Rising Waters: Helping Hudson River Communities Adapt to Climate Change Scenario Planning 2010-2030, Final Report

The Rising Waters project aims to strengthen the preparedness and adaptive capacity of the Hudson River Estuary Watershed to meet the impacts of future climate change. To help local communities of the Hudson Valley to prepare for climate impacts, the Rising Waters project used scenario planning methodologies to educate participants on important aspects of complicated problems and build a shared conceptual framework for dialogue leading to potential solutions. The report overviews the key climate risks for the region, and describes the multi-stakeholder convening process, scenario planning, and resiliency framework development. Important adaptation strategies for protecting the watershed were developed and are outlined along with actionable measures and next-steps. 

Four scenarios for adaptation were developed through this project, each which explore different regional outcomes for preparedness and adaptive capacity from 2010-2030. These potential trajectories include:

  • slow government response to climate change,
  • low to negative economic growth,
  • highly engineered approaches to adaptation, and
  • adaptation which works with natural infrastructure.

The report includes a matrix of how a variety of external factors would affect the region under the four scenarios.

The report examines strategies for adaptation for the region, and evaluates the potential responses on a numerical scale for likelihood of adoption and performance under different scenarios. The criteria for evaluating these options include: likelihood of performing to expectation, barriers to implementation and adoption, durability, environmental effects, equity, transformative potential, direct costs through 2030 (if implemented), and avoided costs through 2030 (if implemented).

Seven primary adaptation strategies were identified for the region. Each is detailed and followed by concrete actions that should be taken to achieve those strategies. The report finds that future capacity to withstand climate change will depend on decisions and actions taken around land-use, land regulation, and building resilient infrastructure.


Rising Waters is spearheaded by The Nature Conservancy and its partners, the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR), the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Hudson River Estuary Program, New York State Water Resources Institute at Cornell University, and Sustainable Hudson Valley.


Publication Date: 2009

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  • Engagement
  • Plans (other)
  • Scenario planning

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