a project designed to help communities in the Hudson Valley as they prepare for the impacts of climate change.

Andy Peck of the Nature Conservancy told EMC representatives at their monthly meeting November 23 that a coalition of organizations is looking at local projects in the stretch of the Hudson River from the Tappan Zee Bridge to the Federal Dam in Troy as part of the Hudson River Comprehensive Restoration Plan. “We aren’t restoring back to anything,” he said, referring to the name of the initiative. “It’s preparing for uncertain future conditions.”

Mr. Peck, who holds a Ph.D. in environmental science, and Maureen Cunningham, from the Hudson River Watershed Alliance, attended the meeting as part of the community outreach of the restoration program. They are collecting suggestions for restoration projects in communities along the Hudson. Ms. Cunningham said that they hosted a meeting at Columbia-Greene Community College last winter and another one in Greene County to collect project ideas.

“It’s a dynamic plan so we’re not closing our door,” she said of people adding more projects for consideration at the website www.thehudsonweshare.org.

The plan is supported by 25 organizations, Mr. Peck said, a list that includes Scenic Hudson, the Hudson River Watershed Alliance and the Nature Conservancy, as well as the NOAA Restoration Center, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the New York State Department of State. NOAA is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a federal agency. There are 10 counties in the project area.

Locally, Mr. Peck and Ms. Cunningham have already met with representatives from the City of Hudson and with Stuyvesant Supervisor Ron Knott.

The basic qualification required for a project submission? “If it’s wet, we’re interested,” said Mr. Peck. He also said that they want to look at projects that involve habitat, river education and access issues. Right now they are looking at projects in communities with Hudson River shoreline, specifically “site specific plans,” so that when money is available from the state and federal level, projects can get started. He said they hoped to have a complete list of projects a year from now to “funnel up to the federal level.”

Mr. Peck said the group is also looking for three communities to start pilot projects and the program is interested in projects in rural and urban areas and a project in some area that is a combination of both.

Ms. Cunningham said they would try to come back to look at projects in the City of Hudson this winter and urged people with projects to submit them at the website above.

Also at the meeting:

  • The council heard a report from committee members about creating a countywide Natural Resources Inventory to be used by local municipalities, especially Planning and Zoning boards
  • Council members adopted a resolution in support of the state’s ban on micro-beads, tiny plastic beads used in some beauty products that do not dissolve and have become an issue in many lakes and water ways. The EMC urges the county legislature to support the state ban on the use of the beads.
  • Council member Deirdre Henderson, who represents the Town of Chatham, reported on Citizens’ Climate Lobby progress with a climate change bill supported by Congressman Chris Gibson (R-19th). She said the congressman is looking for more sponsors for the bill.

The EMC will not meet in December. The group generally meets on the fourth Monday of the month at 7 p.m. in the county offices on State Street in Hudson.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .

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