New York Regulation - Part 490 - Projected Sea-Level Rise

New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) finalized this regulation establishing statewide science-based sea-level rise projections for the three distinct coastal regions of the state: Mid-Hudson, New York City/Lower Hudson, and Long Island. The projections, which were required by the 2014 Community Risk and Resiliency Act (CRRA), will be used and considered by state agencies and applicants in state permitting and other decisionmaking processes, as required by CRRA.

The regulation includes five projections of varying sea-level rise scenarios and across four different time intervals: 2020s, 2050s, 2080s, and 2100. The projections are based on the state's 2014 ClimAID report and are defined in the regulation as follows:

  • Low projection: "the amount of sea-level rise that is consistent with historical rates of sea-level rise and is very likely (the 10th percentile of ClimAID model outputs) to be exceeded by the specified time interval."
  • Low-medium projection: "the amount of sea-level rise athat is likely (the 25th percentile of ClimAID model outputs) to be exceeded by the specified time interval."
  • Medium projection: "the amount of sea-level rise that is about as likely as not (the mean of the 25th and 75th percentiles of ClimAID model outputs) to be exceeded by the specified time interval."
  • High-medium projection: "the amount of sea-level rise that is unlikely (the 75th percentile of ClimAID model outputs) to be exceeded by the specified time interval."
  • High projection: "the amount of sea-level rise that is associated with high rates of melt of land-based ice and is very unlikely (the 90th percentile of ClimAID model outputs) to be exceeded by the specified time interval."

The differences in projections across the three coastal regions are generally within a few inches, with slightly higher projections for the New York City/Lower Hudson and Long Island Regions than for the Mid-Hudson Region. For example, the medium projections by the year 2100 range from 32 inches for the Mid-Hudson Region to 36 inches for the New York City/Lower Hudson Region. The projections indicate sea-level rise relative to a 2000-2004 baseline.

The projections will be codified at a new Part 490 within Title 6 of New York's Compilation of Codes, Rules, and Regulations. Part 490 will apply to "consideration of sea-level rise by the Department [DEC], other State agencies, and applicants for relevant permits, approvals, and funding in the context of programs specified in the Community Risk and Resiliency Act." DEC was also required by CRRA to lead development of implementation guidance on how to integrate the consideration of sea-level rise, enhanced storm surge, and future inland flooding risk into permitting and programming processes that are specified by CRRA. As of February 2017, DEC is in the process of developing a State Flood Risk Management Guidance document, which will inform other state agencies as they develop program-specific guidance for individual agency programs.

The Community Risk and Resiliency Act was signed in September 2014, and required DEC to adopt regulations establishing sea-level rise projections by January 1, 2016. DEC first proposed regulations to establish sea-level rise projections in fall 2015 and accepted public comments. DEC made revisions to Part 490 based on public comments and issued revised proposed regulations in November 2016, which were then finalized in February 2017.

Publication Date: February 2017

Related Organizations:

  • New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)

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  • Regulation

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