Graham Sustainability Institute

Enhancing Coordination on Shoreline Management and Resilience Measures in New York State


Nature-based shoreline stabilization techniques have the potential to maintain and enhance important ecological services, provide greater resilience to physical forces, and be cost-competitive with traditional approaches. Over the past nine years, the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) has engaged in scientific research, implementation, and promotion of sustainable shorelines in the Hudson River Estuary via the Hudson River Sustainable Shorelines Project.

Following the passage of the 2014 New York State Community Risk and Resilience Act, which called for the development of guidance on “the use of resiliency measures that utilize natural resources and natural processes to reduce risk,” the Hudson River NERR assembled an ad-hoc team to collaborate on implementation of sustainable shorelines state-wide. This project coordinated a team of staff members from New York State agencies to draft the required guidance: Using Natural Resilience Measures to Reduce Risk in New York State. The guidance examined the use of resiliency measures that emphasize the implementation of natural resources and natural processes to reduce risk. This project’s collaborative process and products were designed to support New York State agencies, shoreline managers, and other decision makers considering nature-based shoreline approaches and other natural resilience measures.


In addition to the creation of a draft guidance document and a needs assessment of shoreline designers, the project also contributed to:

  • Stronger relationships and greater cohesiveness and alignment among state agencies. This project strengthened interagency collaboration beyond the scope of the project. For example, it led to an effort by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation and the Office of Parks to assess sites in the Great Lakes for natural and nature-based feature demonstration projects.
  • Identification of New York State’s strengths and gaps in information on natural and nature-based features. After identifying knowledge gaps, project members were able to clarify their priorities and build agencies’ support for future partnership projects to further promote the implementation of natural resilience measures.
  • Lessons learned from the challenges of working collaboratively and intensively across many stakeholder groups. The team learned the significance of ensuring that stakeholder engagement occurs at the beginning of the project, that all stakeholders agree on the project focus, and that the project is broken down into discrete, achievable steps so participants see tangible progress and results.


The final guidance report will be completed after public review, and published on the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's website. The project's website contains a variety of other publications and resources, including project reports, fact sheets, and geospatial data and tools.

Project lead and contact

Emilie Hauser, Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve, Email:

To learn more, view the project factsheet (PDF).