New York State Climate Smart Communities Grant Program

The New York State Climate Smart Communities Grant Program, administered by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, was established in 2016 and provides a matching grant to towns, villages, counties, and boroughs of New York City to implement projects related to climate change adaptation or mitigation or, more specifically, to work towards Climate Smart Communities Certification by undertaking eligible planning actions. Although all municipalities in the state are eligible to apply for these grants, Climate Smart Communities receive extra points in the application process (dependent on their certification level) in order to financially incentivize participation in the program. Over $8 million was available during the 2018 grant cycle for individual awards between $10,000 and $2,000,000.

Climate adaptation initiatives that are eligible for funding include projects that:

  • Increase natural resiliency and decrease vulnerability to future flood risks.  
  • Relocate or retrofit critical infrastructure to reduce future flood risks.  
  • Replace or right-size flow barriers to facilitate emergency response or protect people, infrastructure and natural resources.  
  • Address anticipated future extreme heat conditions.  
  • Improve emergency preparedness and response systems (excluding radio communication systems) for anticipated future extreme climate conditions.

Grants awarded in previous cycles have supported vulnerability assessments for counties, construction of a new firehouse and regional security center, and property restoration to enhance flood protection. Grants have also allowed for the installation of a flood warning system, facilitated the construction of a community warming/cooling/charging center, and supported efforts to improve drainage on roads to facilitate access to emergency services during storms, all contributing to more resilient communities.

In general, applications for design and engineering projects are limited to fifteen percent of the total grant request and nonprofits, while not eligible on their own, can apply as partners with eligible municipalities. A locality is responsible for funding 50 percent of the total project and projects must be completed within five years.

DEC, in partnership with five other state agencies, oversees the Climate Smart Communities Program, a network of communities throughout the state taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase their climate resilience. Specific to adaptation, the program calls for communities to alter the built and natural environment to proactively prepare for or respond to climate change impacts. In addition to offering financial resources, the state also offers technical assistance to support municipalities in their adaptation efforts.


Publication Date: 2018

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