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NYSG Publishes NY Great Lakes Coastal Resilience Index
Coastal Community Development Program - Press Release

New Resource for Waterfront Communities


Mary Austerman, Great Lakes Coastal Community Specialist, P: 315-331-8415, E: mp357@cornell.edu

Kara Lynn Dunn, NYSG Great Lakes Publicist, E: karalynn@gisco.net, P: 315.465.7578

Newark, NY, January 2, 2020 - New York Sea Grant has published New York’s Great Lakes Coastal Resilience Index: A Community Self-Assessment guide (pdf) for understanding how prepared a community is for coastal flooding and weather disasters such as wind and ice storms, ice jams, and flash flooding.

New York’s Great Lakes Coastal Resilience Index authored by New York Sea Grant Coastal Community Specialist Mary Austerman is a 44-page, self-assessment tool with supplemental information designed to empower municipal leaders, local planners, engineers, floodplain managers and others to guide discussions about their community’s resilience to coastal hazards. 

“New York Sea Grant worked closely with communities and agency experts to ensure this resource is relevant to our Great Lakes local governments. Pilot efforts have been received positively and we look forward to assisting others in using this tool in the future,” said New York Sea Grant Associate Director and Cornell Cooperative Extension Assistant Director Katherine Bunting-Howarth, J.D., Ph.D., Ithaca, N.Y.

Austerman is now scheduling meetings with communities to assist in their completion of the Coastal Resilience Index. For more information or to schedule a date, contact Austerman at mp357@cornell.edu or 315-331-8415.

The New York’s Great Lakes Coastal Resilience Index uses readily available information and includes a nine-page exercise to investigate the vulnerabilities across six community sectors, including infrastructure, transportation, community and business plans, mitigation measures, and social systems. 

The guide includes attributes and descriptions for weather disasters developed with data from the National Weather Service and Northeast Regional Climate Center and instructions for using the New York Sea Grant Lake Ontario Inundation WebMap and Map Package projects so users can create their own Lake Ontario inundation risk maps.

“This Coastal Resilience Index provides a simple, inexpensive method for community leaders to perform a self-assessment of their community’s resilience to coastal flooding and weather disasters and identify weaknesses a community may want to address prior to the next hazard event,” Austerman said. 

In 2019, Austerman was presented a Great Lakes Sea Grant Network Outstanding Outreach Programming Award for excellence in assisting Lake Ontario coastal communities to address record high water and flooding since 2017. New York Sea Grant was honored for its part in a Post-Flood Recovery Building Workshop for the Village of Sodus Point with a 2019 Public Outreach Award from the New York Upstate Chapter of the American Planning Association.

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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