Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Multistakeholder effort reveals climate change impacts and adaptation strategies for Hudson River communities

A little proud disclosure – I participated in this project, currently announced by the Nature Conservancy: On behalf of a broad Hudson Valley partnership, The Nature Conservancy today released the Rising Waters report that outlines a series of recommendations for climate change adaptation in the Hudson Valley. Over the coming decades, adaptation will be critical as Hudson Valley communities face significant challenges posed by the impacts of climate change, such as extreme weather patterns and rising sea-level.

The Rising Waters project, a multi-stakeholder scenario development process, brought together a diverse group of over 160 Hudson Valley participants to consider the likely impacts of climate change on the Hudson Valley through 2030, and forward recommendations to improve the capacity of the Valley to withstand and adapt to the expected changes. “The science is clear—the future climate is likely to be a warmer, wetter and wilder climate in the Hudson Valley,” said Katie Dolan, executive director for The Nature Conservancy’s Eastern New York Chapter. “If we act now, there are things we can do help people and nature adapt to the changing climate.”

….Key recommendations in response:
  • Improve community planning, communication and preparedness for extreme weather events
  • Incorporate expected changes, such as more frequent flooding and heat waves, into all land-use decision-making processes
  • Guide future development out of flood-prone areas
  • Improve the resiliency of the Hudson Valley’s shorelines, natural systems, and critical infrastructure
  • Apply cost-effective green technologies and use natural systems to reduce the vulnerability of people and properties to flooding and heat waves
  • Create a state climate change adaptation fund
  • Conserve healthy forest, wetland, and river ecosystems as well as agricultural resources as they are vital to successful climate change adaptation
Hudson River from Bear Mountain Bridge, shot by Rolf Müller, Wikimedia Commons, under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2

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