December 2020
monthly newsletter
Update from the Hudson River Watershed Alliance
2020 Annual Report
Despite the hardships, 2020 has been a year of growth for the Hudson River Watershed Alliance. We have learned so much during this challenging time. We’re not going back to “normal,” but adapting our work moving forward to shape a better future.

We held 34 education programs this year, including our annual conference, lectures, workshops, and roundtables, with 1,592 people participating. We reached 82% more people across the watershed than we did in 2019.

We learned that access to clean water and nature matters, we must be committed to anti-racism, and climate change is happening. The 2020 Annual Report is posted on our website here.

You can support our work to unite and empower communities to protect their local water resources by donating here.
Breakfast Lecture: Water Science for Water Communities
Thursday, December 10, 8:30-9:30 AM

Featured Speaker: M. Elias (Eli) Dueker, Bard College Center for the Study of Land, Air, and Water

What do we need right now to advance water stewardship in the Hudson Valley? More water sampling? More community involvement? More laws? Science can be used as a tool to address many of these important questions, and help to map a way forward in the midst of these complicated times. Building on his recent presentation at the Annual Watershed Conference, Eli Dueker will present a framework on community-centered science, including his experience with the Bard College Center for the Study of Land, Air, and Water and the Saw Kill Watershed Community.

This lecture was originally planned for last month, but due to a scheduling change, Emily Vail from Hudson River Watershed Alliance presented on Assessing Green Infrastructure in Kingston's Uptown Parking Lots. You can view a recording of that presentation here.
Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Visioning Session
The Hudson River Watershed Alliance board and staff held a strategic visioning session for work on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) on November 20. This session was facilitated by Rodney Fuller through The Support Center, and supported by the Hudson River Estuary Program, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, with support from the New York State Environmental Protection Fund, in cooperation with NEIWPCC. After a short training to set context and define terms, we discussed DEI strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for us as an organization. This session created the time and space for everyone to consider how DEI issues arise in our organization and the work that we do. Over the coming months, we'll be using the lessons we learned to identify key short-term actions to take as part of a long-term strategy. We are committed to working towards a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive Hudson River Watershed Alliance.
Work on Watersheds
The Hudson River Watershed Alliance is excited to share the first-of-its-kind Work on Watersheds report! This new report shares stories from 32 watershed groups, highlighting the diverse ways that watershed groups are making a difference. For a PDF copy, click here.

We organized a series of briefings for regional partners and state agency staff to share the WoW report, along with findings from our needs assessment work. Watershed groups achieve a broad range of outcomes, and frequently collaborate with regional partners and state programs to implement shared goals. You can view a recording of the presentation here.
Watershed Highlight
Water Justice Confluence
Water quality sampling with the Water Justice Lab team. (photo: Jamel Mosely)
Water Justice Lab's Youth Scientist Fellows. (photo: Media Sanctuary)
Water quality sampling with the Water Justice Lab team. (photo: Jamel Mosely)
Water Justice Lab's Youth Scientist Fellows at Lock 2. (photo: Media Sanctuary)
In 2020, the Media Sanctuary in Troy partnered with Riverkeeper to launch the Water Justice Lab. This three-year project based in North Troy will establish a water quality sampling lab in the NATURE Lab Environmental Education Center. The project will also train students in laboratory science and media arts skills to focus on environmental justice issues in the Hudson River watershed. The Media Sanctuary uses art and participatory action to promote social and environmental justice and freedom of creative expression.

The first year of the project, three students from Lansingburgh High School worked as Youth Scientist Fellows. Genesis Cooper, Gabby Espada, and Shansanique Pollack each participated in monthly sessions, including water testing, research, and radio production. Youth Scientist Fellows work with co-fellows under the supervision of the Water Justice Lab Scientist Mentor and receive guidance from Media Sanctuary and Riverkeeper staff. 

The Water Justice Lab will educate diverse communities about water justice and how to make a difference, develop the advocacy capacity of the North Troy area, and strengthen a network of environmental justice advocates focused on water issues in the Hudson River watershed.

The first year of the Water Justice Lab culminates with the “Water Justice Confluence” on December 11 and 12. These two virtual gatherings will support dialogue and engagement around water justice with upcoming generations of youth, people of color, and Indigenous people. The goal of the Water Justice Confluence is to build alliances for water justice, environmental justice, and youth justice along the Hudson River and beyond, as well as to inspire future actions. 

Day One of the Confluence is Friday, December 11 from 7-9 PM. The event features a screening of the water justice documentary “Echoes from Lock One,” a participatory youth production. The film will be followed by an open facilitated dialogue What is Water and Environmental Justice? led by environmental justice mentor Sachem HawkStorm with participating youth groups that include Water Justice Lab (Troy, NY), Kingston YMCA Farm Project (Kingston, NY) and Groundwork Hudson Valley (Yonkers, NY). More information is here.

Day Two of the Confluence is Saturday, December 12 from 1-3 PM. Focused on Youth Future, participants will meet Water Justice Lab’s environmental mentor Sachem HawkStorm, hereditary sachem (chief) of the Schaghticoke People and learn about youth water justice actions along the Hudson with Water Justice Lab (Troy, NY), Kingston YMCA Farm Project (Kingston, NY), and Groundwork Hudson Valley (Yonkers, NY). This session will include break-out groups and a facilitated open dialogue with youth advocates to inspire future actions. More information on this session is here.

Register for either or both days here. For more information, contact Amanda Cabanillas, Water Justice Confluence Coordinator.

Lifeboats HV: Local Champions grant to support Climate Smart Communities due December 14

The Local Champions pilot will bring together a cohort of six individuals who are leading their municipality’s work on NY State’s Climate Smart Communities program (CSC). We provide funding ($8,000 grant), programming and peer-to-peer learning to people designated by their local government to serve as CSC Task Force Coordinators. The Local Champions pilot will select six CSC Task Force Coordinators, enabling them to organize their municipality’s filing for bronze certification. Cities, towns and villages within Greene, Ulster, Columbia and Dutchess counties are eligible. This is a pilot program provided by Lifeboats HV, an initiative of The New World Foundation.

Arbor Day Foundation: TD Green Space Grants due December 18

TD Green Space Grants support green infrastructure development, tree planting, forestry stewardship, and community green space expansion as a way to advance environmental and economic benefits toward a low-carbon economy. Through the program, municipalities in the United States and Canada are eligible to receive $20,000 grants in support of local forestry projects in areas of great need within a community. The 2021 theme for the program is, “Building Resilience: Green infrastructure solutions for communities disproportionally impacted by Covid-19.

National League of Cities: 2021 Leadership in Community Resilience grants due December 23

The Leadership in Community Resilience grant program supports and enhances local capacity among elected leaders and staff, communities, and community-based organizations as they pursue coordinated climate resilience efforts. Each city selected for the 2021 cohort will receive $10,000 in financial support, and customized support from both NLC and the Resilient Cities Network.

NEIWPCC: NY-NJ Harbor Estuary Economic Analysis Request For Proposals due January 6, 2021

NEIWPCC, in cooperation with the New York – New Jersey Harbor Estuary Program (HEP), the states of New York and New Jersey, EPA, and their partners, is inviting proposals for a study to estimate the economic value of clean water and health of the associated ecosystem in the New York – New Jersey Harbor Estuary. The purpose of this project is to communicate the economic value of clean water in the NY–NJ Harbor Estuary to policymakers, decision makers, residents, and other stakeholders. This results of this project will provide a credible economic analysis and public facing report. This economic study will be the first of its kind in the region, and may also serve as a stepping stone for further work by governmental, non-governmental, and academic researchers.

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF): Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Grants due January 28, 2021

The Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration grant program seeks to develop community capacity to sustain local natural resources for future generations by providing modest financial assistance to diverse local partnerships focused on improving water quality, watersheds and the species and habitats they support. Projects include a variety of ecological improvements along with targeted community outreach, education and stewardship. Ecological improvements may include one or more of the following: wetland, riparian, forest and coastal habitat restoration; wildlife conservation, community tree canopy enhancement, water quality monitoring and green infrastructure best management practices for managing run-off. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC), in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), USDA Forest Service (USFS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), FedEx, Southern Company and BNSF Railway will award approximately $1.5 million in grants nationwide. 
The Hudson River Watershed Alliance unites and empowers communities to protect their local water resources