Resiliency Progress Tracker
"Climate Smart Communities" Checklist Provides the
Blueprint for Resiliency
Seven Year look-back at Superstorm Sandy:
Since that Time
While the Superstorm Sandy recovery continues seven years later, the question remains: what is government doing to ensure that the rebuilt structures will withstand the next extreme weather event?
Government must prioritize resiliency if it is to hold up its end of The Deal with those who choose to invest in Nassau County. As we saw seven years ago, the resiliency plans put in place before Superstorm Sandy are not adequate. The urgency is real. Living and thriving in Nassau County is not an option if floodwaters are routinely rising, wiping out our beaches and parks, and causing us to constantly patch our vital infrastructure back together.
There must be a renewed sense of urgency to reinforce our infrastructure against extreme weather events and make sure, at the very least, government is not contributing to the drivers of climate change.
At a Glance - Where Does the Recovery Stand Today?
The Long Island region has received hundreds of millions of dollars in state and federal assistance to rebuild stronger after Superstorm Sandy through a variety of programs.
One of the most prominent of those programs is New York Rising Community Reconstruction. Thirteen communities in Nassau County were eligible for New York Rising funds. As of May 2019, there are 68 New York Rising projects in various stages of implementation, including the improvements in drainage infrastructure aimed at mitigating the impact of flooding, the reconstruction of bridges, and additional solar power backup to streetlights.
For more information about the New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program, click here.
What Needs to be Done Moving Forward?
Government needs to have real plans in place that make our homes and infrastructure resilient enough to withstand the storms that we know will come — this year, next year or a decade from now. Our efforts will provide our County and local municipalities access to the information and resources they need to improve resiliency and combat climate change.
Not only do investments in resiliency pay a return on quality of life, they also save taxpayer money in the long run. According to the National Institute of Building Sciences, every dollar invested in resiliency and hazard mitigation yields $6 in future savings to the country and every dollar spent on improving building codes to better withstand natural disasters saves society $4.
Numerous studies and reports have been conducted on the impacts of Superstorm Sandy. In the Comptroller’s Office, our role is not to replicate that work, but to:
- Serve as an information hub
- Facilitate the use of “Nassau Saves”, the County's online Shared Services portal
- Track progress on the Open Nassau Transparency Hub
What We're Doing
On October 29, 2019, the 7th anniversary of Superstorm Sandy’s landfall, Nassau County Comptroller Jack Schnirman announced his office will be launching the "Resiliency Progress Tracker".
The Comptroller’s Office will be compiling information and displaying it on the Open Nassau Transparency Hub so that everyone can see what is being done to prevent another weather-related catastrophe and build stronger, safer communities. That information will be updated regularly to ensure that the public is aware of the progress being made to keep them safe from extreme weather events.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC)’s Climate Smart Communities program will serve as the backbone of this initiative as it provides a comprehensive checklist of initiatives communities can undertake and tool-kits for their implementation. The NYSDEC also provides potential grant funding to municipalities engaging in this type of work, more information on which can be found here .
What is the Climate Smart Communities Program?
The Climate Smart Communities program is New York State’s effort to provide support, technical assistance, and leadership to the state’s local governments as they undertake actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change.
Local government can earn Climate Smart Communities Certification through compliance with a robust, comprehensive rating system. Completing High Impact Actions can result in Clean Energy Community grants and on-demand technical assistance. Through the Climate Smart Communities program, local municipalities can become more resilient in the face of climate impacts on their communities.
Where Do We Stand Now?
Eight municipalities in Nassau County have taken the Climate Smart Communities pledge. So far, only the City of Long Beach has taken the next step and completed enough resiliency work to earn a certification from NYSDEC. The City of Long Beach received Bronze certification in 2019. On January 2nd, 2020, Nassau County passed a resolution to take the Climate Smart Communities pledge.
- Nassau County (Registered)
This is a map of every community that has already taken the Climate Smart Communities Pledge.
What Do Our Municipalities Need To Do?
There are 12 categories of preparedness work the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation requires to enter into this program. For more information about how to achieve these goals, click here. Our office is sending this checklist to every local municipality. Check back to track our communities' progress.
1. Build a climate-smart community
2. Inventory emissions, set goals, and plan for climate action
3. Decrease energy use
4. Shift to clean, renewable energy
5. Use climate-smart materials management
6. Implement climate-smart land use
7. Enhance community resilience to climate change
8. Support a green innovation economy
9. Inform and inspire the public
10. Engage in an evolving process of climate action
1. National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS). 2017. Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves: 2017 Interim Report. Retrieved from https://www.fema.gov/natural-hazard-mitigation-saves-2017-interim-report.
2. Department of Public Works in Nassau County, New York. 2018. Infrastructure. Retrieved from https://www.nassaucountyny.gov/1865/Public-Works.
3. NOAA National Hurricane Center. 2013. Tropical Cyclone Report: Hurricane Sandy (2013). Retrieved from https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/data/tcr/AL182012_Sandy.pdf: April 2018.
4. The Interboro Team for Rebuild by Design. 2014. Living with the Bay: A Comprehensive Regional Resiliency Plan for Nassau County’s South Shore. Retrieved from https://www.hud.gov/sites/documents/INTERBORO_IP_BRIEFING_BOOK.PDF.
5. Climate Central. 2013. Sewage Overflow from Hurricane Sandy. Retrieved from https://www.climatecentral.org/pdfs/Sewage.pdf.
6. New York State Climate Smart Communities. 2019. Certification Actions. Retrieved from https://climatesmart.ny.gov/actions-certification/actions/.
7. New York State Governor's Office of Storm Recovery. 2019. Long Island NY Rising Communities. Retrieved from https://stormrecovery.ny.gov/community-regions/long-island.