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NYSDEC and NY Sea Grant Announce $199,575 in Grants for Great Lakes Basin Projects
NY Great Lakes Basin Small Grants Program - Press Release

Along the Niagara River, which flows north from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. It forms part of the border between the province of Ontario in Canada and the state of New York in the U.S. Credit: Wikimedia Commons


Megan Gollwitzer, NYSDEC, P: 716-851-7201, E:

Brittney Rogers, NYSG, Extension Aide, P: 315-331-8415, E:

Eight Funded projects enhance community and ecosystem resiliency in the Great Lakes Basin

Albany, N.Y., September 19, 2017 - In partnership with New York Sea Grant, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced $199,575 in grants for eight projects that advance community and ecosystem resiliency goals consistent with New York’s Interim Great Lakes Action Agenda (GLAA). Projects will conserve and restore native wildlife and habitats, improve water quality, and increase resiliency for Great Lakes coastal communities.

“Improving water quality is essential to enhancing coastal resiliency and the local economies in the Great Lakes region that depend on clean and healthy waterways,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “These grants advance local solutions to build stronger, more resilient communities in the face of climate change and ensure that water quality is protected for people, fish and wildlife, and I look forward to watching these innovative projects move forward.”  

“New York Sea Grant is pleased to facilitate the funding and public extension of these projects and the environmental, economic and quality of life benefits that they will bring to New York’s coastal communities,” said NYSG Associate Director Katherine E. Bunting-Howarth. “We look forward to ensuring that the results, products, and lessons learned are extended for maximum value to all of New York’s Great Lakes communities and stakeholders.”

2017-2018 Great Lakes Basin Small Grants have been awarded to the following organizations:

  • Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper; $24,964: Riverkeeper will utilize an ecosystem-based management approach to engage and educate municipal leaders within the Niagara River watershed on known vulnerabilities of landscapes and place-based opportunities for habitat conservation and restoration of living infrastructure to support community and ecosystem resiliency. 

  • Erie County Department of Environment and Planning; $25,000: A feasibility study and design will be developed for a constructed wetland and green infrastructure practices in the Erie County-owned property along Big Sister Creek. If implemented, such projects would likely improve downstream water quality conditions at Bennett Beach.
  • Genesee RiverWatch; $24,805: A streambank restoration plan will be created for the Middle Genesee River Basin to identify segments that have significant bank erosion, propose restoration options and assess the cost and feasibility of a Middle Genesee River Program.

  • Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council; $25,000: The Regional Planning Council will create a model local law for inter-municipal project review to enhance coordinated land use decision-making and increase consideration of potential impacts. This law will outline a foundation by which a municipality can coordinate with neighboring municipalities to address concerns, including storm surges, changes in water levels, and inland flooding, to avoid adverse effects to “downstream” communities.

  • Livingston County Planning Department; $25,000: The Livingston County Planning Department and the Town of Livonia will install a rain garden, rain barrels, and restore the shoreline of Vitale Park on Conesus Lake.  Consistent with ecosystem-based management principles, each practice will serve as a functional demonstration project and will be accompanied by interpretive public education resources.

    Additional information on this project can be found via a December 2016 article in the Livingston County News, "State grant will bring improvements to Vitale Park, Chip Holt Nature Center."

  • The Nature Conservancy; $25,000: Development of an engineering study of the Naples Creek/Parish Flats area in Naples, NY, will inform the selection and design of restoration components that could intercept flows from farmlands, re-create wetlands, reconnect Naples Creek to its floodplain, improve grassland habitat, and install additional road stream crossings as potential future projects.

  • Water Education Collaborative; $24,806: The Water Education Collaborative H2O Hero program will be used to educate and engage residents and decision-makers in the Shipbuilders Creek Watershed in Monroe County to mitigate stormwater impacts through school and community events and stewardship activities. 

  • Western New York Land Conservancy; $25,000: The Conservancy will restore native sedge meadow and wet-mesic grassland wetlands on the Stella Niagara Preserve in Lewiston, NY.  This habitat restoration project is part of a larger plan to enhance ecological communities and provide low-impact public access at the preserve, and is based on an in-depth community and stakeholder engagement process.

New York’s Great Lakes Basin Small Grants 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.

New York Sea Grant administers New York’s Great Lakes Basin Small Grants Program in its third year of successfully funding projects that achieve goals of the GLAA, as identified by basin-wide stakeholders.

For more information on the Interim NYS Great Lakes Action Agenda, visit DEC’s Web site. For more information on the grant projects, visit

More Info: The Small Grants Process

New York Sea Grant solicited proposals for projects that address New York’s Interim Great Lakes Action Agenda goals as well as local priorities identified by Great Lakes sub-basin work groups representing Lake Erie, southwestern Lake Ontario, southeastern Lake Ontario and northeastern Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River areas. Group members include representatives of environmental organizations, academic institutions, state and federal agencies, local government, interested citizens, and other stakeholders. These regional stakeholder groups meet quarterly to identify and advance priorities to achieve GLAA goals using a place-based, ecosystem-based management approach.

The work groups identified maintaining and restoring healthy ecosystems and habitats, improved shoreline/riparian management, flooding avoidance and erosion control and planning for future coastal and community resilience as priorities.  Selected projects achieve many of these multiple benefits for ecosystems and people and demonstrate ecosystem-based management by proposing solutions that are innovative, integrated and based on sound science. 

More Info: New York Sea Grant

New York Sea Grant (NYSG), a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York, is one of 33 university-based programs under the National Sea Grant College Program (NSGCP) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The NSGCP engages this network of the nation’s top universities in conducting scientific research, education, training and extension projects designed to foster science-based decisions about the use and conservation of our aquatic resources. Through its statewide network of integrated services, NYSG has been promoting coastal vitality, environmental sustainability, and citizen awareness about the State’s marine and Great Lakes resources since 1971.

New York Sea Grant maintains Great Lakes offices at SUNY Buffalo, the Wayne County Cooperative Extension office in Newark and at SUNY Oswego. In the State's marine waters, NYSG has offices at Stony Brook University and Stony Brook Manhattan, in the Hudson Valley through Cooperative Extension in Kingston and at Brooklyn College. 

For updates on Sea Grant activities: has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube links. NYSG produces a monthly e-newsletter, "NOAA Sea Grant's Social Media Review," via its blog, Our program also offers a free e-list sign up via for its flagship publication, NY Coastlines/Currents, which is published 1-2 times a year.

More Info: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) was created on July 1, 1970 to combine in a single agency, all-state programs designed to protect and enhance the environment. The agency consists of a Central Office in Albany, NY, and an office in each of its nine regions that serve the communities within that region. The department has 24 divisions and offices and a total of approximately 3,000 staffers working in the central and regional offices. Connect with NYSDEC via, where you'll also find links to the organization's Facebook, Twitter and YouTube platforms.

New York Sea Grant Home *  NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Home

This website was developed with funding from the Environmental Protection Fund, in support of the Ocean and Great Lakes Ecosystem Conservation Act of 2006. 

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