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HRSSP AC meeting 5 summary

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  Sustainable  Shorelines  Advisory  Committee  Meeting     December  3,  2014,  9:30  am-­‐2:00  pm   NYSDEC  Hudson  River  National  Estuarine  Research  Reserve   Norrie  Point  Environmental  Center,  Staatsburg,  NY  12580     MEETING  SUMMARY     Present:     Kristen  Cady-­‐Sawyer  (NYS  OPRHP)   Brian  DeGasperis  (NYSDEC  –  HRNERR)   Fran  Dunwell  (NYSDEC  –  HREP)   Jamie  Ethier  (NYS  Department  of  State)   Sarah  Fernald  (NYSDEC  –  HRNERR)   Ben  Ganon  (NYSDEC)   Heather  Gierloff  (NYSDEC)   Rick  Gilbert  (BlueShore  Engineering)   Lisa  Graichen  (NYSDEC/  UNH  TIDES)   Sven  Hoeger  (Creative  Habitat  Corp.)   Nordica  Holochuck  (New  York  Sea  Grant)   Jennifer  Horton  (NYSDEC)   Caroline  LaBarbiera  (NYSDOS)   Greg  Lampman  (NYSERDA)   Ed  Levine  (NOAA  Office  of  Response  and   Restoration)   Mark  Lowery  (NYSDEC)   Sean  Madden  (NYSDEC)  

Werner  Mueller  (HDR)   Bill  Ottaway  (NYSDEC)   Christine  Piwonka  Bernstein  (FEMA,     for  Megan  Jadrosich)   Sacha  Spector  (Scenic  Hudson)   Bill  Shadel  (American  Littoral  Society)   Peter  Weppler  (USACE)     Coordinating  Team   Betsy  Blair  (NYSDEC  –  HRNERR)   Ona  Ferguson  (Consensus  Building  Institute)   Stuart  Findlay  (Cary  Institute)   Emilie  Hauser  (NYSDEC  –  HRNERR)   Kristin  Marcell  (NYS  DEC  –  HREP)   Dan  Miller  (NYS  DEC  –  HREP  and  HRNERR)   Andrew  Rella  (Stevens  Institute  of  Technology)   Eric  Roberts  (Consensus  Building  Institute)   David  Strayer  (Cary  Institute)

Executive  Summary     The  Hudson  River  Sustainable  Shorelines  Project  (HRSSP)  Advisory  Committee  met  in  December  2014  to   review  and  discuss  work  completed  during  the  project,  share  how  the  committee  members  are  using  or   plan  to  use  project  results,  and  discuss  areas  for  potential  future  collaboration.    Project  results  and  data   can  be  found  at  https://www.hrnerr.org/hudson-­‐river-­‐sustainable-­‐shorelines/.     The  HRSSP  project  team  developed  ecology  and  engineering  tools  and  data  and  a  set  of  demonstration   projects  that  exhibit  the  ecological  and  engineering  principles  of  sustainable  shorelines.    The  ecological   tools  and  data  from  the  project  will  help  shoreline  managers  better  understand  and  assess  the  ecology   of  their  shorelines.  The  engineering  data  and  tools  will  help  shoreline  managers  understand  the  physical   forces  that  impact  their  shorelines,  the  variety  of  treatment  options  available  to  manage  shorelines,  and   the  general  relative  costs  associated  with  shoreline  treatments.  The  case  studies  of  existing   demonstration  sites  and  designs  for  new  sites  are  instrumental  in  helping  users  see  how  these   ecologically  enhanced  shorelines  perform.    The  team  has  also  delivered  several  trainings  to  engineers   and  state  agency  employees  to  teach  participants  how  to  apply  the  tools  and  data.       Sustainable  Shorelines  Advisory  Committee  Meeting  –  December  3,  2014  


    Advisory  committee  members  described  their  plans  to  use  project  products  and  resources,  including  the   website,  for  a  variety  of  purposes.  State  agency  staff  have  or  will  incorporate  the  information  produced   by  the  project  into  guidance  documents  for  the  Community  Risk  and  Resiliency  Act,  the  Climate  Smart   Communities  program,  and  environmental  remediation  and  restoration  plans.  Regulators  do  and  will   use  the  information  to  encourage  permit  applicants  to  propose  shoreline  stabilization  methods  that  use   ecologically  beneficial  approaches.  Regulators  use  the  information  on  the  website  to  evaluate  the   sustainable  shorelines  proposals  they  receive.  Engineers  reported  that  they  will  utilize  the  information   to  enhance  and  support  the  services  they  provide  to  fill  a  market  niche  and  propose  projects  that  are   more  likely  to  be  aligned  with  permit  requirements.         The  Advisory  Committee  identified  several  potential  areas  of  future  work  to  encourage  the  adoption  of   sustainable  shorelines  or  areas  of  future  collaboration.  This  included  collaborating  with  the  railroads  to   incorporate  ecological  enhancements  into  some  of  the  (many  miles  of)  hardened  shorelines  they  own,   expanding  the  construction  and  monitoring  of  demonstration  sites,  and  completing  additional  ecological   research.  Research  ideas  included  assessing  ecological  tradeoff  of  in  water  structures,  classifying  habitat,   and  the  effect  of  adding  vegetation  to  hard  revetments.  In  addition,  they  explored  the  ideas  of   promoting  the  adoption  of  sustainable  shorelines  by  serving  as  a  technical  assistance  resource  or  by   helping  to  launch  a  sustainable  shorelines  certification  program.  They  did  not  commit  to  future   collaboration,  but  said  it  could  occur  on  a  project-­‐by-­‐project  or  topic-­‐of-­‐interest  basis,  and  it  might   involve  new  stakeholder  representatives  such  as  municipal  or  federal  representatives  or  creating   partnerships  with  organizations  completing  related  work.  Although  the  funding  for  this  project  is   expiring  there  is  interest  and  need  in  continued  collaboration.     Project  leaders  thanked  the  Advisory  Committee  members  for  their  guidance  and  support  over  the  five   years  of  the  project,  and  Committee  members  voiced  their  appreciation  for  the  project’s  many   accomplishments.         Welcome,  Introductions  and  Project  Update     Betsy  Blair  welcomed  participants  to  the  final  meeting  of  the  Hudson  River  Sustainable  Shorelines   Advisory  Committee,  which  is  part  of  the  Hudson  River  Sustainable  Shorelines  Project  (HRSSP)  that   informally  started  in  2005  with  the  mapping  of  the  Hudson  River  and  formally  started  when  funding   from  the  National  Estuary  Research  Reserve  (NERRS)  Science  Collaborative  was  awarded  in  2008.  This   funding  will  conclude  in  June  2015.  The  purpose  of  the  final  Advisory  Committee  meeting  was  to   convene  members,  share  products  from  the  project,  and  jointly  discuss  opportunities  for  continuing  to   work  collaboratively  to  advance  shared  goals  for  the  Hudson  River  Estuary  and  its  shorelines.  All   meeting  presentations  and  handouts,  as  well  as  other  project  resources  and  information,  can  be  found   at:  hrnerr.org     Review  of  Work  Completed     Project  Team  members  gave  brief  presentations  about  the  work  they  completed  or  will  complete  for  the   HRSSP.    For  more  detail,  please  see  the  project  website,  https://www.hrnerr.org/hudson-­‐river-­‐ sustainable-­‐shorelines/,  and  links  to  various  project  components  in  this  summary.           Ecological  Work  –  Stuart  Findlay  highlighted  the  ecological  research  completed  by  Cary  Institute   scientists  to  develop  science-­‐based  recommendations  for  shore  zone  management.  The  following   research  or  products  have  been  or  will  be  produced:     • A  literature  review  about  freshwater  shore  zone  ecological  characteristics  and  attributes).   (Published)     Sustainable  Shorelines  Advisory  Committee  Meeting  –  December  3,  2014  


    A  study  of  shoreline  wrack  and  invertebrate  usage.  (Published)   A  rapid  assessment  tool  to  help  shoreline  managers  understand  the  resources  on  their  property   and  how  the  shoreline  is  functioning.     • A  shoreline  management  brochure.       • A  decision  support  tool  to  guide  users  in  the  application  of  shoreline  management  approaches   (in  development).   • Fish  and  shoreline  heterogeneity  research.  Preliminary  findings  indicate  that  fish  prefer  rough,   complex,  sloped  shorelines.  (in  manuscript)     • Ecology  of  vegetated  rip  rap.  Preliminary  findings  indicate  that  riprap  shorelines  with  gentle   slopes  have  more  vegetation  than  steep  slopes.  (in  manuscript)   Stuart  indicated  an  interest  in  future  work  to  look  balancing  tradeoffs  between  ecology  and  various   stabilization  techniques.  For  example,  for  any  technique,  what  benefits  can  be  acquired  by   implementing  it  and  what  must  be  given  up  in  return?     Engineering  Work  –  Andrew  Rella  presented  for  the  Stevens  Institute  team  that  worked  on  engineering   research  for  the  HRSSP.    This  suite  of  projects  and  products  includes:   • A  literature  review  of  shoreline  treatment  options  including  tradition,  hybrid,  and  ecologically   enhanced.    The  report  provides  a  brief  description  of  each  method  with  general  design  and   construction  guidance,  information  on  adaptability  to  sea  level  rise,  and  a  comparison  across   different  structures.   • A  comparative  cost  analysis  among  nine  types  of  shoreline  treatment  at  three  sites  with   different  energy  regimes  under  two  sea  level  rise  scenarios  was  developed  to  help  shoreline   owners  or  managers  estimate  management  costs  for  each  shoreline  treatment  over  a  75  year   timeframe.     • A  characterization  of  the  physical  environment  (in  this  case,  water  levels,  currents,  vertical   current  stresses  and  mixing,  and  surface  wind  waves)  impacting  the  Hudson  River  shoreline.   • A  forensic  analysis  of  six  engineered  shoreline  projects  to  determine  how  and  why  they  were   damaged  or  withstood  the  forces  of  recent  big  storm  events.       Demonstration  Site  Network  –  Dan  Miller  presented  the  work  completed  on  the  demonstration  site   network:     • The  project  has  created  a  demonstration  site  network  to  raise  awareness  of  sustainable   shorelines  approaches  that  have  been  implemented  along  Hudson  shorelines,  show  how  they   are  designed  and  constructed,  and  how  they  perform  overtime.  The  network  consists  of  four   sites  (in  Coxsackie,  Rhinecliff,  Cold  Spring,  and  Nyack)  that  were  designed  and  constructed  (or   will  be  constructed,  see  below)  as  part  of  the  Sustainable  Shorelines  project.  In  addition,  the   network  includes  several  additional  sites  that  were  designed  and  constructed  by  others,  using   sustainable  shorelines  principles.  Case  studies  and  site  reports  are  available  on  the  HRSSP   website.     • “Ninety  percent  complete”  site  designs  for  Nyack  and  Cold  Spring  were  completed  in  November   2014.  The  plans  will  be  used  to  apply  for  permits  and  construction  will  begin  as  soon  as  funding   is  secured.     • The  project  has  also  undertaken  a  bulkhead  (ecological)  enhancement  project  in  order  to   identify  methods  to  enhance  habitat  on  bulkheads,  since  bulkheads  are  necessary  in  some   locations  but  do  not  provide  quality  habitat.  A  pilot  project  will  be  installed  in  Rhinecliff  in  spring   2015.  Sampling  will  determine  whether  or  not  fish  are  attracted  to  the  enhanced  bulkheads.   • Monitoring  Demonstration  Sites  –  Ben  Ganon  presented  information  about  the  monitoring   program  for  sites  in  the  demonstration  network.  The  program  is  designed  to  be  site  specific   (data  will  not  allow  for  comparisons  across  sites),  repeatable  (photos  and  data  points  are   collected  from  specific  coordinates  each  time),  feasible  (it  takes  an  hour  or  less  and  doesn’t   • •

Sustainable  Shorelines  Advisory  Committee  Meeting  –  December  3,  2014  


    require  a  lot  of  training  of  the  assessor),  and  consistent  (data  collection  and  storage  instructions   are  available  for  each  site,  and  there’s  a  database  with  a  photo  inventory  for  each  site).     Monitoring  site  visits  are  conducted  in  the  fall  and  spring  to  identify  and  alert  site  owners  of   potential  maintenance  issues  and  to  gather  social,  ecological,  and  physical  parameters  to   evaluate  how  well  these  sites  are  meeting  their  objectives.  The  site  visits  also  serve  to  gauge  site   owner  satisfaction  with  the  project.       Trainings,  Outreach,  and  Tools  –  Emilie  Hauser  briefed  the  group  on  several  HRSSP-­‐related  initiatives:     • The  HRSSP  Coordinating  Team  delivered  a  training  in  July  to  teach  engineers  and  landscape   designers  how  to  apply  the  findings  of  the  HRSSP  project.  Participants  requested  more   information  about  regulatory  processes  that  would  accompany  implementation  of  sustainable   shorelines  approaches.     • The  Team  plans  hopes  to  collect  feedback  from  the  regulators  about  trends  in  ecological   shoreline  enhancement  and  current  thinking  on  regulations  and  permit  requirements  for   ecological  shoreline  designs  in  New  York.     • Once  completed,  additional  tools  will  be  posted  on  the  HRSSP  website.  These  tools  include  the   Cary  Institute’s  decision  support  tool  and  Stevens  Institute  of  Technology’s  research  on  whether   or  not  physical  forces  categorization  could  give  guidance  on  initial  shoreline  design  and   planning,  a  literature  review  to  see  how  physical  forces  categorization  could  be  compiled  into  a   usable  index,  and  more  data  on  ice  and  wakes.       Applying  the  Results  of  the  Hudson  River  Sustainable  Shoreline  Project     In  order  to  explore  the  various  ways  project  products  are  of  use  to  its  many  intended  audiences,  and  to   consider  any  final  work  that  could  be  done  to  make  them  of  more  use,  participants  discussed  how  they   use  project  results.    This  session  began  with  eight  Advisory  Committee  members  presenting  how  they  or   their  institutions  are  using  or  plan  to  use  the  results  of  the  HRSSP.  Several  uses  were  identified  such  as   the  integration  of  HRSSP  products  and  information  into  regulations  or  guidance  documents,  use  of   information  to  substantiate  recommendations,  use  of  information  to  support  decision-­‐making,  and   demonstration  sites  used  to  educate  shoreline  managers  about  why  and  how  to  construct  sustainable   shoreline  designs.  Their  key  points  are  summarized  below.         Sven  Hoeger,  Creative  Habitat  Corp.,  commented  that  HRSSP  data  would  have  been  useful  in  the  design   phase  of  several  of  his  past  projects,  and  that  his  future  projects  will  benefit  from  the  information   generated  by  HRSSP,  especially  about  energy  regimes.  For  example,  past  clients  requested  shoreline   designs  incorporating  more  natural  features,  and  although  he  was  able  to  design  something  that   worked,  those  designs  were  based  on  his  personal  ecological  knowledge  and  best  professional   judgment.  Going  forward,  he  will  be  able  to  better  design  more  natural  shorelines  because  he  will  be   able  to  evaluate  potential  design  options  for  a  site  with  engineers,  using  the  HRSSP  engineering  data   (and  the  physical  forces  data  sets  in  particular).     Bill  Ottaway,  NYSDEC  Div.  of  Environmental  Remediation,  explained  how  the  Sustainable  Shorelines   project  has  begun  to  change  the  outlook  on  restoration  within  the  Division  of  Environmental   Remediation,  and  how  Division  staff  might  use  project  data  in  the  future.  He  commented  that  while  the   Division  mostly  improves  the  environment  by  removing  contaminants  of  concern,  in  some  cases  the  end   result  from  a  habitat  perspective  might  fall  short  of  what  could  have  been  achieved.  For  example,  a   complex  contaminated  shoreline  site  could  be  designed  to  have  riprap  shoreline  during  remediation  and   restoration,  rather  than  just  a  vertical  impermeable  wall.  The  HRSSP  project  has  helped  DER  realize  that   a  comprehensive  guidance  document  that  incorporates  HRSSP  findings  and  suggestions  might  facilitate   the  adoption  of  sustainable  shoreline  designs  into  restoration  plans,  and  he  is  writing  guidance  that   Sustainable  Shorelines  Advisory  Committee  Meeting  –  December  3,  2014  


    includes  initial  habitat  evaluations.  He  also  noted  that  some  clients  want  to  be  recognized  as  model   environmental  stewards.  In  these  cases,  he  said  it  is  easy  now  to  suggest  that  the  client  review  the   HRSSP  website  to  identify  the  type  of  shoreline  that  would  be  most  beneficial  at  the  end  of  the   remediation  project.       Heather  Gierloff,  NYSDEC  Region  3  Bureau  of  Habitat,  spoke  about  how,  from  a  permitting  perspective,   project  data  and  findings  help  to  substantiate  the  decisions  of  permitting  staff,  as  shoreline  treatment   approaches  move  from  traditional  stabilization  methods  to  more  adaptable  and  ecologically  enhanced   stabilization  methods.  Historically,  riprap  has  been  the  most  often-­‐proposed  stabilization  technique.   Now  the  goal  is  to  help  permit  applicants  obtain  a  permit  that  will  both  stabilize  and  enhance  the   ecology  of  the  shoreline.  Applicants  are  often  surprised  when  they  are  not  granted  a  permit  that   proposes  the  use  of  traditional  stabilization  approaches.  Instead  of  simply  telling  the  applicant  the   stabilization  must  be  done  differently,  permitting  staff  now  directs  applicants  to  the  HRSSP  website  to   help  them  learn  why  enhanced  ecological  approaches  are  beneficial  and  how  such  approaches  might  be   constructed.     Mark  Lowery,  NYSDEC  Office  of  Climate  Change,  described  how  he  uses  project  data  and  products  in   two  areas:    development  of  guidance  pursuant  to  the  Community  Risk  and  Resiliency  Act  (CRRA)  and  in   the  Climate  Smart  Communities  program.  Signed  into  legislation  in  September  2014,  the  CRRA  Act   requires  DEC  to  adopt  sea  level  rise  (SLR)  projections.      CRRA  also  requires  that  applicants  to  any  of  the   19  different  facility  siting  programs,  permitting  programs  and  funding  programs  listed  in  CRRA   demonstrate  to  regulators  how  they  incorporated  the  storm  surge,  SLR,  and  flooding  considerations.   DEC  must  update  the  technical  and  guidance  documents  for  each  of  the  19  programs  to  incorporate   these  new  criteria.  DEC  and  DOS  must  provide  guidance  on  natural  resources  and  nature-­‐based   measures  for  community  resiliency.  He  expects  that  a  lot  of  the  HRSSP  data  and  information  will  be   included  in  the  natural  resources  and  nature  based  measures  guidance.  Additionally,  he  said  they  will   look  to  the  HRSSP  as  a  model  for  transferring  knowledge  to  other  systems  across  the  state  and  for   developing  sustainable  guidance  for  coastal  environments.    Similar  to  the  planned  CRRA  guidance   documents,  he  commented  that  many  HRSSP  resources  have  been  incorporated  into  the  manual  for  the   Climate  Smart  Communities  Certification  Program  (http://www.dec.ny.gov/energy/96511.html).       Jaime  Ethier,  NYS  Department  of  State,  Office  of  Planning  and  Development,  described  how  he   anticipates  using  HRSSP  data  and  products  in  3  ways:  while  interacting  with  municipalities  during  Local   Waterfront  Revitalization  Program  planning  efforts,  while  administering  their  annual  grant  program   administration,  and  during  consistency  reviews  for  projects  proposed  by  municipalities  and  shoreline   land  owners.  He  intends  to  refer  the  engineers  and  communities  to  the  HRSSP  information  to  help  them   better  understand  the  range  of  available  alternative  shoreline  stabilization  techniques.  Similarly,  the   consistency  review  unit  is  making  efforts  to  utilize  softer  shoreline  methods  and  will  promote  the  HRSSP   information  and  tools.       Kristin  Cady-­‐Sawyer,  NYSDEC  Region  4,  Division  of  Environmental  Permits,  spoke  about  how  she  uses  the   HRSSP  data  and  how  permit  applicants  could  use  the  data  and  case  studies  of  demonstration  sites.  She   said  it  is  helpful  to  have  the  HRSSP  information  available  when  NYSDEC  Permits  staff  and  Habitat  staff   coordinate  review  of  a  permit  application.  When  applicants  choose  to  propose  an  approach,  it  will  be   helpful  for  the  applicants  to  review  HRSSP  data  and  resources  so  that  they  submit  correct   documentation  and  justification  for  the  approach.  Additionally,  the  demonstration  sites  will  show  the   benefits  of  sustainable  shorelines  and  how  those  sites  were  designed,  which  can  be  translated  into   future  permit  applications.       Sustainable  Shorelines  Advisory  Committee  Meeting  –  December  3,  2014  


    Sacha  Spector,  Scenic  Hudson,  explained  how  he  anticipates  Scenic  Hudson  will  use  the  demonstration   network  sites  on  their  properties  as  an  outreach  tool,  and  plans  to  invite  municipal  representatives  or   others  to  the  properties  to  discuss  how  they  were  designed,  permitted,  and  constructed.  He  said  Scenic   Hudson  will  continue  to  advocate  for  sustainable  shorelines  in  pre-­‐permit  designs.  Over  the  long  term,   Scenic  Hudson  is  committed  to  installing  additional  soft  shoreline  approaches  throughout  the  Hudson   River  and  to  studying  how  well  the  shorelines  adapt  to  rising  water,  storms,  and  other  events  with  the   hope  of  continuing  to  develop  information  about  how  to  better  design  structures  overtime.    He   indicated  he  would  make  his  organization’s  planning  staff  aware  of  the  HRSSP  resources,  and  facilitate   the  use  of  these  materials  at  Scenic  Hudson  properties.     Kristin  Marcell,  NYSDEC  Hudson  River  Estuary  Program  and  Cornell  U,  described  the  NYC  Coastal  Green   Shoreline  Infrastructure  Research  Plan,  and  recognized  the  value  of  the  HRSSP  approach  and  products  in   shaping  a  research  agenda  for  NYC.    Much  of  the     HRSSP  information  and  research,  as  well  as  outstanding  questions  identified  by  HRSSP,  are  incorporated   into  the  plan.  A  final  draft  will  be  available  for  review  in  coming  weeks.   (http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/100057.html).     Group  Discussion  The  discussion  focused  primarily  on  issues  related  to  the  permitting  process  and  how   to  make  sustainable  shorelines  approaches  the  default  proposed  approach  to  shoreline  management.   Others  offered  ideas  about  how  they  might  use  the  data:     • Several  members  underscored  the  importance  of  maintaining  the  website,  especially  as  a   resource  to  which  professional  designers  can  refer  their  clients.    Others  expressed  appreciation   to  permit  staff  for  directing  applicants  to  HRSSP  information,  and  one    said  that  knowing  the   permit  staff  direct  applicants  to  the  HRSSP  resources  makes  engineering  firms  more  comfortable   with  directing  clients  to  the  same  resources;  it  helps  clients  to  better  understand  the  decision   making  process  used  to  approve  or  deny  a  permit.       • Other  members  highlighted  the  need  to  generate  adoption  of  sustainable  shoreline  approaches   through  regulatory  means,  and  through  the  development  of  regulatory  guidance.  They  predict   there  will  be  an  increase  in  sustainable  shorelines  design  proposals  as  more  HRSSP  information   is  incorporated  into  the  regulatory  decision  making  process  and  becomes  more  the  norm.    In   Virginia,  for  example,  the  permit  application  requires  an  applicant  to  explain  why  they  did  not   propose  a  living  shoreline  approach  if  they  proposed  a  hard  shoreline  approach  instead.   • Participants  discussed  whether  or  not  sustainable  shorelines  designs  are  common  knowledge   and,  if  they  are  common  knowledge,  why  they  are  not  proposed  more  frequently.  Some   suggested  that  most  engineers  are  aware  of  ecologically  enhanced  approaches,  but  they  are   infrequently  selected  because  either  the  engineers  believe  the  approaches  are  harder  to  design   and  permit  and  cost  more  in  construction  and  maintenance  than  traditional  hard  shorelines  or,   soft  shoreline  approaches  are  not  selected  because  the  client  specifically  requests  a  hardened   shoreline  approach.  Others  said  that  most  engineers  are  not  aware  of  ecologically  enhanced   shoreline  design  options  and  many  clients  simply  think  that  bulkheads  help.  Additionally,  the   clients  are  not  inclined  to  pay  for  the  design  and  construction  of  something  that,  to  them,  looks   like  weeds.  Instead,  good  design  for  these  clients  means  a  shoreline  that  looks  “new.”     • Someone  suggested  it  would  be  great  to  create  holistic,  multipurpose  permit  authorization  /   application  that  meld  economic  development  with  the  restoration  of  neighboring  lands.     • A  few  commenters  described  how  they  might  use  the  HRSSP  information.    One  said  his   organization  is  in  the  process  of  updating  environmental  sensitivity  index  maps  and  he  could   incorporate  HRSSP  data  on  constructed,  enhanced,  or  natural  shorelines  into  the  index  to  help   complete  a  hazard  assessment  for  SLR  and  flooding.  Another  participant  commented  that  the   Interstate  Environmental  Commission  is  branching  into  other  areas  of  water  quality,  which  has   Sustainable  Shorelines  Advisory  Committee  Meeting  –  December  3,  2014  


    made  them  particularly  interested  in  HRSSP.  He  commented  that  in  some  places,  like  the   Chesapeake  Bay,  living  shorelines  will  receive  credit  for  TMDLs.  In  a  similar  vein,  he  is   considering  how  the  Commission  can  use  the  HRSSP  information  in  the  future.       Future  Action,  Engagement,  Research,  and  Collaboration     Because  the  current  funding  for  this  project  is  coming  to  an  end,  this  meeting  provided  an  opportunity   for  Advisory  Committee  members  to  offer  ideas  about  what  else  needs  work  in  the  Hudson  related  to   shorelines.    The  group  discussed  potential  areas  of  future  collaboration  and  coordination  on  research,   education,  and  outreach  to  advance  the  adoption  of  sustainable  shorelines  practices  in  the  Hudson   River.  Comments  and  ideas  are  grouped  thematically.       Promote  or  encourage  the  use  of  HRSSP  data  –  Several  participants  commented  that  a  critical  next  step   is  to  get  engineers,  designers,  permitters/regulators,  and  clients  of  engineering  firms  to  use  project  data.     • Technical  Assistance  -­‐  The  Advisory  Committee  or  a  similar  group  could  provide  active  technical   assistance  and  refined  guidance,  beyond  what  is  available  on  the  HRSSP  website,  to  parties   interested  in  implementing  a  sustainable  shoreline  design.     • Certification  or  Licensing   o Perhaps  there  should  be  a  certification  program  linked  to  regulations  and  permitting.   This  would  require  the  regulators  to  determine  that  certain  types  of  projects  are   approvable  and  engineers  or  designers  to  learn  about  the  available  data,  resources,  and   regulations  and  complete  a  certification  program.  This  would  enable  engineering  firms   to  use  the  certification  as  a  marketing  tool  to  show  they  understand  the  concepts  and   can  use  the  tools  to  complete  ecological  shoreline  design  faster  and  better.     o If  a  sustainable  shorelines  certification  program  is  developed,  consider  where  it  can  be   most  easily  inserted  into  education  and  career  development.  Accredited  undergraduate   programs  may  have  too  many  rigid  requirements;  but  a  semester  or  two  semester  long   course  to  disseminate  information  may  fit  more  easily  into  professional  development   plans  and  work  schedules.     o If  certification  leads  to  licensing,  the  licensing  authority  assumes  some  liability  with  the   professionals  that  are  certified  and  licensed.  Partner  organizations  may  be  useful  if  this   route  is  selected.     o Instead  of  certifying  engineers  or  consulting  firms,  perhaps  the  shoreline  design  itself   could  be  certified,  similar  to  Energy  Star  Certifications.     o Systems  Approach  to  Geomorphic  Engineering  (SAGE)  may  be  developing  a  similar   certification  program.    If  engineers  follow  specific  principles,  they  are  more  likely  to   receive  financial  support.  Restore  America’s  Estuaries  currently  has  a  grant  proposal  to   help  develop  a  shorelines  academy  that  would  lead  to  professional  certification.       Engage  the  railroad  companies  –  Participants  commented  on  the  potentially  significant  impact,   challenges,  and  opportunities  of  working  with  the  railroad  companies,  who  own  approximately  28%  of   the  Hudson  River  shorelines,  much  of  it  hardened.     • When  the  railroad  companies  update  their  infrastructure,  significant  impact  could  be  achieved   if  the  HRSSP  can  provide  feasible  sustainable  shoreline  design  solutions  that  meet  the   company’s  interest  in  protecting  their  infrastructure.     • Natural  disasters  that  disrupt  service  may  eventually  encourage  railroad  companies  to  take   different  approaches,  however  their  initial  efforts  are  likely  to  focus  on    less  expensive  solutions   such  as  raising  mechanical  equipment,  while  long  term  efforts  would  likely  focus  on  expensive   solutions  such  as  elevating  tracks.     Sustainable  Shorelines  Advisory  Committee  Meeting  –  December  3,  2014  


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Could  the  companies  be  convinced  to  provide  funding  for  sustainable  shorelines  strategies  if   they  understand  they  have  one  of  the  largest  impacts  on  the  shorelines  of  the  Hudson  River?     Government  could  provide  incentives  for  railroad  companies  to  implement  ecologically   enhanced  shoreline  designs.    These  could  be  through  encouragement  in  the  regulations  or   financial  assistance  for  design  or  construction.  However,  some  suggested  railroad  companies   are  unlikely  to  fund  anything  that  does  not  contribute  to  continued  operation  of  the  railroad.   Efforts  to  engage  the  Metropolitan  Transit  Authority  (MTA)  with  a  cooperative  grant  program   initially  seemed  promising  but  ultimately  were  not  successful.  Members  speculated  that  MTA   senior  management  may  not  be  aware  of  the  value  of  constructing  ecologically  enhanced   shorelines  on  their  properties.     Seek  funding  for  partnerships  with  the  railroad  companies  from  the  Hudson  River  Foundation.     The  MTA  could  be  a  good  partner.  They  may  be  interested  in  demonstration  projects.    

  Continue  to  develop  and  monitor  demonstration  sites  –  Several  participants  commented  on  the   importance  of  continuing  to  provide  and  monitor  on-­‐the-­‐ground  examples  of  sustainable  shorelines  to   help  answer  why  they  perform  well  or  not.     • Select  demonstration  sites  strategically  instead  of  opportunistically.  Identify  the  types  of  designs   we  want  to  construct,  identify  the  location  where  a  specific  design  is  feasible  and  take  action  to   secure  permission  and  authorization  to  design  and  construct  the  shoreline  treatment.  A  group   like  the  Advisory  Committee  could  be  used  to  identify  sites,  then  letters  could  be  sent  to  land   owners  requesting  time  to  discuss  the  potential  with  them.     • Set  a  goal  to  complete  a  specific  number  of  demonstration  projects  with  railroad  companies.   • Explore  the  potential  to  work  with  SAGE  on  demonstration  sites.         • Incorporate  natural  shorelines  into  the  demonstration  site  network  shorelines,  including  those   that  are  managed  with  ecological  approaches,  but  whose  landowners  may  not  know  they  are   doing  anything  special.  Publicly  recognize  landowner  for  their  management  practices  to  build   awareness  and  interest  in  sustainable  shorelines.     • Continue  to  monitor  demonstration  sites,  but  add  teeth  to  the  monitoring  program  to  ensure   sites  are  properly  maintained.    Continue  the  social  science  aspect  of  demonstration  site   monitoring,  for  insights  about  how  and  why  people  are  using  sustainable  shorelines.     • Implement  monitoring  that  would  allow  comparison  to  baseline  shoreline  types.    This  would   allow  for  comparisons  of  how  well  sites  weather  storm  events  and  the  type  and  cost  of   maintenance  required  after  the  storm  events  and  provide  data  about  what  the  benefit  of   incorporating  more  ecological  considerations  into  sites  (or  leaving  them  alone).       Continue  ecological  research–  Several  participants  highlighted  the  need  for  additional  information  or   action  on  specific  ecological  components.     • Ecological  Tradeoff  Analysis:  Participants  noted  the  hurdle  of  permitting  in-­‐water  structures  and   suggested  research  to  assess  the  tradeoffs  that  would  be  made  if  a  section  of  the  river  was  filled   in  or  a  structure  were  built  in  the  river.  In  particular,  a  participant  suggested  investigating  the   tradeoffs  between  breakwater  and  benthic  habitats,  since  the  benthic  habitat  impact  is  often   the  reason  a  permit  is  not  issued.     • Habitat  Maps:    Classify  areas  of  higher  or  lesser  value  river  bottom  habitat.    Because  the  use  of   many  benthic  habitats  by  fish  and  other  organisms  is  not  well  understood  and  variable  according   to  location,  life  stage,  and  season,  additional  research  may  be  warranted  to  develop   recommendations  for  in-­‐water  shoreline  structures/treatments  in  geographic  areas  where  one   treatment  has  ecological  advantages  over  another  treatment.  The  ecological  research  could  help   people  avoid  making  decisions  that  would  negatively  impact  valuable  habitat  areas.    A   participant  noted  that  sustainable  shoreline  treatments  are  typically  limited  to  impacted  or   developed  sites,  so  it  is  more  of  an  ecological  lift  than  an  ecological  trade.   Sustainable  Shorelines  Advisory  Committee  Meeting  –  December  3,  2014  



Reviewing  Opportunities  in  the  Regulations:  Another  potential  action  is  to  convene  a  dialogue   with  regulators,  resource  managers,  and  others  to  discuss  and  analyze  how  to  manage   shorelines  for  best  ecological  benefit,  then  compare  those  determinations  to  the  regulations  to   see  if  the  regulations  achieve  the  desired  ecological  benefits.  Then,  discuss  where  regulations   could  be  interpreted  to  allow  enhanced  ecological  benefit.     Shoreline  Retrofitting  Research:  Rigorously  test  retrofitting  shorelines.  For  example,  work  with   municipalities  to  convert  riprap  shorelines  into  a  more  ecologically  beneficial  shoreline.  This   research  could  be  done  as  part  of  the  Demonstration  Site  Network  and  could  also  produce   information  about  how  to  improve  shorelines  at  a  modest  cost.   Vegetation  Information:  Produce  information  about  the  types  of  plants  to  use  in  ecologically   enhanced  treatments,  lists  of  vendors  where  the  plants  can  be  obtained,  and  information  about   how  to  maintain  the  plants  (for  example,  herbivory  control  methods).    

  Future  Partnerships,  Collaboration,  and  Communication  –  Initially,  the  HRSSP  had  both  a  technical  group   and  an  advisory  committee;  but  the  two  were  combined  for  efficiency.  The  Advisory  Committee  has   grown  to  provide  a  forum  and  structure  for  disseminating  and  discussing  information  and  building   relationships.  While  group  members  overwhelmingly  supported  continuation  of  the  group  in  some  form,   they  offered  the  following  ideas  about  the  future  of  the  group.       • The  group  could  continue  to  serve  as  an  advisory  board.  For  example,  as  the  NYSDEC  staff   present  information  to  end  users,  they  could  collect  questions  and  concerns  and  bring  them  to   the  group  for  clarification.     • New  members  could  be  added  to  the  group.  If  the  group  continues,  consider  inviting   representatives  from  municipalities  and  other  state  or  federal  agencies  to  participate.     • Only  convene  the  group  if  there  is  a  specific  topic  or  project  that  could  benefit  from   coordination  among  participants.  This  may  mean  that  participants  only  attend  sessions  with   topics  of  interest  to  them.     • It  was  suggested  the  group  meet  twice  per  year,  assuming  there  is  good  reason.   • Many  members  present  liked  the  idea  of  working  together  on  the  development  of  an  outreach   or  extension  component  (training  package,  seminar,  or  other)  to  promote  the  use  of  the   information  and  tools  created  through  the  project.  Support  from  NYSDEC  staff  in  Albany  would   also  help  to  advance  information  dissemination.  For  example,  they  could  encourage  trainings  be   completed  by  Soil  and  Water  Conservation  Districts,  municipalities,  and  machine  operators  who   help  to  rebuild  stream  channels.     • Demonstration  site  monitoring  is  another  area  of  potential  coordination.  Currently,  only  the   minimum  monitoring  is  being  completed.  The  group  could  collectively  envision  a  better  way  to   operationalize  monitoring,  especially  after  big  storm  events  where  some  sites  may  succeed  and   fail  and  collection  of  data  points  would  be  of  high  value.       • Consider  partnerships  with  other  organizations  doing  similar  work.  Examples  include  SAGE,   Restore  America’s  Estuaries,  the  Climate  Change  Science  Clearinghouse  of  New  York,  or  creating   partnerships  and  sharing  best  practices  between  lakefront  and  riverfront  shoreline  managers   through  the  Great  Lakes  Restoration  Initiative.  Additionally,  if  members  are  aware  of  individuals   or  corporations  looking  for  areas  to  complete  mitigation  requirements,  they  could  contact  staff   at  DEC,  who  could  recommend  a  potential  project  from  the  list  of  Environmental  Benefits   Projects.     • Continue  to  maintain  the  HRSSP  website,  which  many  cited  as  a  valuable  resource,  and  consider   adding  an  interactive  online  forum  or  a  method  such  as  webinars  to  share  ideas  virtually.   Members  could  post  reports  or  present  what  they’ve  done  or  what  is  trending  in  their  area  of   expertise.  This  might  require  a  coordinator.       Project  Wrap  Up,  Final  Comments,  and  Next  Steps   Sustainable  Shorelines  Advisory  Committee  Meeting  –  December  3,  2014  


    Several  additional  products  are  forthcoming,  and  Advisory  Committee  members  may  be  asked  to   provide  feedback  on  those  products;  however  this  meeting  marked  the  final  opportunity  to  convene  as   the  Advisory  Committee.  Committee  members  offered  these  final  thoughts  on  the  project.     • Many  participants  commented  on  the  high  quality  and  usability  of  the  HRSSP  outputs  and  the   products’  applicability  to  their  work.  For  example,  one  participant  said  she  is  glad  the  website   makes  the  data  so  accessible,  because  it  serves  as  a  resource  that  she  can  extend  to  permit   applicants  and  provides  her  with  support  for  permitting  decisions  when  working  with  applicants   in  the  field.  Another  commented  on  how  useful  the  products  will  be  when  incorporated  into  the   Community  Risk  and  Resiliency  Act.  Several  new  participants  said  they  looked  forward  to  taking   the  HRSSP  products  and  incorporating  them  into  their  work  in  floodplain  management.  Another   participant  said  the  greatest  benefit  of  products  for  him  is  that  now  he  has  the  science  to   support  innovation  solutions.     • Many  participants  commented  on  the  value  of  participating  in  the  HRSSP.  For  example,  one   person  said  he  was  a  better  engineer  for  participating  in  the  HRSSSP  project.  Another  said   participation  was  really  valuable  because  it  provided  him  with  good  input  and  allowed  him  to   see  trends  and  build  understanding  of  likely  future  directions  ahead  of  the  marketplace.  Others   commented  on  the  value  of  extending  their  professional  network  by  interacting  with  people   they  otherwise  might  not  have  met.     • Several  participants  offered  congratulations  to  the  HRSSP  research  team.  Commenting  on  the   difficulty  of  sustaining  momentum  on  collaborative  projects,  a  member  stated  that  the  high   attendance  at  the  last  meeting  is  a  testament  to  the  strong  leadership,  organization,  and   facilitation  skills  of  the  Coordinating  Team.  Another  person  commented  that  it  was  a  model  for   future  collaborative  projects.  Another  member  said  the  project  was  successful  because  the   project  leaders  had  a  good  vision  for  a  five-­‐year  project  and  foresight  to  stay  ahead  of  the  curve.     • Several  participants  reiterated  the  importance  of  maintaining  this  network  of  engineers,   regulators,  municipal  leaders  and  agency  staff.       Betsy  Blair  and  Emilie  Hauser  thanked  all  the  participants  for  their  time  and  contribution  and  for  laying   groundwork  for  NYSDEC  to  move  forward.  They  gave  thanks  and  recognition  to  the  NERRS  Science   Collaborative,  whose  support  made  this  project  possible,  and  said  that  while  this  meeting  marked  the   close  of  a  chapter,  it  is  not  the  end  of  the  book.  They  look  forward  to  maintaining  contact  and   collaborating  with  the  members  of  the  Advisory  Committee  to  continue  making  positive  impact  in  years   to  come.    

Hudson  River  Sustainable  Shorelines  Advisory  Committee,  December  2014  

Sustainable  Shorelines  Advisory  Committee  Meeting  –  December  3,  2014  


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