New York State Sea Level Rise Task Force Report to the Legislature

At the direction of the New York State legislature, the New York State Sea Level Rise Task Force evaluated approaches to protect New York’s remaining coastal ecosystems and natural habitats, and to increase coastal community resilience in the face of sea level rise.

A steering committee coordinated the efforts of five work groups: Community Resilience, Ecosystems and Natural Resources, Infrastructure, Legal and Public Outreach. Each work group included representatives from academia, businesses, NGOs, environmental justice and community groups, and federal, state and local agencies. 

The report includes 9 findings and 14 strategic recommendations for action, such as developing maps and other tools to assist local decision makers, and requiring state agencies to incorporate the consideration of current and projected impacts of sea level rise into decision making.

A unique feature of this report is the examination of each of the 14 strategic recommendations. A key recommendation is to "Amend NYS laws, and change and adopt regulations and agency guidance documents to address sea level rise and prevent further loss of natural systems that reduce risk of coastal flooding in the coastal risk management zone." State acts and laws are listed and examined, with proposed regulatory or statutory changes or changes to guidance outlined for each to support the recommendation. Example Acts considered include: Tidal Wetlands Act, Coastal Erosion Hazard Areas Act, and the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA).

The New York State Sea Level Rise Task Force was created by an act of the New York State Legislature (Chapter 613 of the Laws of New York) in August 2007. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation leads the Task Force. Sea level rise projections were provided by the Columbia University Center for Climate Systems Research, based on work undertaken for the New York City Panel on Climate Change. The report indicates that an analysis of the costs and benefits associated with sea level rise and potential adaptation strategies was beyond the scope of the effort.


Publication Date: December 31, 2010

Related Organizations:

  • New York State Sea Level Rise Task Force
  • New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)
  • Columbia University


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Assessment
  • Policy analysis/recommendations

States Affected:


Go To Resource