Senate Passes Senator Mayer Bill to Establish Statewide Office of Flood Prevention and Mitigation

On February 13, the New York State Senate unanimously passed a bill sponsored by Senator Shelley B. Mayer to establish a cabinet-level Office of Flood Prevention and Mitigation. The bill heads to the New York State Assembly for a vote and then, hopefully, to the Governor’s desk for signature. 


Through Mayer’s legislation, the Office of Flooding Prevention and Mitigation will be tasked with coordinating existing state work on flooding, supporting municipalities in their efforts to prevent and mitigate flooding, and researching flooding impacts and mitigation in New York. 

New York State is facing intensifying climate change-related hazards and storms, causing long-term devastation. Westchester and the surrounding Hudson Valley, Long Island, and New York City in particular face challenges recovering from destructive storms and are often unable to fully recover from one storm before another one strikes. It remains critical to the future of the state that proactive measures are taken to abate flooding. 


This legislation will assess the areas of the state and populations at greatest risk, identify the best current emerging practices in flood management, preparedness, and resiliency, and make recommendations to the Governor and Legislature to help develop a high-level strategy for addressing flooding in our state.


From December to January, Senator Mayer conducted a survey of her constituents regarding their concerns and priorities. Twenty-five percent of the respondents chose Flooding and Climate Change as one of their top priorities.


Senator Shelley B. Mayer said, “I am very pleased that my bill, S.3335, to establish an Office of Flooding Prevention and Mitigation has passed the Senate. During severe storms like Hurricane Ida, we lost community members, countless people endured severe damage to their homes, and more faced financial burden. Since Ida, residents and businesses in my district and in neighboring communities have been impacted by increasingly intense and frequent storms brought on by climate change, and are often hit with another downpour before they can rebuild. The Office of Flooding Prevention and Mitigation will provide New Yorkers with a strong, coordinated, and strategic approach to tackling the effects of climate change, requiring all levels of government and agencies within government to work together to identify and execute mitigation and resiliency plans. It will help provide municipalities, counties, and individuals with the tools we need to tackle the scale of the work ahead.”


Senator Pete Harckham, Chair of the Senate Committee on Environment Conservation, said, “People want meaningful action on the climate crisis, environmental protections, and stormwater mitigation. To do so, we need to put as much effort as possible into passing climate and stormwater legislation this year to safeguard our communities statewide. The 

time for action is now, and I am grateful to my colleagues in the Senate for passing Senator Mayer’s Office of Flood Mitigation and Prevention bill.” 


Assemblyman Steve Otis said, “Flood events and damage have become a frequent and repeated challenge throughout the state. Our state agencies have responded by offering more resources, expertise, and guidance to local governments to address flood recovery, mitigation, and preparedness projects. A new State Office of Flood Prevention will be an added benefit. The unit will coordinate state agency assistance and provide a central office for local governments to access expertise from state government.”


Westchester County Executive George Latimer said, “Westchester County is no stranger to the devastating impacts of flooding exacerbated by climate change. Senator Shelley Mayer’s bill, establishing the Office of Flooding Prevention and Mitigation, marks a crucial step towards coordinated action. By pooling resources and fostering collaboration among municipalities, this initiative promises to empower our communities with effective strategies to combat flooding and safeguard our residents’ well-being.”


Legislator Catherine Parker said, “As a Westchester County Legislator I want to commend and give tremendous gratitude to Senator Mayer and her colleagues in the New York Senate for recognizing the need to prioritize and address flooding in a significant and impactful way. New York has experienced billions of dollars in damage due to flooding as a byproduct of Climate Change. The creation of a cabinet-level office and position to hold expertise in best practices for funding flood mitigation strategies through collaboration will be a welcome relief to our municipalities.”


Mamaroneck Town Supervisor Jaine Elkind Eney said, “Flooding, and its devastating effects, is a pressing issue here in Mamaroneck. State Senator Shelley Mayer has been a tireless champion for our community. I am delighted that the NYS Senate passed her proposed legislation to create a State Office of Flooding Prevention and Mitigation. This Office will provide critical tools in improving the lives of our residents, as well as many residents throughout New York State.”


Larchmont Mayor Sarah Bauer said, “The Village of Larchmont is extremely grateful to Senator Mayer for her work to pass the legislation establishing a central office for flood prevention and mitigation. As a community that is subject to significant flooding events, which are only increasing with climate change, we appreciate the willingness of Senator Mayer and the State Senate to work towards assisting communities such as ours that suffer from these flooding events.” 


Jirandy Martinez, Executive Director of the Community Resource Center, said, “We at the Community Resource Center firmly endorse the flood mitigation legislation proposed by Senator Shelley Mayer that will establish an office of flood mitigation and prevention. The aftermath of Hurricane Ida in 2021 highlighted the urgent necessity for proactive measures to safeguard our community. We commend Senator Mayer for her proactive leadership in prioritizing the protection of our community. This represents a significant step forward for Mamaroneck and the larger region, and we are thrilled about the positive impact it will have on our community.”