NYSG Hires New Estuarine Resilience Specialist for the Hudson River
Hudson River Estuary - Press Release

Jessica A. Kuonen. Credit: NYSG.


Ryan Strother, Freelance Publicist, NYSG, E: ryan.strother@stonybrook.edu, P: (612) 418-4411

Jessica A. Kuonen, Hudson Estuary Resilience Specialist, NYSG E: jak546@cornell.edu, P: (845) 340-3983

November 21, 2019, Kingston, NY — Jessica A. Kuonen is New York Sea Grant’s (NYSG) new Estuarine Resilience Specialist for the Hudson River. Located in Kingston, New York, Kuonen will provide extension outreach to coastal communities of the Hudson River Estuary. Her work is focused on shoreline, watershed and land use planning to build community resilience in the face of climate change and extreme weather.

"We are excited to have Jessica on our team working for the benefit of our stakeholders in the Hudson Valley," says NYSG Associate Director Katherine Bunting-Howarth. "Her skills and experience will undoubtedly complement those of our community partners in order to increase the resilience of our communities, businesses and residents to extreme weather and a changing climate."

Prior to this role, Kuonen served a dual appointment between NYSG as a Coastal Community Development Assistant in the Great Lakes Region, and the New York State Water Resources Institute where she helped administer statewide programs, grants, and outreach. During this time with NYSG, she helped develop inundation mapping tools for Lake Ontario communities in support  of the Great Lakes Coastal Resilience Index, contributed to an ArcGIS story map of the 2017 flood, and helped lead a water literacy initiative focused on water infrastructure in Ithaca, NY. 

Originally from Syracuse, NY, Kuonen has always been interested in the relationship between humans and the environment.  As an undergraduate, Kuonen majored in geology with a minor in social anthropology at the University of Vermont.  After graduating, she spent time working as a geologist in the mineral industry and as a GIS analyst in environmental consulting. She earned a Master of Science in Marine Resource Management from Oregon State University in 2016 with a focus on community engagement. For her thesis, Kuonen worked with commercial fishermen and marine scientists to make short-term ocean condition forecasts more useful and accessible to the Oregon fishing community to help reduce risk when at sea.  During her time at Oregon State, Kuonen completed an internship with Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant focused on building resilience to coastal storms, sea level rise, and man-made disasters.

Kuonen’s first extension efforts as Hudson Estuary Resilience Specialist for NYSG will focus on understanding the needs of coastal residents, businesses, and community groups along the shoreline that face issues related to climate change, extreme weather, and sea-level rise.

“These issues are complex. I’m excited to start building relationships with local people and utilizing extension resources to understand and help meet the needs of the coastal communities in the Hudson Estuary,” said Kuonen.  

Kuonen’s predecessor, Nordica Holochuck, served New York Sea Grant as the Hudson Estuary Specialist for 23 years and retired earlier this year.

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 Kingston in the Hudson Valley.

For updates on Sea Grant activities: www.nyseagrant.org has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, 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. Our program also produces an occasional e-newsletter,"NOAA Sea Grant's Social Media Review," via its blog, www.nyseagrant.org/blog.

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