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LI meetings to focus on sea-level rise projections

The state Department of Environmental Conservation is holding four public meetings next week, including two on Long Island, to seek input on its plans to draft and eventually adopt a regulation that establishes official state projections for sea-level rise.

The meeting initiative is an outgrowth of the state's Community Risk and Resiliency Act, signed into law last September, which calls on the DEC to develop official sea-level rise projections into regulation by Jan. 1, 2016.

Those projections would be used by state decision-makers and would be available to the public.

At the meetings the DEC will also share background and scientific data.

Reflecting public input, a draft rule is expected to be announced later in the year for further public comment, the DEC said.

With rising seas and an expectation for "more frequent severe storms," flooding is the biggest risk for coastal areas, the DEC said on its site. "By 2100 scientists project that sea levels along New York's coastlines and estuaries will likely be 18 to 50 inches higher, though they could be as much as 75 inches higher," the DEC said.

Meeting dates and locations are:

-- June 23, at 1 p.m. at Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, 340 Smith Rd., Shirley.

-- June 23, at 7 p.m. at Operation Splash, 202 Woodcleft Ave., Freeport.

-- June 24, at 10 a.m. at Hunter College, West Building, Room 511, 67th St. and Lexington Ave. in Manhattan.

-- June 25, at 2:30 p.m. at DEC headquarters, Room 129, 625 Broadway, Albany. For this meeting, attendees must preregister by emailing or calling 518-402-8448. The session will also be accessible by webinar.

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