News from the LHCCD
Spring 2013
News from the
Lower Hudson Coalition of Conservation Districts

Albany  ž  Columbia  ž  Dutchess  ž  Greene  ž  NYC  ž  Orange 
Putnam  ž  Rensselaer  ž  Rockland  ž  Ulster  ž  Westchester

From Raindrop to River

Greetings from your County Soil & Water Conservation District and the Lower Hudson Coalition of Conservation Districts -- a group of 11 SWCDs stretching from Albany to New York City.  As a regional organization focused on water quality in our streams and rivers, we have been working to provide you, our partners, with information and tools you can use to better manage stormwater.  Your efforts to reduce pollution really do add up to big benefits in water quality. 

In addition to conferences, tours and a newly expanded website, we are now coming straight to you through this e-newsletter.  We welcome your questions about the Coalition or our programs:

(Photo:  Muncipal officials on a green infrastructure tour in Orange County learn about a rain garden in Newburgh)
Getting Green Infrastructure on the Ground

Green infrastructure is the latest approach to stormwater management, using soils and plants to absorb rainwater where it falls.  Soaking up stormwater recharges groundwater supplies and keeps our streams healthy. The ultimate multi-tasker, green infrastructure techniques (rain gardens, street trees, etc.) also provide other benefits like shade, wildlife habitat and natural beauty, and can increase economic vitality.

SWCDs in our region have taken the lead in designing and installing green infrastructure projects. Here are some examples:

Rain Garden
Albany County SWCD created this rain garden at the Shaker Heritage Site to capture runoff from the nearby pavement.

Rain Barrel
Rockland County SWCD's rain barrel program installed barrels to capture roof runoff at public buildings throughout the county, like this one at the Ramapo DPW.

Porous Asphalt
Greene County SWCD designed a porous asphalt parking lot for the new public library in Tannersville.

Stormwater Planter
The NYC SWCD constructed an above-ground stormwater planter behind an apartment building in the Bronx to capture water that would overload the sewer system.

Reinforced Turf
Columbia County SWCD used reinforced turf paving for the District office parking lot.


Take a Virtual Tour of Local Green Practices

There are hundreds of green infrastructure practices already installed and working right here in the Lower Hudson region, and seeing them is believing in them. Recently the Lower Hudson Coalition made it easier for you to take a tour from the comfort of your own computer screen by producing a series of green infrastructure videos. These videos showcase a rain garden, bioretention area, stormwater planter, rain barrel, porous asphalt, porous concrete and streambank restoration. Sites are both public and private and range from Albany County to New York City. Interviews with designers and users explain why the practices were chosen and how they're working.

Visit our website at to view all the videos. The site also includes fact sheets and links to more information on using green infrastructure. You can also contact your County Soil & Water Conservation District to borrow a DVD of "Green Infrastructure in the Lower Hudson Region: A Tour of Working Practices," which includes all seven video segments.

(Permeable pavement demonstration at the NYS Parks Office in Staatsburg, Dutchess County)

To view working practices in person, visit the Hudson River Estuary Program's directory of green infrastructure practices to find sites near you.


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Upcoming Event

On May 8, our partners at the Hudson Valley Regional Council will be hosting a conference on the role of green infrastructure in revitalizing cities:

Location: SUNY Orange, Newburgh

The LHCCD is planning educational events for later this year.  To join our mailing list, please contact Coalition Coordinator Emily Svenson at

Each City and Town Plays a Part

Municipalities can lead the way in green infrastructure adoption. Here are a few ideas:

1. Lead by example. Examine how you can incorporate green infrastructure techniques into municipal facilities. Consider retrofitting government buildings with green infrastructure practices. Grants may be available from NYS Environmental Facilities Corp., Community Development Block Grants or the Hudson River Estuary Program. Also, look for ways to utilize green infrastructure in road drainage practices. (See
tips from Cornell)

2. For new construction, let the site guide the project. New York's 2010 stormwater regulation updates changed the game for new construction. Stormwater needs to be considered from the beginning of site planning, not as an afterthought. Planning boards have enhanced responsibility to make sure natural features are preserved and impervious surfaces are minimized. (Review Chapter 3 of the
NYS Stormwater Management Design Manual)

3. Review town codes to remove obstacles to green design. Does your code require wide streets with curbs? How many parking spaces are required and what size are the spaces? Are flat roofs prohibited, preventing green roof designs? Make sure your code isn't tripping up green site design. (This
Code & Ordinance Worksheet may help)

4. Preserve natural green infrastructure. What green infrastructure is proven to work, free to install and requires no maintenance? Natural water features -- like stream corridors, floodplains and wetlands. Municipalities have the power to protect these natural systems, preserving their water filtration and flood control functions.


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