Skip to main content

Climate Smart Communities

The Climate Smart Communities (CSC) program creates a network of New York municipalities seeking to increase energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources, while reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced and increasing communities’ resiliency to impacts of climate change. Dutchess County leaders, the County Executive, and the Chairman of the Legislature have determined that involvement in these programs can help reduce overall energy usage and its associated costs, and increase the use of renewable energy sources, both in government facilities and the community at large. The program also provides guidance to local governments on best practices for mitigating and adapting to climate change and offers a source of matching grants for projects that advance stated goals.

As of September 2019, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) announced that Dutchess County has earned Bronze-level certification in the New York State-Certified Climate Smart Community program. 

New York State of Opportunity: Climate Smart Communities Certified Bronze

Contact

Task Force

The Climate Smart Communities (CSC) Task Force was originally established to review the elements of the Climate Smart Communities program in order to certify Dutchess County as a Bronze Level CSC. The Task Force is responsible for gathering the necessary data, conducting any required studies and submitting documentation to the NYSCSC program through its online portal.

On September 27, 2019, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) announced that Dutchess County has earned Bronze-level certification in the New York State Climate Smart Community program. Through the diligence of the CSC Task Force, the County received its certification in just ten months, completing the mandatory actions and documenting enough priority actions to earn 122 points in the program’s rating system. For more information on this designation, please see the following press release and the CSC Certification Report, which catalogues the actions that the County received credit for.

Climate Smart Communities (CSC) Task Force meetings are open to the public, and all are welcome and encouraged to attend. For additional information on upcoming meetings, please see Meetings section below.

Visit the NYS website for more information about the Climate Smart Communities Program.

Task Force Members

The Task Force includes 7 members appointed by the County Executive, 7 members appointed by the Chairperson of the County Legislature, and 1 member appointed jointly.

  • Devin Rigolino (Co-Chair & CSC Coordinator), Dutchess County Planning and Development
  • Gary Bassett, Village of Rhinebeck
  • Mary Ann Cunningham, Vassar College
  • Melissa Everett, Sustainable Hudson Valley
  • Lisa Kaul, Dutchess County Legislature
  • Evelina Knodel, MASS Design Group 
  • Michael Lauchaire, Central Hudson Gas & Electric
  • Europa McGovern, City of Poughkeepsie resident 
  • Allan Page, A. Page & Associates LLC
  • Eleanor Peck, Hudson Valley Regional Council
  • Brian Scoralick, DC Soil & Water Conservation District
  • Nancy Severns, Dutchess County Environmental Management Council
  • Kelsey West (Co-Chair), Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County

Task Force Committees

Committees are needed to allow the DC Climate Smart Communities Task Force to accomplish its mission by advancing program components between Task Force meetings. These committees will report on work, propose courses of action, and make recommendations for decisions by the whole Task Force. Committees are composed of Task Force members, County and/or municipal staff, and other volunteers with expertise in the respective field. To nominate a person for membership on a committee, please have the potential committee member send a letter of interest with a brief resume to drigolino@dutchessny.gov; information will be forwarded to the chair of the involved committee for consideration. 

Current DC Climate Smart Communities Task Force Committees include:

  • Renewables and Energy Efficiency Committee: This committee is responsible for reviewing actions related to efforts to reduce energy use and utilize green energy systems, including conducting energy audits and improving infrastructure/facilities to be more environmentally friendly and efficient.
  • Transportation Efficiencies Committee: This committee is responsible for reviewing actions related to current transportation efforts, including public transit usage, local bicycle/pedestrian facilities, and vehicle fleet efficiency, among others. This committee is working in cooperation with the Dutchess County Transportation Council and Dutchess County Public Transit to forward these goals.
  • Greenhouse Gas Inventories & Climate Action Plans Committee: This committee is responsible for reviewing actions related to the development of both government operations and community greenhouse gas emissions inventories and climate action plans.
  • Outreach and Education Committee: This committee is responsible for reviewing actions related to climate change education, as well as employing various forms of social media to enhance awareness on this subject.  

Inventories, Plans, and Reports

In 2023, Dutchess County began participating in the Hudson Valley Regional Council’s (HVRC) Climate Action Planning Institute (CAPI). CAPI is a facilitated, collaborative working group through which a select group of local governments develop individual government operations greenhouse gas emissions inventories and government operations climate actions plans. In addition, the County has also been working with HVRC on developing a community greenhouse gas emissions inventory and plan. Progress on these various inventories and plans is ongoing, and updates will be made available on this page.  

  • Dutchess County Government Operations GHG Inventory Report – 2024 (.pdf)
     
  • Dutchess County Government Operations Climate Action Plan (.pdf)
    As part of the County’s Climate Smart efforts, the Dutchess County Department of Planning & Development and the County’s Climate Smart Communities Task Force have been working on a Climate Action Plan for the County government’s operations. This planning document contains a list of impactful and achievable actions that the County could take to build on past efforts to lower carbon emissions that come from County operations. This work was funded by a grant from the NYSDEC, and is currently in draft format and available for public comment. Comments on the draft plan can be submitted to: drigolino@dutchessny.gov
     
  • Dutchess County Community GHG Inventory Report – Coming Soon

For a comprehensive review of the County's climate action progress, please see our latest Climate Smart Progress Report:

Climate Resilience and Adaptation

Climate resilience begins with understanding hazards posed by a changing climate and identifying community vulnerabilities. Climate change does not affect all assets, systems, operations, or community members equally, so performing a comprehensive assessment of local vulnerabilities and risks helps identify and prioritize actions to reduce risks to the community.

Dutchess County is a proud participant of the Climate Action Planning Institute (CAPI), a facilitated, collaborative working group through which a select group of local governments develop individual government operations greenhouse gas emissions inventories and government operations climate action plans.

Following the completion of our Government Operations and Communitywide Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory Reports, we are now working on assembling a Climate Vulnerability Assessment and a Climate Adaptation Plan through CAPI-Adapt, a cohort of communities working on producing climate vulnerability assessments and climate adaptation plans.

  • Resilient Ways Forward – An assessment of climate change and its impacts on transportation in Dutchess County:
    In addition to the countywide climate vulnerability assessment that is currently underway via the CAPI-Adapt project, the Dutchess County Transportation Council has also conducted a climate vulnerability assessment, titled Resilient Ways Forward, that has identified locations where our transportation systems are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, such as flooding, extreme temperatures, and wind. This CVA, which touches on state, regional, county, and local agencies alike, also recommends ways to adapt to or reduce the adverse impacts of climate change on our transportation systems – which include roads and bridges, buses and trains, sidewalks, rail trails, and other strategic transportation assets.
     
  • Climate Vulnerability Assessment (CVA):
    Crafting a vulnerability assessment involves the identification, analysis, and prioritization of the impacts of climate hazards and risks, such as flooding, heat stress, or short-term drought. A climate hazard refers to a physical occurrence or pattern that could impact a segment of the population or the entire community, specific regions, assets, or entire systems (such as transportation or energy infrastructure), encompassing the local economy and industries.
     
  • Climate Adaptation Plan (CAP):
    The main goal of the Climate Action plan is to address the vulnerabilities identified in the Climate Vulnerability Assessment. Adaptation planning outlines a vision and set of strategies to improve a community’s resilience to climate change based on its local physical, economic, and social vulnerabilities that could impact a segment of the population or the entire community, specific regions, assets, or entire systems (such as transportation or energy infrastructure), encompassing the local economy and industries
     
  • Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Vision - The County has solicited input from the public and key stakeholders via conversations, surveys, and presentations at public events to help shape a vision statement for how Dutchess County will adapt to become more resilient to the effects of climate change:
    “Dutchess County leads by example through sustainable improvements to government operations that mitigate greenhouse gases. Dutchess County fosters resilient communities that thrive amid a changing climate, as collaborative endeavors and innovative adaptation strategies advance a sustainable environment for future generations.

Additional feedback is welcome and encouraged. To submit comments on the County’s Climate Resilience Vision, please reach out to plandev@dutchessny.gov.

Meetings

Hybrid meetings of the Climate Smart Communities Task Force are currently being held at the offices of the Department of Planning and Development and on Microsoft Teams. Links for the virtual Teams meeting can be found in the posted meeting agendas below. These meetings are open to all, and local residents and business professionals are encouraged to attend and participate in these meetings to learn how they can get involved with the County’s climate smart efforts.

Next Meeting Date: Monday, June 24th at 5:30 pm,  Agenda
Note: The June 24, 2024 CSC Task Force meeting will set aside a portion of the meeting to hear any in-person or remote attendee comments from the public on the County's draft Climate Action Plan for Government Operations.

Agendas & Meeting Notes:

2024 Meeting Notes: January 29th (.pdf)  |  April 1st (.pdf)

2024 Agendas: April 1st (.pdf)

2023 Meeting Notes:  April 4th (.pdf)  |  June 27th (.pdf) |  October 23rd (.pdf)

2022 Meeting Notes:  January 27th (.pdf)  |  May 5th (.pdf)  |  September 14th (.pdf)

2020 Meeting Notes:   January 29th (.pdf)  |  November 16th (.pdf)