Green Infrastructure – Stormwater runoff carries pollutants into waterways and can intensify water quality and flooding problems. Stormwater runoff is increased by imperious surfaces, such as roofs, roadways and parking lots, and by intense precipitation. Green Infrastructure (GI) is a method to manage stormwater by mimicking natural processes that slow and capture rain to allow it to soak into the ground. Rain gardens, green roofs, vegetated swales and pervious pavement are all techniques to reduce runoff, water pollution, sewer overflows and flooding.
The City of Kingston is beginning to actively integrate Green Infrastructure techniques and practices into municipal infrastructure. Two municipal lots on North Front Street in downtown Kingston were fully retrofitted in the fall of 2016 to incorporate Green Infrastructure, including dry wells, bioretention areas and pervious paving.
In 2017, staff worked with a Master’s student to study the effects of these practices in order to inform future use and replication. The City of Kingston is installing a variety of green infrastructure treatments, including porous pavers, bioswales and street tree pits, as part of the Broadway Streetscape Project. The project will help to reduce the amount of storm water flowing into the combined sewer system. To learn more details about the Broadway Streetscape Project, visit the Office of Economic and Community Development page and scroll down to the Active Projects list. Sustainability staff are part of the design and aesthetics review team for this project.
Sustainability staff also annually assists the Engineering Department with the completion of the City of Kingston Annual Storm Water Report, measuring the City’s adherence to the Municipal Storm Water Regulations (MS4) also documenting any illicit discharges into the storm water system.
Additionally, in December 2018, the City of Kingston was awarded $1.2 million for Midtown Parking Lots Green Infrastructure Upgrades ($1,200,000) from the NYS Environmental Facilities Corporation Green Infrastructure Grant Program. The City of Kingston will use grant funds to retrofit several parking lots with green infrastructure, incorporating porous pavement, bioswales, tree pits, electric car charging stations, and bicycle parking and fix-it stations. Street storm water run-off will be directed into the green infrastructure elements and remove water from entering the combined sewer system, which could otherwise overflow with untreated sewage into the rivers during storm events.
Open Space Planning - Conservation of natural landscapes, such as forests, streams and wetlands, can help to reduce damaging floods. Forests naturally reduce stormwater by slowing the movement of runoff and absorbing rain into the ground. Wetlands allow water to slow down and spread out during heavy precipitation events, reducing flood volumes. In tidal areas, wetlands may buffer upland areas from storm surge. Protection of stream corridors can reduce flood vulnerability. The City of Kingston created a Tidal Rondout Creek Watershed Management Plan in 2015 to advance watershed planning efforts.
The Kingston Conservation Advisory Council, with the City of Kingston is completing a Natural Resources Inventory and Open Space Index and is in the process of creating an Open Space Plan for the city. By the spring of 2018, the final data layers were collected and
mapped for the City’s natural resources by consultant John Mickelson, and Behan Planning and Design is the consultant completing the Open Space Plan. Public input on prioritization and conservation interests will
be a crucial component of the process. A public meeting was held on June 26th at City Hall to present the findings. On September 25th, the City of Kingston and the CAC hosted the first Open Space Plan Public Workshop. Additional public input was solicited through October 9th.
Open Space Public Workshop General Information, Project Timeline
The City of Kingston has completed the development of an Open Space Plan for the City of Kingston. Building upon the foundation of the Natural Resources Inventory, the Open Space Plan will guide the city towards sustainable land use and natural resource protection. Behan Planning and Design was the consultant who crafted the Open Space Plan with the City and the CAC.
On May 14th, 2019, the City hosted a public informational meeting to present the draft recommendations of the new Open Space Plan. Public comment was incorporated into the Final Plan, which was adopted by the Kingston Conservation Advisory Council on July 9th. The Common Council conducted a coordinated SEQRA review of the Plan and in July 2020, the Kingston Open Space Plan was adopted as an element of the 2025 Comprehensive Plan. For more information see www.kingston-ny.gov/nri.
Final Open Space Plan
Open Space Plan Presentation
Open Space Vision Map
Cultivating Street Trees –
Kingston has earned the Arbor Day Foundation’s “Tree City USA” designation for nearly two decades, and celebrates Arbor Day with an annual event. The Kingston Tree Commission oversees an annual tree planting initiative and coordinates street tree management for the City.
The City recently received funding to conduct an inventory of street and park trees and to update and strengthen local ordinances related to management of trees. In 2017, the City received a grant from the NYSDEC to
conduct a Street Tree Inventory for the City. In 2018, City of Kingston contracted with ArborPro, Inc. to conduct a tree inventory of the City's street trees and park trees. These inventories will be used as a tool by the tree commission when reviewing tree removal and pruning permits, as well as, identifying locations for future tree plantings. For more information please see Inventory Summary Report, Street Tree Inventory Summary Report, Park Tree Inventory Summary Report.
Participating in the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program - The Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) is administered through the NYS Department of State and provides coastal areas, including Hudson Estuary riverfront communities, with support for planning and implementing improvements on their waterfront. Climate adaptation and flood reduction strategies are encouraged as part of the LWRP process. Kingston developed an LWRP in 1992. To read more about waterfront planning, visit Riverport tab on the City’s Economic and Community Development page and choose the Hudson Riverport project in the dropdown menu.