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The Nature of Things

A blog about nature and the environment

Guide for creating vibrant waterfronts

November
16

The following came in from Scenic Hudson:

New Guide Helps Hudson River Communities Create Accessible, Healthy and Economically Vibrant Waterfronts
Publication also details preparedness for potential climate change impacts

HUDSON VALLEY – Communities throughout the region recognize that Hudson River waterfronts offer rich opportunities for economic development, recreation, environmental health and scenic beauty. These multiple values make the valley’s Hudson waterfronts hotspots for revitalization. But they also can create battlegrounds where competing priorities must be resolved. Scenic Hudson has created a new, practical how-to guide with strategies that can bring interested groups together to reinvent our precious waterfronts into powerful community assets.

Revitalizing Hudson Riverfronts: Illustrated Conservation & Development Strategies for Creating Healthy, Prosperous Communities aims to help local officials, planners, developers and concerned citizens realize the full potential of their shorelines. Written to be helpful to riverfront communities of all sizes, Revitalizing Hudson Riverfronts presents an economically sustainable and environmentally sound vision for waterfronts throughout the valley.

The Scenic Hudson publication illustrates for communities how to create publicly accessible, pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use waterfronts in municipal centers while protecting ecologically important natural areas and iconic views. The book offers tools that will enable municipalities to focus development in areas with existing infrastructure close to transportation hubs and concentrate water-dependent commerce along the river—marinas, maritime museums, fishing operations, etc. Strategies in the guide are aimed at attracting visitors and permanent residents to downtowns, spurring new business opportunities.

The guide may be one of the first published to include strategies to help municipalities prepare for and head off the impacts of sea-level rise associated with climate change. Revitalizing Hudson Riverfronts includes steps for reducing the carbon emissions of developments, promoting sustainable design.

Ned Sullivan, president of Scenic Hudson, said, “Revitalizing Hudson Riverfronts not only lays out a vision for ensuring a healthy economic and environmental future for the Hudson Valley, but also offers practical tools necessary to achieve it. The book’s strategies will help public officials, developers and citizens work together to increase public access to the region’s greatest asset, the Hudson River. They also will reduce sprawling development that would otherwise obliterate the breathtaking landscapes and quality of life that are the foundation of the region’s $4.7-billion tourism economy and magnets for new business. Further, the guide seeks to ensure viability of our important farming industry and the healthy, local food it yields.”

Jonathan F.P. Rose, president, Jonathan Rose Companies, is an award-winning thought leader on green urban real estate solutions and has been featured widely in media ranging from CNN to The New York Times. Commenting on the Scenic Hudson guide, Mr. Rose said, “Over the next 40 years, America’s population will grow by more than 90 million. We have a significant choice as to how to accommodate this growth—either we will continue to sprawl, with its negative economic and environmental consequences, or we will rebuild and concentrate development in our cities, where it is most efficient. The Hudson Valley is blessed with wonderful riverfront cities and towns. Revitalizing waterfronts is one of the key ways to attract people to live and work in them.

“Scenic Hudson’s guide to revitalizing waterfronts clearly lays out the principles and strategies needed to create great places along the river, and backs them up with examples of completed projects. We are cleaning up the Hudson. This excellent guide provides Hudson Valley communities with a pathway to benefit from the river’s return to health. Particularly important and groundbreaking are its recommendations on adaptation to sea level rise due to climate change.”

Kudos for the guide also came from Judith Enck, regional administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 2. That region encompasses New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and seven Tribal Nations. Ms. Enck’s 30 years of experience in the environmental field includes time as deputy secretary of the environment for New York State and policy advisor to New York State’s attorney general.

“Environmentally sustainable waterfront development is critical to connecting people to the Hudson River, a true jewel in our own backyard. This report gives solid, practical advice to local communities, businesses, planners, environmentalists and others on how best to improve access to the river in a way that protects the ecological integrity of the river. I applaud Scenic Hudson for this valuable report and their ongoing work to protect and restore this magnificent river,” said Ms. Enck.

Robert D. Yaro, president, Regional Plan Association (N.Y., N.J., Conn.), the nation’s oldest independent metropolitan policy, research and advocacy group, affirmed the guide’s value. A frequent author and sought-after expert, Mr. Yaro also is a professor of practice, City and Regional Planning, at the University of Pennsylvania and has taught at Harvard University and the University of Massachusetts. He expressed the importance of Revitalizing Hudson Riverfronts: “Scenic Hudson has produced what no doubt will be a standard reference for all those who care about the future of the Hudson River Valley. The guiding principles and wonderful illustrations of infill and other centers-oriented development strategies will be of use to citizens, decision-makers and design professionals seeking to grow the valley’s economy in the right places.”

Specific advice on waterfronts built to absorb climate impacts while revitalizing communities
Revitalizing Hudson Riverfronts includes practical strategies to help communities minimize damage to private property, public utilities and facilities as sea levels rise with climate change. By keeping critical infrastructure out of the way of rising sea levels, implementing green stormwater technologies and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, communities can lower risks and costs to their citizens while improving access and natural resource health along the river.

Continuous greenway corridor among key strategies
One of the book’s most important recommendations is to create a continuous riverfront greenway corridor extending inland to the 100-year floodplain. In addition to providing public access to the river, the greenway would allow for the conservation of critical wildlife habitat and offer a buffer from flooding and storm surges. The book also points to resources for restoring and rehabilitating wetlands and other natural areas, and safeguarding the quality of groundwater, critical for protecting communities’ drinking-water supplies.

Guide’s dynamic design, illustrations and other resources key to its effectiveness
Revitalizing Hudson Riverfronts features six chapters, 80 photographs and 30 drawings and maps that vividly illustrate strategies discussed in the text. It also offers links to dozens of additional online resources as well as an appendix of local ordinances that have helped communities across the state create more economically vibrant, environmentally healthy waterfronts.

The book is available online at www.revitalizinghudsonriverfronts.org .

Scenic Hudson planner will present on guide at upcoming conferences
Jeffrey Anzevino, director of Scenic Hudson’s Land Use Advocacy department, will make a presentation on the guide to professional groups at the New York State Conference on the Environment on Saturday, Nov. 20, at the Thayer Hotel, at West Point, and at the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance’s annual conference on Tuesday, Nov. 30, in New York City.

Planning, environmental experts head editorial team
Revitalizing Hudson Riverfronts was created for the New York Department of State’s Office of Coastal, Local Government and Community Sustainability with support from the Environmental Protection Fund administered through the City of Kingston. Theodore Eisenman was senior editor; Scenic Hudson staff serving as editors were Jeffrey Anzevino; Steve Rosenberg, senior vice president and executive director of the Scenic Hudson Land Trust; and Sacha Spector, Ph.D., director of Conservation Science.

The editors were guided by an Editorial Advisory Committee composed of leading experts on the Hudson River, planning, climate change and the environment. They included Heather Boyer, senior editor, Island Press; Suzanne Cahill, city planner, City of Kingston; John Clarke, development and design coordinator, Dutchess County Department of Planning and Development; Dr. Klaus H. Jacob, senior research scientist, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University; Barbara Kendall, watershed special projects coordinator, Department of Environmental Conservation Hudson River Estuary Program; Lynn Richards, Office of Policy, Economics and Innovation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Dr. David Strayer, freshwater ecologist, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies; Sarah van der Schalie, Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and David VanLuven, former Hudson River Estuary program manager, The Nature Conservancy.

About Scenic Hudson
Scenic Hudson works to protect and restore the Hudson River and its majestic landscape as an irreplaceable national treasure and a vital resource for residents and visitors. A crusader for the valley since 1963, we are credited with saving fabled Storm King Mountain from a destructive industrial project and launching the modern grass-roots environmental movement. Today with more than 25,000 ardent supporters, we are the largest environmental group focused on the Hudson River Valley. Our team of experts combines land acquisition, support for agriculture, citizen-based advocacy and sophisticated planning tools to create environmentally healthy communities, champion smart economic growth, open up riverfronts to the public and preserve the valley’s inspiring beauty and natural resources. To date Scenic Hudson has created or enhanced more than 50 parks, preserves and historic sites up and down the Hudson River and conserved more than 28,000 acres. www.scenichudson.org <http://www.scenichudson.org/>

This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 16th, 2010 at 10:44 am by Mike Risinit. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
Category: Hudson River, Scenic Hudson

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The Nature of Things provides a chance to talk about the wild denizens that share the Lower Hudson Valley with us and the natural settings that make this place home for everyone. From Long Island Sound to the Hudson River to the Great Swamp and beyond, almost anything related to the environment is fair game in this blog.

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About the authors
SBenischekJournal News staff writer Greg Clary writes Earth Watch, reporting on environmental issues in the lower Hudson region. Clary has been a reporter, editor and columnist at the Journal News since 1988 and has covered police and courts, transportation, municipal government, development and the environment in the Lower Hudson Valley, among other topics.
Laura IncalcaterraLaura Incalcaterra covers the environment, open space and zoning and planning issues for The Journal News. A Boston College graduate, Laura grew up in Rockland, attended East Ramapo schools and has worked for The Journal News since 1993. Laura has written features and covered North Rockland, crime, government and a host of other issues.
SBenischekMike Risinit covers Patterson and Kent in Putnam County, as well as environmental topics touching on the Hudson River and the Great Swamp. Risinit has been a reporter at The Journal News since 1998.
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