As the practice of climate adaptation grows organically across New York State, the planning and implementation of climate resilience measures remains challenging. Outdated frameworks, small budgets and lack of adequate staffing makes it hard for local government to face a changing climate. In order to adequately prepare our communities for the future, we need cohesive climate mitigation and adaptation plans, policies, and practices which address greenhouse gas emissions, smart growth, zoning reform, long-term infrastructure, and protection of waterways. Federal and state agencies play key roles in shaping our response to this need, but local and regional stakeholders–NGOs, academic institutions, community groups, etc.–are also critical in developing and executing effective strategies for climate adaptation.

Rebuild by Design is partnering with Cornell University’s Water Resources Institute and Syracuse University’s Environmental Finance Center to establish and lead the NYS Adaptation Practitioner’s Network, an effort which seeks to: 

1) Connect and build relationships among non-profit organizations advising local governments on climate adaptation; 

2) Share knowledge and develop the professional practice in a variety of contexts (e.g., rural to urban); 

3) Identify processes, models, and tools that create high-quality vulnerability assessments and adaptation projects and discuss how to scale and replicate. 

The network works on issues such as the implementation of New York State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, helping the State move towards its climate targets. It will also continue to advocate for the approval and implementation of the $3 Billion Environmental Bond Act, which focuses on equitable and sustainable interventions to climate change through flood risk reduction, open space and land conservation, greening buildings, and water quality improvements. As more resilient infrastructure opportunities become available through the Bond Act, the federal infrastructure investments, or traditional budget cycles, the Network – with its embedded State agency partners – is well positioned to advise the state on policy development and equitable implementation. Through a combined effort, this network will build off its successes to create, champion, and enact equitable policies throughout New York, best serving our communities and becoming a model for other states. 

The NYS Adaptation Practitioner’s Network currently brings together over 50 individuals representing 32 organizations or institutions from Buffalo to Long Island, as well as select State government policy-makers who have oversight of climate resilience-related programs. The outputs of these efforts take the form of policy development, advocacy, and capacity building.

If you are interested in becoming a member of the Network or would like to refer someone else, please email sign up here.

Participating members of the NYS Adaptation Practitioner’s Network represent the following organizations and institutions:

Current Non Government Network Members:

Ausable River Association

Bronx River Alliance

Consensus Building Institute

Cornell University Community and Regional Development Institute

Cornell University Program on Infrastructure Policy

Cornell Cooperative Extension

Gowanus Canal Conservancy

Green Worker Cooperative

Harlem River Working Group

Hudson River Estuary Program

Hudson River Foundation

Manhattan College

Natural Areas Conservancy

New York University

New York Water Environmental Association

New York State Sea Grant

New York Water Resources Institute

Newtown Creek Alliance

Niagara/Buffalo Waterkeeper

Otsego County Soil and Water 

Push Buffalo

Rebuild by Design

Rust 2 Green 

Sarah Laurence University

Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay

Stonybrook University

Syracuse University Environmental Finance Center

Tompkins County

The Hope Program

The Nature Conservancy 

Waterfront Alliance

Current Government Network Members:

New York State Agriculture and Markets

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

New York State Department of Homeland Security and Environmental Services

New York State Department of State

New York State Energy & Research Development Association