DEC Releases Draft Sea Level Rise Task Force Report
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Acting Commissioner Peter Iwanowicz today announced the release of the draft report of the New York State Sea Level Rise Task Force for public comment. A meeting to provide the public an opportunity to learn about the draft recommendations and submit comments is scheduled for 7 p.m., Nov. 22, at DEC headquarters, 625 Broadway, Albany, and via videoconference to DEC's New Paltz, White Plains, Long Island City (Queens) and East Setauket offices.
(Media-Newswire.com) - New York State Department of Environmental Conservation ( DEC ) Acting Commissioner Peter Iwanowicz today announced the release of the draft report of the New York State Sea Level Rise Task Force for public comment. A meeting to provide the public an opportunity to learn about the draft recommendations and submit comments is scheduled for 7 p.m., Nov. 22, at DEC headquarters, 625 Broadway, Albany, and via videoconference to DEC's New Paltz, White Plains, Long Island City ( Queens ) and East Setauket offices. All locations will be open to the public. The meeting will also be accessible as a webinar.
"With this report, New York is taking another pro-active step toward addressing our most pressing environmental issue: climate change," Acting Commissioner Iwanowicz said. "It complements Governor Paterson's recently released Climate Action Plan and can serve as a model for others as they assess how to adapt to climate change."
"The draft report of the Sea Level Rise Task Force is an important first step in developing a statewide framework to address the risks posed by sea level rise and coastal storms," said Adam Freed, the New York City Mayor's Deputy Sustainability Director. "We look forward to further working with the Task Force to develop climate resilience strategies that recognize the scope and complexity of the challenges before us and the diversity of the state."
The Sea Level Rise Task Force report, instructions for submitting comments and information on the public meeting, videoconference and webinar are available on the DEC website. The public comment period closes on December 12; the task force will finalize its report for transmittal to the State Legislature by Jan. 1, 2011.
The State Legislature created the Sea Level Rise Task Force in 2007 and charged it with preparing a report to assess the state's vulnerability to sea level rise and developing recommendations for a plan to protect coastal communities and natural resources. The Legislature directed the task force to "evaluate ways of protecting New York's remaining coastal ecosystems and natural habitats, and increasing coastal community resilience in the face of sea level rise, applying the best available science …"
Led by DEC task force membership includes representatives of state and local government agencies, non-governmental organizations and affected communities. Approximately 100 experts and stakeholders contributed to the report through their participation on five technical work groups.
The draft report includes nine findings and 14 specific recommendations for action. The findings include projections of up to 55 inches of sea level rise by the 2080s in some coastal areas of New York. New York Harbor has already experienced an increase in sea level of more than 15 inches in the past 150 years, with harbor tide gauges showing a rise of between 4 and 6 inches since 1960.
According to the report, sea level rise will have dramatic implications for New York's coastal communities and their natural resources. Every community along the Hudson River, from the Troy to New York Harbor, and along Long Island Sound and the Atlantic coastline will be affected. The report also found that the combination of rising sea level, climate change and continuing development in high-risk areas has raised the level of New York's vulnerability to powerful coastal storms. Without meaningful action, this vulnerability will increase in area and magnitude over time. The report also finds that all of the utilities and infrastructure systems upon which our modern society relies-sewage, stormwater, fuel storage, energy generation, communication, solid waste management and transportation- could become vulnerable to coastal flooding.
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