Areas at risk of flooding in the Village of Catskill
A Climate Adaptive Design Studio Vision for the Catskill Waterfront

Planning & Preparedness

The Village of Catskill is taking steps to make our community safer from flooding and more prepared for a sustainable future.

Storm Preparedness

Certain areas of the Village are susceptible to flooding. Here are some of the steps the Village is taking to reduce flood risk.

Preparing for the Next FloodThe Village of Catskill has created a Flood Preparedness Guide for Residents and Businesses. The guide offers preparedness and recovery tips and provides a directory of local resources available during a flood.

Waterfront Resilience Task Force – Catskill is one of four Hudson River communities to create a Waterfront Resilience Task Force. In 2014, a task force studied current and future flood risk, and recommended actions to increase the safety of waterfront areas. In 2016, representatives from Catskill joined forces with other Task Force communities to address common issues related to flooding. The report was updated in July 2020.  Download the 

Waterfront Zoning–Waterfront zoning is an important step that communities can take to increase flood safety.   Communities may adopt a Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance, create a Flood Overlay District, or pass an amendment to existing zoning that recognizes new FEMA Base Flood Elevations. The NYS Community Risk and Resiliency Act will require municipalities to address risks from sea-level-rise, flooding and other hazards, and will provide model local lows to assist with compliance.

The Village of Catskill has a Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance. Catskill’s engineering firm, Crawford & Associates, recently completed a Draft Zoning Code Analysis for Flood Resiliency. The analysis includes recommendations for introducing a Flood Overlay District into existing zoning.

Upgrading Infrastructure

The Village of Catskill is working to address flood risk, increase capacity, and reduce pollution through upgrades to wastewater and storm-water systems.

Wastewater Treatment Plant Adaptation Many wastewater treatment plants are located near creeks and rivers, making them vulnerable to flooding. Over the long-term, communities may be forced to re-locate wastewater treatment plants to higher ground, or fortify them from increasing flood risk.

The Village is taking action to safeguard its wastewater treatment plant. These actions save taxpayer money by avoiding the need for repeated repairs after each flood. The Village Department of Public Works (DPW) has raised electrical components and utilities in the plant to above flood heights. The DPW also upgraded a pump station to ensure that it is not risk of flooding. In 2017, the Village engineering consultant, Crawford & Associates, conducted a study to evaluate options for ensuring the long-term operation of the plant.

Mapping Wastewater InfrastructureThe Village of Catskill is collaborating with the Hudson River Estuary Program and Columbia University to digitize wastewater infrastructure maps. Students from Columbia are working with the DPW to review existing maps, verify infrastructure locations and create the digital database.

Addressing Sewer Overflows - The 2014 National Climate Assessment indicated that the Northeastern United States experienced a 71% increase in very heavy precipitation events from 1958 to 2012. This heavy rainfall runoff can overwhelm infrastructure, causing release of sewage into waterways. This problem is especially bad in areas where sewage and storm-water are moved in a combined drainage system.

Combined sewer overflow, or CSO is a problem that is being addressed by the Village. The DPW has been separating storm-water and sanitary sewers for the past several years. The goal is to eliminate combined sewer outfalls into the Hudson River and Catskill Creek. Separation of storm and sanitary sewers has increased the capacity of the Village’s wastewater treatment plant.

Making Wise Land Use Decisions

We can protect the character of our communities and safeguard our water through careful land use planning. The Village of Catskill participates in partnerships that provide valuable services at low cost to taxpayers.

Participating in the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program - The Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) of the NYS Department of State provides coastal areas with support for improving waterfronts. Actions to reduce flood risk are encouraged as part of the LWRP process. The Village of Catskill was awarded an $85,000 grant from the Department of State to create a LWRP. The Village will be working with Crawford & Associates to create the LWRP in 2018-19. When completed, the LWRP will qualify Catskill to apply for grant money to complete projects. For more information, contact Lisa Cope at or 518 943 3830.

Hosting the Cornell University Climate Adaptive Design Studio - The Climate-Adaptive Design (CAD) Studio links Cornell students in landscape architecture with Hudson Riverfront communities. Students create designs for more resilient, beautiful and connected waterfront areas. In 2014, the CAD Studio was held in Catskill. Students produced designs for the creek-front and business district. Click here to watch a video about the Climate Adaptive Design Studio.

Conserving Natural LandscapesNature preserves provide public access to the outdoors, attract tourists, improve property values and preserve scenery. Forests and wetlands improve water quality and can help to reduce flooding. Forests reduce flooding by slowing the movement of runoff and absorbing rain into the ground. Wetlands slow down and spread out water during heavy rain events. In tidal areas, wetlands may buffer upland areas from storm surge.

The Village of Catskill supports the conservation efforts of Scenic Hudson Land Trust, which has acquired 149 acres of forest and meadow on the Catskill Creek upstream of the Village. The property is managed by Greene Land Trust. Scenic Hudson also operates the Ramshorn Livingston Sanctuary in partnership with Audubon New York. The 480-acre sanctuary was recently enlarged through the purchase of a 132-acre property, protecting 3,400 feet along the Hudson River shoreline.

Becoming a Climate Smart Community 

The New York State Climate Smart Communities (CSC) Program is a network of New York communities engaged in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving safety and planning measures.

  • Municipalities become involved with the CSC Program by adopting the CSC Pledge. The pledge includes 10 elements that lead to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and provide guidance on climate change preparedness.
  • Municipalities can participate in the Climate Smart Certification Program, which provides access to technical support and funding opportunities to reach certification goals. There are four award levels: Certified, Bronze, Silver and Gold.
  • The Village of Catskill has taken the CSC pledge and is exploring certification requirements.   Catskill recently completed the Climate Smart Communities Planning Tool to improve how preparedness efforts are integrated into Village operations.

Want to see what sea level rise looks like in your neighborhood?

Visit Scenic Hudson’s Sea Level Rise Mapper at to view projected impacts.

Visit the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Climate Information Resources page for more information on our changing climate.

Project Partners

This content was written by Elizabeth LoGiudice through a partnership between River Haggie Outdoors and Cornell University Water Resources Institute, with funding from the Environmental Protection Fund through the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Hudson River Estuary Program.