Flooding is one of the most destructive natural hazards worldwide, posing significant risks to human health and safety. It leads to the degradation of adjacent waters and results in more than $40 billion in damages annually.

With the projected increased frequency of extreme precipitation and storm events associated with climate change, these problems will become even more acute.

 To address these issues through dynamic planning and holistic approaches that provide equitable solutions to meet both community and environmental needs, Brooklyn College has teamed up with international architectural, engineering, and consultancy firm Ramboll, headquartered in Denmark.

Jennifer Cherrier

Jennifer Cherrier

Led by Earth and Environmental Sciences Professor Jennifer Cherrier, this cross-sectoral initiative will address urban water and climate change resiliency challenges in New York City, Copenhagen, and beyond. The work will more effectively address and create place-based and nature-based solutions around flooding, water degradation, and other global climate challenges.

Highlights of the partnership include:

  • Green workforce development;
  • Workplace immersion and internships;
  • International experience and knowledge exchange;
  • Collaborative research, communication, and translation of new nature-based design knowledge and innovation into practice for climate adaptation.

“I’m thrilled to see this formalized partnership with Ramboll come to fruition,” Cherrier said. “I believe the partnership will create opportunities and sustained pathways for all involved, particularly our students, to really push the needle for getting innovative nature-based solutions into the hands of practitioners to effectively meet resiliency challenges around climate adaptation and, at the same time, enhance urban liveability for all.”

Brett F. Branco

Brett Branco

Katherine G. Fry

Katherine Fry

Joining Cherrier from Brooklyn College is Environmental Earth and Sciences Associate Professor Brett Branco, also the director of the Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay (SRI@JB). The SRI@JB is a partnership among the National Park Service, the City of New York, and the City University of New York (CUNY), and coordinates with other institutions and organizations, including New York Sea Grant.

Professor Katherine Fry, who is working as an SRI@JB Faculty Fellow, will lead the communications efforts.

This partnership will build on Brooklyn College and the SRI@JB’s commitment to these issues, while preparing its diverse students to become leaders and change agents through course work and practical hands-on experience.

Cherrier, who is also SRI@JB’s associate director for integrated water research, has more than 25 years of research expertise in aquatic carbon and nitrogen biogeochemistry, with a more recent focus on the use of nature-based approaches for mitigating urban flooding and offsetting pollutant loading to aquatic systems. In addition to her research, Cherrier works with various cities developing cross-sectoral partnerships to enhance sister-city knowledge exchanges centered on addressing urban water and climate adaptation challenges.

Branco is an expert on the science of coastal environments and the integration of science into public policy and resource management. He is also one of the developers of FloodNet, New York City’s first flood-monitoring network that provides user-friendly, free data via an interactive map to alert users to rising waters in flood-prone areas.

Fry, a professor of media studies in the Department of Television, Radio & Emerging Media, is also a media ecologist and media literacy educator who brings years of interdisciplinary communications and media research and outreach into the classroom and the community. In addition to her teaching and scholarship, she co-founded the former New York City–based nonprofit media literacy organization The LAMP and created all of its programming, which served numerous communities in four of the five boroughs.