As SCA’s 2016 Hudson Valley AmeriCorps program reaches its conclusion, we salute member Sarah Lipuma whose Hudson River Sustainable Shorelines Project proposal recently earned the Judges’ Choice Award at MIT’s Climate CoLab.
This initiative, which advocates a number of nature-based remedies to reduce the damaging effects of climate change to waterfronts and enhance climate resiliency along this major corridor, was selected from nearly 500 submissions nationwide.
Sarah, an estuary stewardship educator with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, accepted the award at the CoLab’s fourth annual conference in Cambridge, MA. She also participated in a panel presentation entitled “Local Designs for the Future.”
“It was amazing!” Sarah says. “Everyone was so energizing and full of impactful ideas to solve different issues within the climate change realm.”
The Sustainable Shorelines Project, which is led by the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve, demonstrates how “soft” vegetated slopes are more effective than concrete and other hard waterfront bulkheads in protecting against tides, ice, storms and other impacts.
“Water has so much energy,” Sarah notes, that a 90-degree wall is often no match for raging waves. Natural grades dotted with plantings perform better and are also more aesthetically pleasing.
Although her Corps has come to an end, Sarah isn’t going anywhere. She’s been hired on by the Hudson River Foundation, from where she plans to keep an eye on the Sustainable Shorelines project.
“I truly do feel like I’ve put all my effort into promoting the importance of this project and its goals, and that’s because it matters,” Sarah states.
The Climate CoLab is an online community of over 75,000 people working together to develop proposals for addressing climate change.