NYSG Featured in NYSDEC's 2018-2020 Great Lakes Program Progress Report
New York's Great Lakes - News

People and communities are benefiting from collaborative projects, including a number of them with Sea Grant, to restore New York's Great Lakes resources

Ithaca, NY, February 5, 2021 -  New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has released its 2018-2020 Great Lakes Program Report (pdf) on the restoration and protection of New York's Great Lakes resources. The release also marks DEC's 50th anniversary, which it celebrated in 2020.

Prepared every two years, the report highlights partnerships and achievements completed during the prior two years, including improving resilience to coastal and tributary flooding impacts, protecting source waters, and accelerating restoration initiatives in communities that have been historically and disproportionately impacted by environmental pollution, called Environmental Justice communities.

"The Great Lakes are an irreplaceable source of clean drinking water and support a wide range of opportunities for outdoor recreation that New Yorkers and visitors can enjoy all year round," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos.

"The New York Great Lakes Action Agenda continues to serve as an integrated action plan to promote these sustainable uses while also protecting water quality, fish and wildlife habitat, and the communities dependent on these resources. The 2018-2020 report showcases how state, regional, and local partners have worked together to protect our shared natural resources, contributing to an improved quality of life for the region and state."

New York's Great Lakes Program and partners have advanced the goals of the Great Lakes Action Agenda (GLAA) by balancing the needs of residents, nature, and the economy through collaborative, science-based decision-making. Ongoing efforts will build on current successes and promote the understanding of and appreciation for the many beautiful places and important water resources of the Great Lakes Basin.

The 2018-2020 progress report highlights a number of GLAA efforts and details how DEC and its partners, including New York Sea Grant (NYSG), are restoring environmental quality, conserving natural resources, promoting resilient communities, and supporting sustainable development.

Sandy Pond inlet and barrier beach aerial. Credit: Roy Widrig/NYSG.

One topic where the DEC-NYSG partnership is highlighted in the report (on page 12) is Great Lakes coastal resiliency, examples of which include: 

(a) Shoreline erosion support, which includes Sea Grant's how-to expertise, a 16-page guidebook, virtual site visit options, and a contractor list; 

(b) New York’s Great Lakes Coastal Resilience Index, a 44-page report that includes a self-assessment checklist to help communities investigate their vulnerabilities to coastal flooding and weather disasters such as blizzards, flash floods, and windstorms; 

(c) Post-flood recovery visioning with the Village of Sodus Point, a workshop that focused on a visioning process to help communities improve resiliency to future flooding events; and 

(d) Lake Ontario Inundation Mapping Tools to show inundation impacts at varying lake levels.

"Monitoring Shoreline Resiliency Outcomes" is mentioned on page 13, an effort which NYSG helped to pilot a statewide framework for in 2019.

Another example (on page 15) is the Great Lakes Ecosystem Education Exchange (GLEEE), a DEC-NYSG program which, in 2019 and 2020, engaged 62 teachers and up to 18,362 students in Great Lakes stewardship activities. GLEEE’s new focus on environmental justice communities connects with youth who are underrepresented in environmental education, and encourages them to pursue environmental careers. More on GLEEE via NYSG's March 2020 success story, "NYSG and DEC's GLEEE Empowers Educators."

Additionally (on page 17), the Great Lakes Small Grant Program is a DEC-funded effort administered by NYSG. From 2018–2020, the program provided $200,155 in funds from the Environmental Protection Fund for 9 projects that enhance recreation, stewardship, and resiliency within New York’s Great Lakes communities.

In September 2019, NYSG produced a short video about the program ...

NYSG also provides background on the overall effort via the March 2020 news item, "More than $1 Million in Small Grants Support NY Great Lakes Action Projects 2015-2019."

In addition to the Great Lakes Small Grant Program, which began in 2015, another early partnerships under the agreement between DEC and NYSG was a Great Lakes resources site, which is detailed in NYSG's June 2016 press release, "NYSG Partners with NYSDEC, Launches New York's Great Lakes Web Portal."

The partnership between NYSG and DEC was kicked off in January 2015 with a series of workshops examining NYSDEC's GLAA

Also Inside the Report

- Restoring habitats and recreational uses for Environmental Justice communities within the Rochester Embayment and Buffalo River Areas of Concern;

- Adapting to storms and flooding by building back smarter and enhancing the resilience of Great Lakes coastal communities through Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's $300 million Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative, Resilient NY, and other initiatives;

- Improving and protecting critical water resources in waterways that drain to Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, and the St. Lawrence River to ensure waters are swimmable, drinkable, and fishable; 

- Securing $19 million in federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) funding for 117 projects, complementing the State's initiatives and commitment to restoring the shorelines of New York's Great Lakes.

Substantial progress was made toward advancing the shared goals of New York's Great Lakes Action Agenda by applying adaptive, ecosystem-based management approaches balancing the needs of communities, nature, and the economy. These approaches prioritize science-based decision making.

In the coming year, DEC's Great Lakes Program will update the Great Lakes Action Agenda for the next 10 years. The updates will ensure the Action Agenda reflects emerging challenges, new science, and innovative approaches in order to address the most pressing issues within our Great Lakes communities and ecosystems.

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, 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 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.

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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