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DEC and New York Sea Grant Announce Great Lakes Basin Small Grants Project Awards

Jan 9, 2024

New York Great Lakes Basin Small Grant funding supported this shoreline stabilization project that installed soil lifts, a nature-based shoreline design, at Sandy Bottom Park in Honeoye.

DEC Funding Supports Eight Projects to Meet the Diverse Needs of Waterfront Communities in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Watershed

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and New York Sea Grant (NYSG) today announced $388,289 in grant awards for eight projects that address the diverse environmental needs of waterfront communities in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River region. Funding for these projects is provided through the New York Great Lakes Basin Small Grants Program.

“New York State is investing in projects to reduce pollution, flooding, and erosion, helping protect drinking water resources across the Great Lakes watershed and bolstering economic development,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “These locally supported smaller-scale projects have a sizeable impact far across the region and DEC looks forward to our continued partnership with New York Sea Grant and today’s awardees to help waterfront communities implement solutions to protect Great Lakes water quality and coastal resiliency.”

"The Great Lakes Basin Small Grants Program empowers shoreline and watershed stakeholders to take an active role in conserving, protecting, and enhancing their unique environmental and ecological resources in keeping with New York's Great Lakes Action Agenda," said New York Sea Grant Associate Director Katherine Bunting-Howarth. “These grants have supported projects ranging from adding ADA-compliant canoe and kayak accessibility and youth environmental education opportunities to restoring fish passageways and creating living shoreline habitat.”

Project award recipients advance the New York Great Lakes Action Agenda’s goals to apply an ecosystem-based approach to enhance community resiliency and environmental integrity, and are identified in locally-supported community plans pertaining to water quality, natural resources, or sustainable land use.

The eight projects selected for funding through the New York Great Lakes Basin Small Grants Program include: 

Finger Lakes Institute at Hobart and William Smith Colleges: $50,000 for the “Odessa Green Infrastructure Initiative: Feasibility Phase” which aims to reduce pollutants and flooding within Catlin Mill Creek, L’Hommedieu Creek, and other downstream waterbodies by implementing green infrastructure in the village of Odessa, aligning with the community’s efforts to improve sustainable economic and social benefits. 

Northern Forest Canoe Trail Inc., (headquartered in Waitsfield, VT): $50,000 for “Enhancing the Digital Presence and Outreach Efficacy of Shoreline Associations in a Headwaters Sub-Watershed of the St. Lawrence Seaway” to enhance the capacity of shoreline associations in New York’s Raquette River headwaters region for the management of Long Lake, Raquette Lake, and Blue Mountain Lake through improved community engagement and strategic planning that benefits local communities and surrounding areas.

Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper: $50,000 for “Ellicott Island Park Living Shoreline Restoration” which will incorporate aquatic habitat structures and native plantings at a shoreline restoration site at Ellicott Island Park to reduce opportunities for invasive species colonization, reduce erosion, improve habitat, and increase resiliency.

Erie County Department of Environment and Planning: $49,982 for the “Lake Erie Watershed Regulation Review” that will provide technical assistance on sustainable land use to municipalities within the Niagara River/Lake Erie watershed by reviewing and recommending improvements to municipal codes, regulations, and plans, as well as developing a checklist tool for municipal boards.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County: $49,807 for the “Protection of Lake Ontario Water Quality through Consumer Education in Jefferson County Waterfront Communities,” with the assistance of its Master Gardeners, to educate and empower waterfront residents to reduce stormwater pollution and erosion along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River through presentations, events, educational materials, and technical assistance tailored specifically to each community. 

Town of Evans Department of Planning and Community Development: $48,000 for “Sediment Transport Modeling at Sturgeon Point Marina” to analyze sediment transport impacts for the proposed revitalization and potential expansion at Sturgeon Point Marina in an effort to reduce annual operational costs, ensure recreational opportunities, improve the economic value and social benefits of the marina, and promote stewardship, coastal resiliency, and sustainability.


City of Ithaca: $45,500 for the “Build-out Analysis Modeling for Scenario Planning” to inform future land use planning within the city of Ithaca’s drinking water source protection area to support the long-term health and sustainability of Six Mile Creek, which serves approximately 30,000 residents, by exploring impacts of various development scenarios and providing community leaders with decision-making tools.

Village of Sodus Point: $45,000 for the “Environmental and Socio-Economic Impact of Community Pier Locations” to select a suitable location for a new community pier by considering environmental and socio-economic factors, level of impact, and the feasibility of green infrastructure features at three potential locations located within the village of Sodus Point.

New York Sea Grant administers the New York Great Lakes Basin Small Grants Program in partnership with DEC. This small grants program is funded by the New York State Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). Among the many environmental victories in the 2023-24 State Budget, Governor Hochul maintained EPF funding at $400 million, the highest level of funding in the program's history. To date, more than $1.4 million has been awarded for projects across New York’s Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River region.

For more information on New York's Great Lakes Action Agenda, go to DEC's website. More information about New York Great Lakes Basin Small Grants Program, including examples of past projects is available at New York Sea Grant's website or by calling NYSG’s Buffalo office at 716-270-2490. 

New York Sea Grant, a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York, is one of 34 university-based programs working with coastal communities through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant College Program. NYSG brings “science to the shore” through a statewide network of integrated research, education, and extension services in support of coastal community economic vitality, environmental sustainability, and citizen awareness and understanding of the State’s marine and freshwater resources. Learn more at

Central Lake Ontario:

New York Great Lakes Basin Small Grant funding was applied to install this canoe/kayak accessible launch at the foot of South Ontario Street in the Village of Sodus Point. Credit: Maxine Appleby, Village of Sodus Point

Finger Lakes: New York Great Lakes Basin Small Grant funding supported this shoreline stabilization project that installed soil lifts, a nature-based shoreline design, at Sandy Bottom Park in Honeoye. Photo: K. Lafler, Ontario County Soil and Water Conservation District

St Lawrence Region: New York Great Lakes Basin Small Grants Program funding to the Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation District in 2019-2020 supported evaluation and ranking of nearly 200 road-stream crossing structures that impact the passage and habitat of aquatic species in the Chateaugay-English River watershed to serve as a guide for needed culvert repair and replacement. Photo: Kristin Ballou/Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation District.