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Rising sea level to be topic of DEC meetings this week on LI, in NYC, Albany

The state Department of Environmental Conservation is holding a series of meetings this week to talk about sea-level-rise projections that the agency plans to adopt by January.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed the Community Risk and Resiliency Act in September 2014, ordering the DEC to come up with predictions about how high sea levels could be in the 2020s, 2050s, 2080s and 2100.

The projections do not impose regulations but will be used as state agencies are tasked with changing some regulatory and funding programs, also required by the Community Risk and Resiliency Act.

Those changes are to come in 2017 and will affect major projects or permits for a variety of actions, such as mine land reclamation and coastal erosion hazard payments, said Mark Lowery, the state's climate policy analyst.

"The act requires applicants to consider sea-level rise, storm surge and flooding," Lowery said.

The intent of the act is to be inclusive of weather risks when considering major projects.

"For most of the programs, maybe even all, flooding is already considered," Lowery said. "What is different is consideration of future conditions."

The agency is relying heavily on two documents to develop the projections: One is known as ClimAID by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. It was published in 2011 and updated in 2014. The other document is the Climate Risk Report for Suffolk and Nassau conducted by the Resiliency Institute for Storm and Emergencies at Stony Brook University and published in 2014.

For Montauk Point, the ClimAID report projected sea levels could rise between 2 and 10 inches by the 2020s, and 13 to 58 inches by the 2080s.

Five meetings are planned for DEC staff to provide details on the bill as well as the science being considered when establishing sea-level rise projections. Audience members will be able to comment.

The meetings are scheduled for:

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

- 7 p.m. Tuesday at Operation Splash, 202 Woodcleft Ave. in Freeport.

- 10 a.m. Wednesday in Room 511 in the West Building of Hunter College, 67th St. and Lexington Avenue in Manhattan.

- 4 p.m. Wednesday, at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Broad Channel, Queens.

- 2:30 p.m. Thursday at DEC headquarters in Albany. This meeting will be live-streamed online and available as a telephone conference call. Details on how to join the call are at

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