Brooklyn College Earth and Environmental Sciences Department faculty Brett Branco—also the executive director for the Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay (SRIJB) —will join New York Sea Grant (NYSG) project administrators (NYSG Associate Director Kathy Bunting-Howarth and NYSG Coastal Resilience Extension Specialist Katie Graziano) on a project receiving two years of funding totaling $150,000. The funding is part of a pool of $8.1 million in national investment funds to strengthen resilient coastal communities by helping to mitigate and find solutions for problem flooding.

Specifically, Branco and the SRIJB will receive support to host and mentor a CUNY graduate student to develop leadership in the field of coastal resilience. SRIJB’s strong network of partners across disciplines and practices will contribute to building a science-based community around nature-based solutions.

“In partnership with NYSG, the SRIJB fills a vital role in New York City both as a hub for user-driven research that informs climate adaptation decisions, and as a convener for knowledge exchange amongst academics, government agencies, and community-based organizations,” said Branco. “We are very excited to engage graduate students in this important work and provide opportunities to learn how to lead the interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary work necessary to reach equitable climate solutions.”

Along with NYSG, the SRIJB will produce forums, workshops, and data visualization and communications products as well as formalize a community of practice to share key findings with local, national, and international audiences. The goal is to connect diverse end-users in New York City and New York State with relevant expertise about natural and nature-based features (NNBF) as multi-beneficial, more resilient alternatives to traditional shoreline armoring.

This work builds upon ideas detailed in a journal article published last year in Ecology and Society on “operationalizing resilience” — how to define resilience in a way so that it can be measured, assessed, and promoted in design and policy. Before the development of the monitoring framework, there was no way to track these benefits.

An additional $125,000 in national support will allow NYSG to create a train-the-trainer program to grow Community Flood Watch in NYC and develop extension and outreach resources for the pilot MyCoast NY program to expand the use of a publicly available, centralized database of crowd-sourced photos of flooding, storm damage, and shoreline change from across the state.

MyCoast NY, a downloadable app and web portal developed by NYSG and the NYS Water Resources Institute, is used to collect and analyze photos of flooding, changing shorelines, and hazardous weather impacts across New York’s various water bodies, building off of the work of the Community Floodwatch Project and expanding it statewide.

The full announcement can be found on the  New York Sea Grant website.