Chair- Nathan Mitchell
History of PWRTF and PWRC:
Piermont’s location along the banks of the Hudson River and the Sparkill Creek makes it one of the most beautiful places to live but also poses unique challenges to the Village. Waterfront flooding, once an occasional problem for residents, will undoubtedly worsen over time due to the effects of sea level rise. Flooding is not just a problem for people who live near the water. The Piermont Waterfront Resilience Task Force (PWRTF) was formally launched in November 2013 to begin the work of creating a safer, more vibrant waterfront. In 2014, the Village accepted the WRTF recommendations for a comprehensive flood and sea level rise resilience roadmap and created a permanent Village Committee (The Piermont Waterfront Resiliency Committee) with the goal of continuing to plan for a more resilient future for Piermont.
Community Meeting on Resilience and Preparedness – In October of 2018, the PWRC hosted a community meeting to share updates on their work. Attendees learned of the progress that the committee has made on addressing flood risks, and was informed about steps residents can take to be better prepared for emergencies. A presentation and question and answer session were led by PWRC Chairman Nathan Mitchell, who shared details about steps the Village has taken to address flooding from storms and rising sea levels, including updating building codes, acquiring a back-up generator for the Firehouse emergency shelter, and elevating Ferry Road. The presentation can be viewed here.
Village of Piermont Flood Guide and Topo Map:
The PWRC created a 3D topographical map of the village, including structures and ABFE information that is on display at Village Hall, and a flood guide detailing evacuation routes and safe parking areas. All residents should be aware of risks and know how to find information and help when flooding occurs. Whether you live in the flood zone or not, being prepared for an emergency is important. Keep this Village of Piermont Flood Guide handy so you know where to find help if you need it.
Communicating with Landowners – Decisions about whether to adapt, armor or retreat from their flood-prone property can be very difficult for landowners to consider. The Consensus Building Institute is working with residents of Piermont who live in areas that are vulnerable to flooding to discuss options for the future of their neighborhoods.
Flood Insurance Premium Reductions – Municipal participation in FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Community Rating System (CRS) can lead to a reduction in premium rates for residents. Piermont is applying to participate in CRS, with an expected 10% reduction in premiums for households with flood insurance.
Making Wise Land Use Decisions
Updating the Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan – The Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) is administered through the NYS Department of State and provides coastal areas, including Hudson Estuary riverfront communities, with support for planning and implementing improvements on their waterfront. Climate adaptation and flood reduction strategies are encouraged as part of the LWRP process. The Village of Piermont completed an update of our original LWRP, which was developed in 1992, to include resilient waterfront recommendations.
Nature-based Solutions: Conserving Natural Landscapes – The conservation of natural landscapes, such as forests and wetlands, can help to reduce damaging floods. The Piermont Waterfront Resiliency Commission is working with NYS DEC to research the role of Piermont Marsh in protecting the village from storm surge, and to understand the threats that sea-level rise poses to the marsh’s long-term viability.
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, Cornell Water Resources Institute, the NYS DEC Hudson River Estuary Program and the participating municipality. The CAD Studio envisioned a more resilient Piermont waterfront in the Fall of 2017. Click here to watch a video about the Climate Adaptive Design Studio.
Hosting the City College of New York School of Architecture Design Studio – The 2018 City College of New York project partners Piermont and the City College School of Architecture in exploring relocation and land swap options to adapt to changing sea levels and should be completed in early 2019.
Neighbor to Neighbor Alert System – The Neighbor to Neighbor (N2N) Alert System helps community members to communicate during emergencies and check in on neighbors to ensure that everyone stays safe. The PWRC invites residents to enroll in the Piermont N2N Alert System, either as Team Leaders or to request a check-in during an emergency. Residents can volunteer to be an N2N Team Leader, who helps people in their neighborhood to be aware of, prepare for and communicate during emergencies. Team Leaders check in on neighbors to ensure their safety and informs first responders of local conditions and hazards. Residents can also register for a check-in during an emergency, and to let Team Leaders and first responders know about any special needs of family members. Sign up online here or at Village Hall.
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 and can access technical support and funding opportunities to reach their certification goals.
The Village of Piermont adopted the CSC pledge, has fulfilled key requirements of CSC certification and will be submitting an application for certification imminently. The Village conducted a Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventory and is considering additional projects to complete the certification process. For more updates on CSC, visit the Sustainable Piermont page on the Village’s website.
Want to see what sea-level rise looks like in your neighborhood? Visit Scenic Hudson’s Sea Level Rise Mapper at http://scenichudson.org/slr/mapper to view projected impacts, or come down to Village Hall to find your house on our Topo map!
This content was written by Elizabeth LoGiudice through a partnership between River Haggie Outdoors and Cornell University Water Resources Institute, with funding from the Environmental Protection Fund through the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Hudson River Estuary Program.