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New York Coastal Resilience Law and Policy Fellows Assemble Resources to Help Communities
Publications: Success Stories - Extension (2021)

2020 NYSG Coastal Resilience Law and Policy Fellows: (l-r) Connor Lie-Spahn, Emma A. Campbell, Nicholas Pistory.


Kathy Bunting-Howarth, NYSG's Associate Director, E: keb264@cornell.edu, P: 607-255-2832

New York Sea Grant led the creation of a New York Coastal Resilience Law and Policy Program, providing communities with legal information to help increase local resilience while enhancing the educational experience of law students

Ithaca, NY, March 8, 2021 - Coastal communities are exposed to a host of unique natural, ecological, and man-made concerns which impact their shorelines, economies, and residents. Development and redevelopment can be challenging in these areas with climate change-given sea level rise, extreme storms and precipitation, and other natural stressors.

New York Sea Grant (NYSG) received two Legal Capacity Building grants from the National Sea Grant Law Center to explore the creation of a New York Coastal Resilience Law and Policy Program. For the first grant, NYSG interviewed law school professors and local governments to assess needs that such a potential program could serve. At a subsequent workshop, the participating law school professors and NYSG Extension professionals reviewed the findings, brainstormed options to create a Law and Policy Program, and determined that NYSG should apply for a second grant to hold a Summer Fellowship program. This mutually-beneficial collaboration among NYSG, University at Buffalo School of Law, Pace University School of Law, and the City University of New York School of Law would create tools for communities and provide law students with real-world policy experience.

During the summer of 2020, three law fellows, one from each participating university, worked with NYSG Extension specialists on a project specific to their geography and local community needs. The results included a white paper and ArcGIS story maps (www.nyseagrant.org/lawfellowships):

1) Planning for Climate Change Where You Live: A Guide for Local Governments and Community Members on the Hudson River (Emma Campbell),

2) The Lower Scajaquada Creek: Empowering Communities Through Historical and Legal Analysis (Nicholas Pistory), and

3) Carnasie Resilient: Navigating Resiliency on Brooklyn’s Jamaica Bay (Connor Lie-Spahn).

This new partnership created a fellowship program that provided law students with an opportunity to apply legal skills while developing resources needed by local communities in three distinct areas of New York State.

“I plan to use my background in geology, sociology, and environmental law to have a positive impact on the world. I learned a lot working with New York Sea Grant, including how to engage with community members and community groups.” — Nicholas Pistory, University at Buffalo law student, 2020 NYSG Coastal Resilience Law and Policy Fellow

Project Partners:

• City University of New York School of Law 
• Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University
• University at Buffalo School of Law 
• Funding: National Sea Grant Law Center

More Info:
New York Sea Grant

New York Sea Grant (NYSG), a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York (SUNY), is one of 34 university-based programs under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant College Program.

Since 1971, NYSG has represented a statewide network of integrated research, education and extension services promoting coastal community economic vitality, environmental sustainability and citizen awareness and understanding about the State’s marine and Great Lakes resources.

Through NYSG’s efforts, the combined talents of university scientists and extension specialists help develop and transfer science-based information to many coastal user groups—businesses and industries, federal, state and local government decision-makers and agency managers, educators, the media and the interested public.

The program maintains Great Lakes offices at Cornell University, SUNY Buffalo, SUNY Oswego and the Wayne County Cooperative Extension office in Newark. In the State's marine waters, NYSG has offices at Stony Brook University in Long Island, Brooklyn College and Cornell Cooperative Extension in NYC and Elmsford and Kingston in the Hudson Valley.

For updates on Sea Grant activities: www.nyseagrant.org has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube links. NYSG offers a free e-list sign up via www.nyseagrant.org/nycoastlines for its flagship publication, NY Coastlines/Currents, which is published quarterly.

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