March 2020
monthly newsletter
Update from the Hudson River Watershed Alliance
Walk Along a Waterbody
Limits on public gatherings due to COVID-19 has led the Hudson River Watershed Alliance to postpone several events this spring. We were looking forward to them, but we're working on bringing you watershed education and capacity-building in other forms. (See below for resources related to stream and buffer protection that have been posted to our website .)

The Hudson River Watershed Alliance board and staff have switched to remote and video conference meetings. We are prioritizing the health of our Hudson River watershed community, especially our community members who are most at-risk or impacted.

We are continuing to work to unite and empower communities to protect local water resources, so please don't hesitate to reach out if there's anything we can do to help support your work.

Do you need phone or video conferencing technology to help with meetings? A phone call to help strategize watershed work for the next year? Maybe it's time to read all those existing reports and start writing a watershed assessment to summarize it all. Whatever you need, please reach out. We're here to help.

In this time of social distancing, a walk by a river or stream can help clear the mind and get some fresh air. Maybe there’s a stream in your neighborhood or a park you haven’t been to yet.

If you take a walk along a waterbody (while practicing responsible social distancing) please tag us on social media at @hudsonriverwatershedalliance and #hudsonriverwatershed ! Or email any photos to Emily .

We would love to compile a “live stream” of photos from across our watershed!

Stay healthy and well!
Nominate a WaveMaker!
We're currently considering our options for the Toast to the Tribs award benefit, which is scheduled for Tuesday, June 2 at The Falcon in Marlboro. In the meantime, we're still accepting nominations for our Watershed WaveMaker awards !

Do you know an individual, a watershed group, and/or an organization, institution, or business that is working tirelessly to protect water resources in the Hudson River watershed? Nominate them for a WaveMaker award! Nomination guidelines are posted here . We'll be accepting nominations on a rolling basis.
Stream & Buffer Protection Workshop
Originally scheduled for April 3 at SUNY New Paltz, we're postponing this workshop on stream and buffer protection. In the meantime, we've posted a number of resources on our website, available here .

Resources include model local laws, guides to what municipalities can do to conserve natural areas, and details from US EPA on the new Navigable Waters Protection Rule.
Community Resilience Building Workshop: Ossining, Briarcliff Manor, & New Castle
In partnership with The Nature Conservancy, Hudson River Watershed Alliance held a Community Resiliency Building Workshop on February 27 with the Village of Ossining, Town of Ossining, Village of Briarcliff Manor, and Town of New Castle in Westchester County.

This workshop brings together municipalities to collectively identify community assets that are vulnerable to flooding and other climate hazards, and start to prioritize next steps.
Watershed Highlight
Ulster County Watershed Roundtable
Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan attended the Ulster County Watershed Roundtable, and shared his interests in understanding connections between watershed protection and economic development.
Participants discussing collaborations at the Ulster County Watershed Roundtable.
Discussions at the Ulster County Watershed Roundtable included perspectives from watershed groups, county agencies, and land trusts.
Members of the Rondout Creek Watershed Alliance and Ulster County Department of the Environment staff described their projects and priorities.
Compilation of the current work, opportunities, needs/gaps, and emerging issues for watershed work in Ulster County.
The Ulster County Watershed Roundtable was held on March 5 in Kingston as a joint project between the new Ulster County Water Quality Coordinating Committee and the watershed groups of Ulster County. 

The Ulster County Water Quality Coordinating Committee was recently formed to protect and improve the waters of Ulster County and ensure the resilience of watershed systems. Participating Ulster County agencies and county departments include:
  • Department of the Environment,
  • Department of Health and Mental Health,
  • Department of Public Works,
  • Planning Department,
  • Soil and Water Conservation District,
  • Environmental Management Council, and
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County.

While the Water Quality Coordinating Committee has focused first on coordinating the efforts of county agencies and departments, they were also looking for a way to introduce themselves and their work to the broader community. 

At the same time, members of the watershed groups in Ulster County were meeting and starting to work together. In particular, Mary McNamara from the Lower Esopus Watershed Partnership , Jason West from the Wallkill River Watershed Alliance , and Laura Finestone from the Rondout Creek Watershed Alliance were discussing opportunities to collaborate. This group approached the Ulster County Water Quality Coordinating Committee, and the Watershed Roundtable was a meeting that both groups wanted to happen.

The roundtable had excellent attendance, with a number of watershed groups, county agencies, and organizations represented. During first part of the meeting, each person introduced themselves, a fact or accomplishment about their work, and a need or opportunity. This portion was facilitated by Melinda Herzog from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County. Each participant also filled out a survey on their work to get more details.

The second part of the meeting was focused on small group discussions. The goal was to have participants learn about what each other are working on, identify opportunities to improve watershed management or water quality, identify needs and gaps that are not being addressed, and highlight what new or emerging issues are on the horizon. Each group organized their information with Post-It notes on a large sheet of paper. 

Each of the four groups reported out at the end of the day, transferring their Post-It notes to put all the information together. Emily Vail from the Hudson River Watershed Alliance compiled the Post-Its by topic and identified some overarching themes. A number of opportunities were identified around stormwater management, such as MS4 (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System) work and education. A number of challenges were identified around funding, including fiscal sponsorship for volunteer watershed groups, grant-writing and administrative support, and finding match funds for grants.

The meeting was a successful way to bring agencies, non-profits, watershed groups, and volunteers together across a specific geographic area to focus on collaboration. Participants expressed surprise at the number of entities working on these issues, and the number of resources that are available.

Participants were very interested in continuing these conversations, and the Ulster County Water Quality Coordinating Committee meetings that are open to the public will be a good opportunity to do so. Information from the Roundtable will be summarized into a report by the Water Quality Coordinating Committee, and will be a helpful starting point to prioritize next steps.

NYS DEC: DECinfo Locator

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's DECinfo Locator, the agency's interactive data application, now includes downloadable annual water withdrawal reports and functionality updates to improve user experience. This interactive mapping tool now has 65 data layers, including SPDES permits for wastewater facilities, MS4 areas, Climate Smart Communities, Critical Environmental Areas, and potential environmental justice areas.

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation: National Coastal Resilience Fund Pre-Proposals due April 8

NFWF will award approximately $31 million in grants to create and restore natural systems in areas that will both increase protection for communities from coastal storms, sea- and lake-level changes, inundation, and coastal erosion, and also improve valuable habitats for fish and wildlife species. NFWF will invest in projects in four focus areas: Community Capacity Building and Planning, Project Site Assessment and Preliminary Design, Project Final Design and Permitting, and Restoration and Monitoring.

Patagonia: Corporate Grants Program applications due April 30

Patagonia’s Corporate Grants Program supports small grassroots activist organizations with provocative direct-action agendas, working strategically on multi-pronged campaigns to preserve and protect our environment. They support local groups that work to protect local habitats and frontline communities through bold, original actions.


Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County: Energy Navigator & REALIGN Program Manager

The Energy Navigator and REALIGN (Roundtable for Energy Affordability in Low-Income Groups and Neighborhoods) Program Manager will work under the direction and supervision of the Environment & Energy Program Leader. This position will manage and coordinate volunteer outreach to community members utilizing a “neighbor-to-neighbor” approach and at community events focused in the cities of Poughkeepsie, Newburgh and Kingston. The position will be responsible for enhancing the current Energy Navigator Volunteer Program resources and collaborations, as well as providing guidance and oversight to the Energy Navigator volunteers. This position will also be responsible for organizing and coordinating all of the details of four regional stakeholder meetings/events engaging relevant stakeholders and partners on energy affordability and streamlining the referral of low-income residents into various assistance programs in the region. This is a temporary, full time, exempt, benefits eligible position, grant funded for one year. Apply online by March 18.

Cornell Cooperative Extension Ulster County: Natural Resource Educator

This Natural Resource Educator is responsible for developing, implementing, and evaluating research based natural resources educational programs targeting community residents, both adults and youth, and decision makers, to promote positive stewardship of the environment, addressing issues in water, energy and climate change. Working under the supervision of, and with guidance from, the Healthy Communities Issue Leader, the Natural Resource Educator develops program goals and objectives, plans of work, applies for and manages funding, within the assigned areas of responsibility. This is a part time, 24 hours per week, non-exempt, benefits eligible position.  Apply online by March 23.

Sustainable Hudson Valley: Outreach and Communications Coordinator

Sustainable Hudson Valley in Rhinebeck is hiring an Outreach and Communications Coordinator to support regional work in the clean energy marketplace and sustainable resource management. The Coordinator will support SHV’s HeatSmart and Drive Electric programs, group purchases of renewable technology generally, and education using the just-published 2020 Clean Power Guide. The person will manage outreach to build participation and meet program goals. Degree and/or field experience in sustainability plus 5–10 years experience are desirable. For more information or to apply, send resume, cover letter and 3 references by March 23 to Executive Director Melissa Everett .
The Hudson River Watershed Alliance unites and empowers communities to protect their local water resources
This newsletter is supported in part by the Hudson River Estuary Program, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, with support from the New York State Environmental Protection Fund, in cooperation with the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission.