Adaptation and Resilience
Resilient Design and Development on the Waterfront - The City of Kingston is participating with stakeholders and partners on Kingston's waterfront to improve the resiliency and sustainability of the shoreline, implement an economic development strategy, and develop better access to the river, parks and open space on the waterfront for people on foot, on bicycle, and in boats. Many plans for the waterfront have been developed, and it's Kingston time to implement some of the excellent ideas generated by the community and planners over the years. Several grants have been secured to implement elements of these plans.
For the most up to date information, waterfront plans and projects
are listed on the City's Rondout Riverport page.
The City of Kingston has produced a Flood Preparedness Guide that gives residents in flood-prone areas a plan for safety and provides official evacuation routes. The City’s Sustainability Coordinator worked with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County and the Kingston Fire Department on a Flood Preparedness Guide for downtown Kingston residents, which contains important information about preparing for, staying safe during, and recovering from flooding.
Visit the Flood Preparedness information page
Kingston Hosts Waterfront Resilience Summit and High Water Festival-
The City of Kingston hosted a day-long celebration of waterfront resilience and revitalization on Friday, October 19th at Rondout Landing. The event celebrated the progress that the city has made towards revitalization of the waterfront, while adapting to projected flooding and inundation caused by sea level rise and extreme storms related to a changing climate.
The day began with the Waterfront Resilience Summit, which was held from 12:00 to 4:00 pm at the Kingston Home Port and Education Center. Hosted by Mayor Steve Noble, the Summit included a Forum on Opportunity and Innovation that featured a panel of mayors and supervisors from Hudson Valley municipalities, who shared details about steps their localities are taking to increase resilience to climate-change related hazards. The panel included Ed Blundell, Mayor of the Village of Red Hook; Gary Bassett, Mayor of the Village of Rhinebeck; Tim Rogers, Mayor of the Village of New Paltz; and Neil Bettez, Supervisor of the Town of New Paltz. The Summit also included a presentation on the Cornell University Landscape Architecture Department’s Climate-adaptive Design Studio that has focused on the Kingston waterfront; a walking tour of flood-adapted structures, including the city’s wastewater treatment plant; and descriptions of the cities efforts to increase resilience of the Rondout Creek and Hudson River waterfronts in Kingston.
The Waterfront Resilience Summit was followed by the High Water Festival, a family-friendly event that featured exhibits and activities related to waterways and resilience. The High Water Festival was held from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm at the Kingston Home Port and Education Center, Hudson River Maritime Museum and the Historic Cornell Steamboat Building. Exhibits and activities were provided by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County, Riverkeeper, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Hudson River Maritime Museum, Climate Smart Kingston, Ulster County Green Business Challenge, Ucart and Kingston Land Trust. Volunteers from the American Red Cross helped attendees to assemble an emergency to-go kit with contents provided by the City of Kingston. Artist Maria Lazo worked with children to create a mural. Musical performances by Future350 NU Bossa, Malcolm Burn and Sandrine, Rachel Loshak and Robert Burke Warren, and Eleni Reyes and Peter Wetzler were featured at the Historic Cornell Steamboat Building throughout the festival. The future of Kingston’s waterfront, as envisioned by students from Cornell University Landscape Architecture Department’s Climate-adaptive Design Studio were also featured at the Cornell Steamboat Building. The festival culminated with a performance by Arm of the Sea Theater.
The Waterfront Resilience Summit and High Water Festival was made possible through a grant from the National League of Cities (NLC). Kingston has been honored by recognition from the NLC’s Sustainable Cities Institute, which highlights climate leadership in local government. Additional sponsors of the event include the Hudson River Maritime Museum and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County. Partners include the NYS DEC Hudson River Estuary Program, Historic Kingston Waterfront Cornell Steamboat Building, Cornell University, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Clove & Creek, Hops Petunia, Rondout Inn, Storefront Gallery, Climate Smart Kingston Commission and the Rondout Riverport Community Coalition.
Waterfront Flooding Task Force – Kingston is one of four Hudson riverfront communities to convene a Waterfront Flooding Task Force. In 2013 the Task Force studied sea level rise and flood projections, analyzed local vulnerability assessments and recommended 24 strategies for increasing the resilience of waterfront areas. In 2016-2017, Kingston initiated a series of meetings with the other Flood Resilience Task Force communities to combine efforts in pursuit of adaptation strategies. This project has been funded in part by a grant from the New York State Environmental Protection Fund through the Hudson River Estuary Program of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
Download the Kingston Tidal Waterfront Flooding Task Force Final Report and view the full proceedings here.
Download the Sea Level Rise Implementation Learning Group Report here.
Inspiring the Community – See the City of Kingston, featured in several of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Hudson River Estuary Program's "Adaptation Inspiration" videos highlighting the shoreline of the Hudson River and how sustainable shorelines can help us become more resilient.
Adapt: The Key to Climate Resilience
Adapt: The Key to Climate Resilience (Spanish captions)
Sea-level Rise: Planning Coastal Development
Sea-level Rise: Planning Coastal Development (Spanish captions)
Sustainable Shorelines (Spanish captions)
Implementing Waterfront Zoning – Waterfront zoning is an important step that communities can take to reduce vulnerability to flooding. Communities may opt to pass a Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance, create a Flood Overlay District, or pass an amendment to existing zoning that recognizes new FEMA Base Flood Elevations. The NYS Community Risk and Resiliency Act (CRRA) will require municipalities to mitigate risks from sea-level-rise, flooding and other climate related hazards and will provide model local lows to assist compliance. Kingston created a Flood Hazard Overlay District within the city zoning ordinance in 2009. Now, as part of the second phase of the update to Kingston’s Comprehensive Plan, the City is undergoing a zoning code revision. Follow that process here.
Hosting the Cornell University Climate Adaptive Design Studio - The Climate-Adaptive Design (CAD) Studio links Cornell students in landscape architecture with Hudson Riverfront communities to explore design alternatives for more climate resilient, beautiful and connected waterfront areas. The studio is an effort in partnership with Cornell Landscape Architecture Department, Cornell Water Resources Institute, the NYS DEC Hudson River Estuary Program and the participating municipality. The CAD Studio envisioned a more resilient Rondout waterfront, and graduate student design team Hong Gao, Luyao Kong and Qianli Feng received the prestigious American Society of Landscape Architects honor award in 2017 for their Weaving the Waterfront design for Kingston Point. Read an article about the award, and click here to watch a video about the Climate Adaptive Design Studio. The CAD Studio focused on the parcel level on Kingston’s tidal water front, hosting a Studio in 2016 and 2017. The
project culminates with an open house to share student ideas with the community. CAD designs show the
community options for development and revitalization that also deal with expected sea-level rise and flooding.
By taking a comprehensive design approach, the student teams incorporate human and natural systems to
inspire adaptation and innovation. CAD hosted a third Studio on Kington’s Rondout Waterfront in Spring 2018.
Want to see what sea level rise looks like in your neighborhood? Visit Scenic Hudson’s Sea Level Rise Mapper to view projected impacts.
Becoming a Climate Smart Community – The New York State Climate Smart Communities (CSC) Program is a network of New York communities engaged in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving climate resilience.
- Municipalities become involved with the CSC Program by adopting the CSC Pledge, which includes 10 elements that lead to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and provide guidance on climate change adaptation.
- Municipalities can opt to participate in the Climate Smart Certification Program, which has four certification levels: certified, bronze, silver and gold.Communities can access technical support and funding opportunities to reach their certification goals.
- The City of Kingston achieved Bronze Climate Smart Community certification in 2014, and Silver in 2018, both the highest level achieved by any municipality in New York State. Kingston has completed a variety of adaptation and mitigation strategies to achieve this level, including appointing a commission, conducting a Greenhouse Gas Inventory and creating a Climate Action Plan. The Climate Action Plan outlines strategies and actions for the city to take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and set a goal for energy use reduction of 20% by 2020. In 2018, the City will be updating our Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory, tracking our progress, and understanding the road ahead toward achieving our goals. For more information, visit the Climate Smart Kingston webpage, and view Kingston’s Climate Smart Communities Profile.