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New Specialists Support New York Sea Grant’s Climate Resiliency and Coastal Literacy Efforts

Li sound nysg

Five new extension specialists have joined New York Sea Grant (NYSG) in its mission of “Bringing Science to the Shore” as part of a collaborative program between Cornell University and the State University of New York. Two of the specialists are based at Stony Brook University.

A team of new professionals dedicated to protecting the communities, economy and environment of Long Island Sound are expanding the reach of a 30-year plus Sea Grant-Long Island Sound Study (LISS) partnership.

Li sound nysg
Long Island Sound embayment. Credit: Judy Benson / Connecticut Sea Grant

Lilli Genovesi, the new LISS outreach coordinator for New York City and Westchester County, is based in the New York City Department of Environmental Protection office in Queens and works alongside Outreach Coordinator Jimena Perez-Viscasillas, who is based at Stony Brook University, to engage communities in LISS programs, activities and resources. 

Three extension professionals are working to strengthen the network of sustainable and resilient communities along the Long Island Sound in three counties. Elizabeth Hornstein is based at Stony Brook for Suffolk County, with Sara Powell in Westchester and Sarah Schaefer-Brown in Nassau. They are working with their respective coastal communities with the goal of building a coordinated regional response to current and future climate-change impacts, empowering better trained and informed community decision makers, and increasing implementation of resilience projects. 

Gwen Gallagher, a new coastal climate extension specialist based at Stony Brook, is focused on offshore energy efforts as well as extending cutting-edge research related to climate-change mitigation, which ultimately will help with local resilience and ocean literacy. This new position is being established even as New York State is already feeling the effects of climate-change impacts, from sea level rise and nuisance coastal flooding, more frequent rainfall, scouring of roads and bridges from heavy runoff, and severe coastal storms such as Hurricane Ida in late Summer 2021.

“Addressing climate-change impacts as well as water-quality and habitat challenges while ensuring that all people, especially communities suffering disproportionately from environmental threats, are engaged in the solutions requires professionals in the field, building relationships and working through partnerships,” said NYSG’s Associate Director Kathy Bunting-Howarth.

NYSG specialists work with faculty and researchers at Cornell, SUNY colleges and universities, and other academic institutes and agency partners in New York State to develop and provide integrated research, science, education, and extension services that address timely and high-priority challenges and opportunities related to New York’s freshwater and marine environments, economies, and communities.

The NYSG extension team also includes specialists focused on seafood safety; Great Lakes and marine fisheries and aquaculture; Great Lakes, marine, and Hudson River Estuary coastal processes and hazards; coastal community development; coastal recreation and tourism; and coastal and Great Lakes education and literacy.

Since 1971, New York Sea Grant, a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York, has been one of 34 university-based programs under NOAA’s National Sea Grant College Program. The extension portion of NYSG’s programming is administered through Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Read more about the Long Island Sound specialists and the climate specialist on the New York Sea Grant website.

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