Community Engagement a Focus of Sea Grant’s New Statewide Coastal Resilience Funding

Several New York Sea Grant (NYSG) projects will receive support from a $8.1 million national investment to strengthen resilient coastal communities. NYSG’s ongoing efforts such as Community Flood Watch in NYC as well as statewide initiatives focusing on the MyCoast NY community science platform and natural and nature-based shorelines will be bolstered and expanded.

Two years of funding totaling $125,000 in national support will allow NYSG to create a train-the-trainer program to grow Community Flood Watch in NYC and develop extension and outreach resources for the pilot MyCoast NY program to expand use of a publicly available, centralized database of crowd-sourced photos of flooding, storm damage, and shoreline change from areas across Long Island and in the Hudson Valley to across other parts of the state.

MyCoast NY — a downloadable app and web portal developed by NYSG and the NYS Water Resources Institute — is used to collect and analyze photos of flooding, changing shorelines, and hazardous weather impacts across New York’s various water bodies and builds off of the work of the Community Floodwatch Program, expanding it statewide.

Two NYSG specialists — Kathleen Fallon, a NYSG coastal processes and hazards specialist at Stony Brook University, and Jessica Kuonen, NYSG’s Hudson Estuary specialist — serve as co-leads for MyCoast NY, the reports from which can be beneficial for emergency managers, local planners, residents, and state agencies to understand our changing environment and the impacts of flooding on every New York community.

“Photos of flooding show what will eventually happen more regularly,” said Fallon. “We’re starting to see these changes taking place now and they give a glimpse of what we can expect in the future.”

“Heavy rains are happening more often across New York as the Northeast becomes wetter,” added Kuonen. “In addition, there’s more coastal flooding from high tides as the sea level rises. MyCoast NY is a way for New Yorkers to document — and learn about — these changes.”

Marine mycoast ny iv bDownload the MyCoast NY app and help document local flooding and storm impacts through community science.

An additional $150,000 is being provided for an NYSG effort to connect diverse end-users in New York City and New York State with relevant expertise around multi-beneficial, more resilient alternatives to traditional shoreline armoring. Project leads will co-produce forums, workshops, data visualization, and communications products, and formalize a community of practice to share key findings with local, national, and international audiences.

A longer version of this article appeared on the New York Sea Grant website.

Since 1971, New York Sea Grant, a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York, has been one of 34 university-based programs under NOAA’s National Sea Grant College Program. The extension portion of NYSG’s programming is administered through Cornell Cooperative Extension.

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