Community Resilience and Disaster Risk Reduction
This year, The Nature Conservancy worked in New York’s Capitol to build on national and global efforts to increase community resilience to climate change. This work is an outgrowth of The Nature Conservancy’s participation on the post-Sandy New York State 2100 Commission, led by our CEO Mark Tercek.
To increase community resilience in New York State, we worked with legislators and other stakeholders to create legislation that will begin to proactively integrate data projecting risk from extreme weather and climate change, such as sea level rise, storm surge and flooding, into state funding and permitting programs. This legislation represents an important precedent in state policy because it marks the first time the state is statutorily acknowledging the risks of climate change and requiring proactive action to plan for impacts.
A diverse group of stakeholders joined The Nature Conservancy in support of the legislation, including the Business Council of New York State, the General Contractors Association, the Municipal Arts Society of NYC, the Reinsurance Association of America, the American Institute of Architects NY Chapter, the New York League of Conservation Voters, Environmental Advocates of New York, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Adirondack Council.
The bill was passed by the New York State Senate and Assembly. It will now be sent to the Governor for final action. Watch our executive director Bill Ulfelder talk about this bill in a NY1 segment.
Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention
In an effort to continue The Nature Conservancy’s work in New York to prevent the spread of invasive species, we partnered with local government officials and non-governmental partners including Lake Associations, environmental groups and academia to advocate in support of legislation that would provide authority for the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to address transport of aquatic invasive species on boats.
In our water-rich state, it is important to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species to our lakes, streams and rivers. Destructive species such as Hydrilla and Eurasian Watermilfoil have invaded waterways throughout New York, costing communities millions in efforts to eradicate or control them.
The Nature Conservancy worked with DEC, other stakeholders and legislators to advance state legislation requiring boaters to remove visible plants and animals from their watercraft upon exit of waterways. Studies have shown that this simple preventative action can greatly reduce the spread of aquatic invasive species. Similar policies have already been enacted locally in about a dozen municipalities around New York State, and our hope is expanding this policy statewide will protect our waterways as well as economies.
The bill was passed by the New York State Assembly and Senate, and will be sent to the Governor for action in the coming weeks.
Restrict the Illegal Ivory Market
New York represents the No. 1 market for illegal ivory in the United States. This year, The Nature Conservancy in New York assisted in supporting the creation of new policy to restrict the sale and trade of ivory products in New York. As part of this effort, which was led by our partners at the Wildlife Conservation Society and Natural Resources Defense Council, The Nature Conservancy discussed with state legislators our work in Africa to support community-based conservation and strategies to reduce poaching.
Discussions about legislation to restrict the sale and trade of ivory in New York included stakeholders from conservation organizations, law enforcement and the antique, auction and music industries. Following these discussions, legislation was passed in the New York State Senate and Assembly, and it is expected the Governor will sign the bill into law.