Governor Hochul Announces Nearly $300 Million Investment in Climate Resiliency During Major Address at The Vatican

Government and Politics

May 16, 2024

From: New York Governor Kathy Hochul

Governor Hochul, Chair of the U.S. Climate Alliance, Delivers Remarks on New York's Bold Climate Resiliency Plans During Vatican Climate Summit

Significant Funding for Climate Adaption and Mitigation, Waterfront Revitalization Projects and To Protect Clean Water

Governor Kathy Hochul on May 16th, announced nearly $300 million in climate resiliency funding during Pope Francis's three-day summit, 'From Climate Crisis to Climate Resilience.' This funding supports new grant opportunities made available this week to build upon New York’s sustained investments to protect communities from the devastating impacts of climate change, particularly those communities most vulnerable to pollution, flooding, extreme heat and other effects of a warming climate.

“Climate change is a global crisis that demands a response from all fronts, and New York continues to lead through our climate initiatives,” Governor Hochul said. “I’m grateful to His Holiness Pope Francis for bringing together faith, policy, and scientific leaders to address this emergency as New York State continues to make bold commitments to build healthy and safe communities and protect our planet for future generations.”

The Governor is in Italy and the Vatican to participate in the Pontifical Academy of Science and the Pontifical Academy of Social Science’s three-day joint summit, From Climate Crisis to Climate Resilience. The Governor delivered an address on “Climate Leadership in the Empire State: Building Resiliency for All.” Last week, Governor Hochul was appointed as a Chair of the U.S. Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of 24 U.S. governors advocating for bold climate action.



Following an onslaught of drenching rain, furious storms, sweltering heat, and bitter cold, New York State continues to advance resiliency initiatives and investments that are helping to protect communities. Governor Hochul’s comprehensive resiliency plan, includes $5.5 billion in water quality infrastructure funding since 2017, the $4.2 billion Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act of 2022, and another year of record funding of $400 million for the State’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) are just a few of the many actions underway to provide municipalities with resources needed to adapt to and mitigate climate change’s impacts.

On May 16th, the Governor announced nearly $300 million in available funding through several New York State programs that support local resilience projects and help build upon the progress underway to protect the health and safety of communities.

Water Quality Improvement Project Program – at least $215 million; Applications due July 31, 2024

The Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) program is a competitive, statewide reimbursement grant program that supports implementation projects that directly improve water quality or habitat, promote flood risk reduction, restoration, and enhanced flood and climate resiliency, or protect a drinking water source. This round of available funding includes a total of at least $215 million thorough the State EPF, Clean Water Infrastructure Act (CWIA), and the Environmental Bond Act combined. Earlier this year, $166 million in announced WQIP grants is helping support municipal wastewater treatment upgrades, polluted runoff abatement and control, land acquisition projects for drinking water protection, salt storage construction, aquatic connectivity restoration, and marine habitat restoration.

Climate Smart Communities – $22.5 million; Applications due July 31, 2024

DEC’s Climate Smart Communities Grant Program is making $22.5 million available to help municipalities take action to address climate change. Funding for this program is supported by the State's EPF and the Environmental Bond Act. Eligible projects can include reducing flood risk and emissions from food waste, relocating or retrofitting critical infrastructure, and climate change planning and assessment as part of the Climate Smart Communities Certification Program. Since the program's inception, DEC awarded more than $60 million to municipalities in support of local climate mitigation and adaptation projects.

If awarded a grant, municipalities must provide at least 50 percent of the total costs for most projects. However, this year’s FY 2025 Enacted Budget provides new municipal assistance to promote equity by authorizing DEC to provide up to 80 percent of the cost of municipal projects that meet the criteria for financial hardship and for projects located in disadvantaged communities. More information about the grant program and the 2024 Request for Applications are available on the DEC website.

A total of $21.5 million is available for grants of between $50,000 and $2 million for these and other types of implementation projects:

  • Reducing vehicle miles traveled;
  • Reducing food waste;
  • Reducing hydrofluorocarbon emissions from refrigeration and cooling equipment;
  • Increasing natural resilience through restoration or preservation of natural features;
  • Reducing future flood-risk, including by relocating or retrofitting critical infrastructure; and
  • Preparing for extreme weather events.

In addition, up to $1 million is available for grants between $10,000 and $200,000 for planning, inventory, and assessment projects that are aligned with certain Climate Smart Communities certification actions in the areas of greenhouse gas mitigation, transportation, climate adaptation and land use.

Visit DEC’s website to view the complete Request for Applications (RFA) for the Climate Smart Communities Grant Program. Potential applicants must read the entire RFA for complete details on the program. To apply for this latest round of grants, visit the New York State Consolidated Funding Application here.

Climate change is a global crisis that demands a response from all fronts, and New York continues to lead through our climate initiatives."

Governor Hochul

Non-Agricultural Nonpoint Source Planning and Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System Mapping – up to $3 million; Applications due July 31, 2024

DEC’s Non-Agricultural Nonpoint Source Planning and Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Mapping Grant (NPG) funds projects that help pay for the initial planning of non-agricultural nonpoint source water quality improvement projects, such as undersized culvert replacements and green infrastructure technologies, and State permit-required stormwater system mapping in urban areas. These projects will reduce the amount of polluted stormwater and runoff entering lakes, rivers and streams, and improve resiliency against the impacts of climate change.

Maximum grant awards range from $50,000 to $75,000 for the Nonpoint Source Planning category depending on the report type and from $75,000 to $400,000 for the MS4 Mapping category depending on whether the application is on behalf of a collaborative, as identified in the program overview. There is no minimum award amount. NPG funds the completion of planning reports that may support subsequent applications for implementation funding for nonpoint source water quality improvement projects. Mapping MS4s may also be funded by NPG. Municipalities, including Indian Nations, and Soil and Water Conservation Districts are eligible to apply for this opportunity. Funding for this program is supported by the State's EPF.

To apply for this latest round of grants, visit the New York State Consolidated Funding Application.

Commercial and Industrial Carbon Challenge – up to $10 million; Applications due July 31, 2024

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is making $10 million available with the sixth round of the Commercial and Industrial (C&I) Carbon Challenge. The C&I Carbon Challenge will accelerate decarbonization by reducing carbon emissions at commercial and industrial businesses and institutions, helping to combat climate change, and drive economic growth across the state. While award funds may be used for any energy or industrial-process related projects that can reduce carbon emissions, awardees are required to pursue at least one of the following project types:

  • Beneficial Electrification;
  • Carbon Capture, Utilization, and/or Storage;
  • Low-Carbon Fuel Use; and
  • Manufacturing Process Emission Reduction.

In addition to the above required projects, other eligible projects include, but are not limited to:

  • Energy Efficiency Improvements;
  • On-site Renewable Energy Systems (photovoltaics, wind, or solar thermal);
  • Ground-Source or Air-Source Heat Pumps;
  • Battery Storage; and
  • Other efficiency or renewable energy technologies.

Funding for this program is supported by the state's 10-year, $6 billion Clean Energy Fund. To apply for this latest round of grants, visit the New York State Consolidated Funding Application.

Building Cleaner Communities Competition – up to $10 million; Applications due July 31, 2024

NYSERDA is administering $10 million for carbon-neutral economic development projects through the Building Cleaner Communities Competition. The competition will support projects that accelerate decarbonization and economic development across New York State by supporting projects in two categories:

  • Category A: Carbon Neutral Facilities
    This category supports the design and construction of carbon neutral or net zero energy performance at the facility level, supporting building-specific measures for efficiency, renewable energy, storage and electric vehicle charging infrastructure. The program is open to existing and new construction buildings to achieve carbon neutral or net zero energy performance.
  • Category B: Carbon Neutral Communities
    Projects in this category supports carbon neutral or net zero performance at the community level, including community-scale development, campuses, or large real estate portfolio development projects. The program is geared to expand community and portfolio-based planning services; and spur large-scale projects to achieve carbon neutral or net zero energy performance.

Funding for this program is available through the state's 10-year, $6 billion Clean Energy Fund and through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). To apply for this latest round of grants, visit the New York State Consolidated Funding Application.

Hudson River Estuary Resiliency funding – up to $1 million; Applications due July 17, 2024

DEC’s Hudson River Estuary Program is administering an additional $1 million in competitive grant funding for projects to help communities along the Hudson River Estuary improve water quality, advance stewardship of habitat and natural resources, and enhance river education. The grants are funded by the State's EPF and two Requests for Applications (RFAs) are available.

Approximately $750,000 in funding is available for three categories of local projects. The minimum grant award is $10,500 and the maximum is $75,000, supporting programs to plan for:

  • Creating climate vulnerability assessments, adaptation plans, and strategies for waterfront communities in the Hudson River estuary watershed to adapt to climate risks like flooding, sea level rise, heat, and drought, including use of natural and nature-based solutions while considering social equity;
  • Planning for conservation of natural resources by creating a natural resources inventory, open space inventory/index, open space plan, conservation overlay zone, open space funding feasibility study, or connectivity plan; and
  • Watershed-based stewardship, planning, and capacity building; water quality monitoring; watershed characterization; road stream crossing inventory and planning; and source water protection.

Approximately $250,000 is available to support projects to enhance education about the estuary along the tidal waters of the Hudson and to make opportunities to learn about the Hudson River Estuary more accessible for a wide range of New Yorkers, especially residents and communities traditionally underrepresented in science careers. The minimum grant award is $20,000; the maximum grant amount is $100,000. Funding may be used for:

  • Locally based facilities for learning about the Hudson River Estuary including New York Harbor (planning, programming, interpretation, and/or construction);
  • Hudson River Resources and Education Programs about the Hudson River Estuary;
  • Educator professional development or curriculum development directly linked to the Hudson River Estuary Action Agenda; and
  • Intensive environmental science research programs for young adults.

Completed grant applications must be submitted online through the Statewide Financial System. General information about these grants and two webinars on May 29, 2024, about project eligibility and the application process is available on DEC's website.

Local Government Grants Targeting Engineering and Design Funds to Accelerate Construction of Climate Resilient Projects - $14 million

Through DOS’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program, approximately $14 million in local government grants will be invested in communities to develop and implement Local Waterfront Programs and Watershed Management Plans that promote smart, sustainable, and resilient community-driven planning and project development. Projects that preserve, restore or enhance the natural environment, catalyze the revitalization of waterfronts, and ultimately make communities more resilient to severe weather events will be prioritized to accelerate utilization of funding from the Environmental Bond Act. Through this funding, we will build more resilient waterfront communities throughout New York State.

To apply for this grant visit DOS Funding & Opportunities.

Implementation of the South Shore Estuary Reserve Comprehensive Plan - $2 million

Utilizing $2 million of the State EPF through DOS, the South Shore Estuary Reserve Program has begun strategic implementation of its Comprehensive Management Plan. The program will identify and plan for future project development and provide local communities with support and technical assistance towards habitat restoration and resilience projects. Protection and restoration of key coastal habitats such as saltmarshes, seagrasses, and shellfish reefs are key to improving the long-term health and resilience of the coastal communities that depend on these systems for protection, recreation, and economic prosperity. The Reserve serves to unite multiple jurisdictions across a wide geography facilitating learning and synergizing efforts.

Local Government Grants Targeting Planning and Zoning to Accelerate Smart Growth Land Use for Climate Mitigation - $2 million

Last year, New York DOS Smart Growth Programs invested in five communities to develop countywide resiliency plans that address climate impacts, such as flooding, extreme heat, and drought through the Smart Growth Countywide Resiliency Planning program. Building on this success, this year, the state will invest $2 million in additional communities to develop long-range plans and zoning regulations that will make them more resilient to climate change. With this investment, communities will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change. By institutionalizing climate resiliency into communities’ foundational documents, New York is positioning them to lead the state’s effort to combat climate change.

To apply for this grant visit DOS Funding & Opportunities.

Utilizing Federal Funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act to Help Communities Visualize a Climate-Resilient Future - $1.175 million

Through DOS, New York will be directing nearly one million federally allocated dollars from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act awarded through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to support resiliency projects identified by the Coastal Lakeshore Economy and Resilience (CLEAR) initiative. These funds will be used to analyze and prioritize projects, conduct design and engineering for high impact projects so that they are ready for implementation. Additionally, funding will be used to developing cutting edge virtual reality tools to help communities envision climate resiliency on their shoreline. This will give communities the tools they need to move toward a more a climate-resilient future.

New York State Invests in the Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions through Smart Land Use Actions - $950,000

Through DOS, New York State is investing funding through the EPA’s Climate Pollution Reduction Grant (CPRG) program to develop accessible tools that communities will use to prioritize land use actions that have the most impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. With these tools, New York communities will be able to design and plan their communities in ways that support climate mitigation.

New York “Greens” its Ports for Clean Supply Chain Transportation - $500,000

Through DOS, New York is investing $500,000 to identify areas of opportunity and investment in growing and greening the State’s ports. The maritime and ports sectors are critical components of state, national, and global economies where they facilitate commerce, create good-paying jobs, and promote economic growth. But more can be done to understand and address the impacts that ports have on the communities around them. With a focus on decarbonization and electrification at ports, New York State is ensuring that the maritime and ports sector is at the forefront of climate adaptation, resiliency, and sustainable infrastructure planning.

New York State Invests in Community-led, State-supported Climate Adaptation Planning - $333,500

Through DOS, New York is investing $333,500 to identify opportunities to support communities that are vulnerable to flooding. With this investment, we will outline how state agencies will support these communities as they explore what strategic relocation means for them and create accessible and ready-to-use community-oriented resources. This is the next step in developing a community-led, State-supported climate adaptation planning, capacity-building, and community engagement program.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Interim Commissioner Sean Mahar said, “New Yorkers are united with communities around the world who are experiencing the wide-ranging negative impacts of our changing climate, and we commend Governor Hochul’s sustained focus on taking actions and advancing significant investments to address climate change. New York State’s investments are instrumental in bolstering the resilience of communities across the state, particularly those most vulnerable to its impacts, while New York State continues to call for global climate action.”

NYSERDA President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, “Climate change presents a profound risk to our state’s infrastructure, demanding proactive measures to safeguard a resilient future that will withstand its impacts. This funding demonstrates Governor Hochul's continued commitment to strategically invest in resiliency programs like NYSERDA's Commercial and Industrial Carbon Challenge and the Building Cleaner Communities Competition, which will help more New Yorkers realize the environmental, health, and economic benefits of climate-resistant buildings.”

Acting New York Secretary of State Brendan C. Hughes said, “New York State continues to be a global leader in the fight against climate change, and this record funding will further help communities all across the state improve climate resiliency and environmental protections. The Department of State’s Local Waterfront Revitalization, Brownfield Opportunity Area and Smart Growth programs have seen tremendous success in strengthening waterfronts and redeveloping communities. We are thankful for Governor Hochul’s continued support and investment in these critical programs that are creating a more resilient State.”

About the Consolidated Funding Application

The grants announced on May 16th, are available through the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) process. The CFA was created to streamline and expedite grant applications and marks a fundamental shift in the way state resources are allocated, ensuring less bureaucracy and greater efficiency to fulfill local economic development needs. The CFA serves as the single-entry point for access to economic development funding, ensuring applicants no longer must slowly navigate multiple agencies and sources without any mechanism for coordination. Now, economic development projects use the CFA as a support mechanism to access multiple state funding sources through one application, making the process quicker, easier and more productive. Learn more here.