Roaring Brook culvert.
A view of Roaring Brook culvert. © Erika Bailey/TNC

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Governor Cuomo Proposes $3 Billion Bond Act, First Environmental Bond Act in 24 Years

Proposed Bond Act Would Use Nature to Protect Communities from Flooding, Restore Critical Fish Habitat, and Preserve Open Space

In his State of the State address today, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed a $3 billion Bond Act that, if enacted by voters in November, would protect communities from flooding with natural buffers like wetlands; preserve open space and wildlife habitat; and expand renewable energy. The Bond Act proposal includes an important emphasis on natural infrastructure improvements, which have a myriad of benefits for people, infrastructure, and wildlife. For example, “rightsizing” culverts improves road safety, prevents expensive damage to local roads and infrastructure, and ensures fish can move, eat, and spawn.

The Governor also proposed a $300 million Reimagine the Canals Initiative, to support work along the Erie Canal that would reduce flooding, increase economic development, combat invasive species, and restore wildlife habitat while also providing communities important benefits like additional water for our farms. 

Stuart F. Gruskin, New York chief of conservation and external affairs for The Nature Conservancy in New York said, “The Nature Conservancy commends Governor Cuomo for delivering a State of the State with historic proposals for New York’s environment. The Reimagine the Canals Initiative presents previously unimaginable opportunities to prevent invasive species, naturalize the Mohawk River, and prevent flooding -- all while promoting community prosperity and new economic development programs throughout Upstate New York. We look forward to working with state agencies and other stakeholder to realize this vision.” 

Jessica Ottney Mahar, New York policy and strategy director for The Nature Conservancy said, “On the heels of New York making history with climate and environmental policy in 2019, Governor Cuomo has once again prioritized our natural resources and tackling climate change in 2020. The proposed Bond Act is an opportunity to reduce flooding in our communities, protect forests and open space, and reduce harmful carbon pollution, the driver of climate change. Our children and grandchildren are depending on us to protect their future, and this measure is an important opportunity to do that. We look forward to working with the State Legislature and Governor this year to ensure voters have the chance to realize this historic opportunity.”

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 79 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.