NYSG Networks at Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance Conference, Talks Post-Sandy Efforts
NYC - News
New York, NY, April 9, 2013 - New York Sea Grant staff will be in attendance at the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance's (MWA) 2013 Waterfront Conference. The emphasis for the all-day event, which takes place on Tuesday in New York City, is on "Leadership for Our City of Water." Features of the conference include a mayoral forum and prominent speakers from around the region.

New York Sea Grant's (NYSG) Hudson River Esutary Specialist Nordica Holochuck, and Web Content Manager Paul C. Focazio will represent the program at the MWA conference. In addition to networking, NYSG and other partner organizations will attend a number of panel sessions at the event, which is being held aboard the Hornblower Infinity at Pier 40 on Manhattan's west side.

The leading candidates for New York City Mayor including NY City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, NYC Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, NYC Comptroller John C. Liu, former NYC Comptroller William C. Thompson, John Catsimatidis and Former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión Jr have confirmed. The candidates will give short remarks and then individually answer questions about New York City's Post Sandy Waterfront.

Dr. Malcolm Bowman, a Stony Brook University (SBU) School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) oceanography professor and leader of the University's Storm Surge Research Group, and Dr. Philip Orton, a research scientist at Stevens Institute of Technology, are two of the panelists for "Protecting New York and New Jersey Harbor, What is the best way forward?" Both are also currently-funded NYSG investigators, Bowman for continued storm surge research (click here) and Orton  as part of a group that has begun analyzing historical trends back to the 1970s to project and manage Long Island Sound’s future (click here).

Another Sandy-related talk at the conference centers in on the City's ferry system: "Superstorm Sandy serves as a reminder that while we use water transit in normal times, we need our blue highways in times of emergency," says panel moderator  Cortney Worrall, MWA's Chief Operating Officer. Worrall is also a member of New York Sea Grant's Program Advisory Council, whose members provide input on the program's Strategic Planning process and funded research.

How can we be sure that access to the waterfront, the maritime industry, the port, and the economics of the water are priorities as we make our waterfront resilient after Sandy? A separate panel will explore the improvements in public access, docks, marinas, and in the maritime industry that are just as important now as they were before the storm.

Discussions will also address the passage of the $60 billion Sandy Supplemental, which appears to be a win for the region and for the restoration, recovery, and resiliency of the Harbor, but is only the beginning. "Organizations and individuals who care deeply about the Harbor want and need a better understanding of how the funds will be allocated, who controls the various funds, how programs will be prioritized, and the timelines on decision-making," says Worrall. "Most importantly, citizens need to understand how they can advocate for projects that they believe deserve consideration." In this vein, panelists on one of the day's final sessions will explore the success stories; what lessons they teach about waterfront designs; what message this should send to the rebuilding effort; and what we should continue in our collective commitment to a revitalized, publically accessible, and vibrant waterfront.

A new fact sheet by New York Sea Grant details the program's response to Superstorm Sandy (pdf). For more, also see NYSG's New York City resource site, www.nyseagrant.org/nyc.

The New York City skyline, as seen from Pier 40 at Hudson River Park aboard the Hornblower Infinity, which played host to this year's 2013 Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance Conference. Photo by Paul C. Focazio, NYSG.

More Info:

The Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance is a connector of over 620 organizations with ties to our regional waterways. "Together we are working to transform the waters of New York and New Jersey Harbor into clean and accessible places to learn, work and play, with inviting parks, dependable jobs and reliable, eco-friendly transportation for all," says MWA President and CEO Roland Lewis. For more, visit MWA's Web site.

Positioned at the confluence of the Hudson River and many smaller rivers such as the East, Hackensack, and Raritan, the New York-New Jersey Estuary opens into the New York Bight and Long Island Sound. One of the main focus areas in the New York City region for New York Sea Grant research, extension and education efforts is the Hudson River. Long Island Sound is another main focus area for Sea Grant, via a partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency's Long Island Sound Study.

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.

For updates on Sea Grant activities: www.nyseagrant.org has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube links. NYSG also offers a free e-list sign up via www.nyseagrant.org/coastlines for NY Coastlines, its flagship publication, and Currents, its e-newsletter supplement, each distributed 3-4 times a year.

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