Addressing Climate Change


SUCCESS STORY: Creating climate ready infrastructure

Increased rainfall can overwhelm sewer systems, causing flooding and bringing pathogens and pollution into the estuary. In 2019, HEP worked with the EPA and with the City of Elizabeth and the Village of Ridgefield Park, NJ to conduct a risk assessment on their combined sewer systems. We also hosted several online workshops to help local engineers understand the implication of sea level rise and the costs and benefits of alternative approaches. The final report and recorded webinars below provide important examples and guidance for managers and engineering professionals seeking to create climate-ready water systems. HEP continues to support local government and wastewater utilities to get their infrastructure climate ready through grants and technical assistance.

Warmer air and water temperatures, changes in precipitation patterns, increases in the number and magnitude of extreme weather events like hurricanes and drought, and rising sea levels are already changing baseline conditions and affecting people and wildlife. But understanding these impacts and assessing their implications for policy makers and managers is challenging. In some instances, management responses can be technically challenging and politically difficult. In others, the complexity of the Hudson River’s ecosystem makes it difficult to evaluate the impact of certain interventions. HRF works to develop research that can help inform decision-making around climate change. That includes monitoring the impacts of increased rainfall, studying the effectiveness of nature-based solutions, and modelling the impacts of interventions like sea walls on the surrounding ecosystem. We examine how specific stressors – like warmer water temperatures and changes in precipitation – intersect with and impact our other focus areas like improving habitat and increasing public access.

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Hudson River Foundation