Long-Term Flood Resiliency Workshop for Communities: A Watershed Management Approach

Long-Term Flood Resiliency Workshop for Communities: A Watershed Management Approach | The Space @ GreenStar, Ithaca, NY | April 16, 2015 | 8:30am-1pm

Cost: FREE

Hosted in partnership with the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County

The regional trend toward frequent, intense rain events in a short period of time is likely to continue. The results are recurring flooding and erosion issues for communities, which increases financial burden on the municipal budget.

Who Should Attend: This program for municipal officials, highway personnel, planners and engaged community members will explore watershed resiliency strategies to minimize future flooding impacts and inhibit the expense of such events.

You Will Learn: Participants will learn about planning tools for identifying risks to their community, funding sources and what other communities have done to prioritize risks, take preventive measures, and recover from extreme events.

Contact: Brad DeFrees, badefree@syr.edu

Agenda at a glance:


  • Watersheds – The Funnel, The Sponge, and The Slide
    Kim Sherwood, Watershed Consultant
  • Managing Stormwater for the Improved Resiliency of Roadways and Drainage Systems
    Geoffrey Scott, Technical Assistance Engineer, Cornell Local Roads Program

III. A Green Infrastructure Approach to Financing Resilience
Jennifer Cotting, Research Associate, Environmental Finance Center, University of Maryland

  • Funding, Case Studies, and Additional Benefits of Watershed Management
    Khris Dodson, Associate Director, Syracuse University Environmental Finance Center
  • Drawing on Local Knowledge –Challenges, Opportunities and Strategies
    Round Table Discussion


Session and Speaker Descriptions:

Watersheds – The Funnel, The Sponge, and The Slide – Kim Sherwood

Everyone knows water moves downhill, but relatively few have thought about how it gathers volume and energy from both natural and human-caused factors. The historic philosophy was to ‘get the water off’ as quickly as possible. This presentation explains how that well-intended concept over time has contributed to expensive problems for landowners and municipalities. With a better understanding of watershed dynamics, communities may be able to reduce flooding, erosion and associated costs.

Kim Sherwood is a hydrologist, originally from the Finger Lakes area. For many years, he worked in the Pacific Northwest as a hydrologic technician and hydrologist for both public and private land management entities. He moved to Western NY in 2003. There, he has worked under contract with various natural resource organizations to provide technical assistance about water resources to landowners and municipalities. For several years, he led a volunteer organization called Watershed Education for Municipal Officials (WEMO), whose objective was to provide municipal officials with resources and tools to assist them in making more sustainable land use decisions.

Managing Stormwater for the Improved Resiliency of Roadways and Drainage Systems – Geoffrey Scott

In a time when changing weather patterns are leaving us with short intense rainfall events with rates far exceeding the natural and manmade designs of our watershed plumbing, we look to find solutions that can maintain and protect our roadway and drainage infrastructure. Although there is no one practice-fits-all solution in addressing the problems that are occurring there are several measures that can be considered to minimize the damage. In this session we will look at some of the issues contributing to the damage caused by the intense rainfall rates and some solutions and practices that can help make these structures more resilient and self-sustaining.

Geoffrey R. Scott, PE is the Technical Assistance Engineer for the Cornell Local Roads Program. Mr. Scott has more than 15 years of experience working as a consultant to Villages and Towns in New York and Connecticut; developing and maintaining Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans for municipal facilities and construction projects, and has prepared designs and specifications for multiple projects for the improvement and replacement of roadways, surface projects, and stormwater drainage systems. Mr. Scott also developed and instructs the Cornell Local Roads Program’s Stormwater Management workshop. Mr. Scott is a graduate of Union College in Schenectady, NY, and a licensed Professional Engineer in New York and Connecticut.

A Green Infrastructure Approach to Financing Resilience – Jen Cotting

In this session we will discuss the elements of effective financing strategies and how a green infrastructure approach can provide a framework for efficient, sustainably supported resiliency efforts. Case stories will illustrate how this approach is being implemented in a number of communities.

Jennifer Cotting joined the University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center in 2004 and is currently a Research Associate for Green Infrastructure. In this role, Jennifer manages EFC’s green infrastructure programming spanning large landscape conservation and habitat management to urban land use and stormwater management applications of green infrastructure. Jennifer serves as a guest lecturer for a number of green infrastructure academic and NGO-based programs in the region. Prior to becoming a Research Associate, Jennifer served as the Center’s Assistant Director for three years and spent five years as a Program Manager. She received her M.S. in Sustainable Development and Conservation Biology from the University of Maryland and her B.A. in Communications from Marymount University.

Funding, Case Studies, and Additional Benefits of Watershed Management – Khris Dodson

This session will highlight the various state and federal funding opportunities available to aid flooding resiliency efforts and will detail tips and strategies for obtaining and leverage these funds. Case studies will also be presented on rural communities in New York State that formed task forces, created funding plans, or took action towards flood resiliency.

Khris Dodson provides technical assistance to local government leaders on topics related to asset management, smart growth, land use and comprehensive planning, stormwater management, and other topics related to local infrastructure, leadership, management and finance. He has additional expertise regarding water and land-use BMPs, Great Lakes science and policy, and collaborative governance. He works closely with city, county, and state government agencies, is a board member at Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency, and serves on the New York Water Environmental Association’s public education committee and green infrastructure task force. Mr. Dodson has a Masters Degree from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and a Master of Arts from Syracuse University.