Advancing Community-Level Resilience in Wayne County, New York: Resources

Photo Credits: Coastal Flooding Survey Project,
Cornell University and New York Sea Grant

After catastrophic flooding events in 2017 and 2019, waterfront property owners and community leaders in Wayne County are restoring damaged property and preparing for future inundation. But, residents and community leaders need decision-support tools to accurately determine the risks future floods pose to property and livelihoods. Initiatives such as New York State’s Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative (REDI) have made major strides in developing projects to sustainably rebuild New York’s Lake Ontario shoreline, including a $325 million-dollar investment in public projects and at-risk infrastructure. Even with these investments, Wayne County communities still need the best available tools to learn about potential flood and financial risks to property owners and communities.

To aid Wayne County, NY in their efforts as they tackle these challenges, the goals of this project are as follows:

– Identify economic vulnerabilities of flooding to: individual community members and businesses, and residential and commercial properties.

– In collaboration with Wayne County communities, develop recommended actions and policies.

– Develop strategies to communicate recommended actions, policies, and tools effectively

Lake Level Scenario Planning Workshop

One component of the project is scenario planning, led by the Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments (GLISA) and New York Sea Grant (NYSG). GLISA’s scenario planning approach brings together practitioners, who need science-based information about the future, and experts, who can translate and communicate available relevant science. The goal of this workshop was to develop scenarios to help plan for a future with lake levels that will likely look different than what has been experienced in the past.

This report summarizes the outcomes of that workshop.

Advancing Community-Level Resilience Workshops

As the second component to this project, the Syracuse University Environmental Finance Center and New York Sea Grant hosted a 3 session workshop at the Genesee-Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council’s biannual Local Government Workshop. In these workshops, attendees were introduced to innovative modeling illustrating waterfront properties at-risk to extreme water levels; were presented with the challenges of at-risk sewer and septic systems and ways to make them more resilient; and learned from experts about policy tools and options to increase one’s community resilience. The tools and links below are resources available for both those who attended and homeowners interested in protecting their property from extreme water levels.

This virtual interactive map has been designed by our project partners at the Syracuse University Maxwell School and Cornell University for homeowners and planners of the Wayne County shoreline to look-up land parcels at unique levels of risk to lake-level flooding.

Browse through this virtual StoryMap to visualize Wayne County coastal & waterfront properties at risk for flooding. This online tool was designed by Syracuse University Maxwell School project partners, informed by flood modeling information from Cornell University.

Coastal Risk Message and Septic Tank Replacement Survey Results

Led by the Syracuse University Maxwell X-Lab, message testing was conducted to understand how specific target audiences understand and assess flood risk and respond to policy solutions, with the goal of creating successful messages for Wayne County community leaders to use in educating the community on solutions. X-Lab conducted message testing from April-June 2022, after participating in public engagement events in 2021.

Homeowner Resources for Onsite Wastewater/Septic Systems

About This Project

This collection of resources is from the Advancing Community-Level Resilience to Lake-Level Flooding in Wayne County, New York project.

Questions? Contact Tess Clark,

Project Partners:

This project is a collaboration of the Syracuse University Environmental Finance Center with New York Sea Grant, Cornell University’s Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering, Genesee-Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council, Syracuse University Maxwell School, Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments (GLISA), and our partners in Wayne County, New York.

Funds for this project are provided through the Climate and Societal Interactions COCA/SARP competition by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Program Office.