New York Sea Grant Welcomes Katie Graziano as Jamaica Bay Coastal Resilience Specialist
Jamaica Bay / NYC - Press Release

“Flood Watch” Project, a community science-driven initiative in collaboration with NYC Mayor’s Office of Resilience, is a focus in Oct. 27th Cornell “Extension Out Loud” Podcast


Kathy Bunting-Howarth, NYSG's Associate Director, E:, P: 607-255-2832

Katie Graziano, NYSG Coastal Resilience Extension Specialist, E:, P: 718-951-5415

Brooklyn, NY, October 27, 2020 - New York Sea Grant is pleased to announce the arrival of Katie Graziano as New York Sea Grant’s (NYSG) Jamaica Bay Coastal Resilience Specialist. Graziano, a Cornell University alumna, will develop outreach programs to support community engagement and the extension of research efforts to enhance community resilience within the Jamaica Bay Watershed. This watershed is a heavily urbanized, densely populated and ecologically critical 18,000-acre wetland estuary surrounded by the Rockaway Peninsula to the South, Brooklyn to the West, and Queens to the East. 

"Increasing coastal urban resilience is a matter of applying general principles of coastal hazards and climate change preparedness to the unique environment of densely populated urban communities,” said Kathy Bunting-Howarth, NYSG's Associate Director. “We are excited that Katie will be joining us to further serve and develop relationships with and communities in the Jamaica Bay watershed."

In her role, Graziano works in collaboration with the Science and Resilience Institute @ Jamaica Bay (SRIJB), which is located on the Brooklyn College campus. Says Bunting-Howarth of the partnership, "New York Sea Grant is proud to continue our work with the Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay. Together we foster a knowledge exchange between local residents and New York metro researchers and agencies."

Graziano is no stranger to the communities of Jamaica Bay. Prior to her joining NYSG she was a project scientist at SRIJB, coordinating a multi-partner effort to design and pilot a monitoring framework that evaluates the ecological, social, and structural performance of shoreline features in New York State. This effort explored the best ways to assess the function of a full spectrum of shoreline types, from natural features (i.e. wetlands, dunes) and nature-based features (i.e. living shorelines), to hard structural features (i.e. concrete walls, rock revetments). The monitoring framework will inform shoreline decisions by providing data on performances across multiple benefits—such as social, ecological and physical shoreline stabilization.

While SRIJB's project scientist, Graziano also provided management and coordination support to “Cycles of Resilience,” an innovative effort to span community priorities, city planning and ongoing scientific research to build place-based resilience.

“The Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay is thrilled to continue our partnership with New York Sea Grant in support of communities and agencies around Jamaica Bay as they face important decisions about climate adaptation and resource stewardship,” said SRIJB Executive Director Brett Branco. “Katie brings a wealth of experience and knowledge about the challenges faced by coastal communities. We look forward to working closely with Katie on research, education and stakeholder engagement initiatives that increase coastal resilience.” 

As NYSG’s Jamaica Bay Coastal Resilience Specialist, Graziano will work in partnership with SRIJB and the NYC’s Mayor’s Office of Resilience to expand Flood Watch, which, as detailed in a March 2020 NYSG news item, is a community-driven program to document flooding, enhance flood forecasting, and improve government response. 

"Using photographs and reports collected by trained community members, Flood Watch helps report flooding events in the Jamaica Bay watershed," said Graziano. "This kind of citizen science can help researchers visualize how ‘normal’ high tides could look in the future due to sea level rise, as well as improve the science and computer models of flooding. These images and community knowledge can also help city leaders, who may not be aware of what is happening on-the-ground, to understand and grasp what is happening in coastal communities."

On October 27th, she discussed this effort on Cornell Cooperative Extension’s “Extension Out Loud” podcast.

Also, additional information about the podcast series can be found on CCE's "Extension Out Loud" page

Flooding doesn't only happen on bad weather days. The phenomenon of “sunny day flooding” is just as it sounds–the weather may have been sunny, dry and calm for a week and yet the rising tide works its way up through storm drains, flooding the streets with seawater. The parking lot of the Howard Beach Motor Boat Club turned into a reflecting pool with several inches of seawater on the evening of  May 15th, 2019, coincidental with a Flood Forum designed to provide resources for community members to prepare for the risks and challenges of coastal homeownership in the face of rising seas and a changing climate. The impact of the flooding was tangible as attendees removed shoes and socks to wade through the parking lot to the entrance. Credit: Ryan Strother / NYSG.

Before coming to Jamaica Bay in September 2018 Graziano worked with the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. While there, she managed federally-funded watershed projects that restore natural habitat and minimize the impact of land-based sources of pollution on coastal ecosystems.

Graziano earned a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources from Cornell University and a Master of Marine and Environmental Affairs from the University of Washington in Seattle. She has a love of activities in the water, most of all surfing.

Graziano is based out of SRIJB at Brooklyn College and can be reached at or (718) 951-5415.

More Info: New York Sea Grant and SRIatJB

The Science and Resilience Institute @ Jamaica Bay (SRIJB) is a research center focused on enhancing environmental, social, and economic resilience in communities of Jamaica Bay funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and the City of New York.

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, University at 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 Kingston in the Hudson Valley.

For updates on Sea Grant activities: has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube links. NYSG offers a free e-list sign up via for its flagship publication, NY Coastlines/Currents, which is published quarterly. Our program also produces an occasional e-newsletter,"NOAA Sea Grant's Social Media Review," via its blog,

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