Cuomo’s $3B Restore Mother Nature Bond Act Is A Big Deal

Adirondack Almanac: Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2020 State of the State speech included two big pieces of good news for the Adirondack Park.

The first major highlight was his proposal for a $3 Billion Restore Mother Nature Bond Act that will support a variety of pressing environmental and climate change challenges across New York. This proposal is the first listed in the 2020 State of the State book that accompanied the speech.

The details and final scope and elements of the Restore Mother Nature Bond Act will be negotiated as part of the state budget, due by April 1st. It will then need to be approved by the state’s voters in November, but if passed this would be the biggest environmental bond act in New York’s history. The Restore Mother Nature Bond Act marks the Governor’s intention to make major investments in the protection of natural resources across the Adirondacks and New York and provide support for a variety of climate change mitigation efforts.

In the Restore Mother Nature Bond Act, the Governor proposes funding to “reduce flood risk and revitalize critical fish and wildlife habitats by connecting streams and waterways, right-sizing culverts and dams, restoring freshwater and tidal wetlands, reclaiming natural floodplains, restocking shellfish populations and upgrading fish hatcheries, preserving open space, conserving more forest areas, replanting more trees, reducing contamination from agricultural and storm water runoff, and expanding renewable energy.” Many pieces in this litany of priorities are pertinent and applicable to the Adirondack Park.

The $3 billion bond act is a decade’s worth of the $300 million annual New York State Environmental Protection Fund that will be allocated immediately. Many of these programs will benefit the natural resources and rural communities in the Adirondack Park. With the exception of “restocking shellfish populations,” though some native mussels in the Adirondacks are threatened, all of the other issues enumerated by the Governor will help protect the Adirondacks. Many worthwhile projects could be funded in the years ahead, from culvert right-sizing that enhances habitat to land acquisition to stewardship of state lands to stormwater control to fighting climate change with renewables and reclaiming floodplains. Read more>>