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Healthy Waterways

View of Downtown Rochester from Corn Hill Landing

View of Downtown Rochester from Corn Hill Landing
(City of Rochester, Communications Bureau)

Healthy Waterways was a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) of the City of Rochester, NY's Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) update. The project was supported through a grant from the Health Impact Project - a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts. In the Healthy Waterways report, we provide information and recommendations to help decision makers and stakeholders understand how to maximize the positive health impacts of water resource related decisions, while minimizing negative effects on the health of Rochester’s communities. In so doing, we hope to create a statewide model for incorporating HIA in the LWRP process.

What is the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP)?

The LWRP is part of the New York State Division of Coastal Resource’s (NYSDCR) statewide coastal management program. These long-term plans guide city, private, and state/federal decisions affecting waterways. LWRPs provide more detail than the statewide management program, allowing municipalities to address waterfront issues at a local scale. For more information on LWRP, please visit the Department of State's Local Waterfront Revitalization Program. The City of Rochester’s website offers more detailed information on the LWRP. A public survey linked from this page offers an opportunity for city residents to voice their thoughts, concerns and ideas about the future of Rochester’s waterfront.

Why Conduct an HIA of the LWRP?

Use of waterways affects community health in many ways. The NYSDCR does not require LWRPs to explicitly address human health, though many required elements of the LWRP planning process impact health. The Healthy Waterways HIA helped clarify these health implications, and assessed health impacts on diverse populations. We developed recommendations based on this assessment to help decision makers and stakeholders understand how to maximize the positive health impacts of water resource related decisions, while minimizing negative effects on the health of Rochester’s communities. The Executive Summary linked below summarizes our findings and recommendations, while the Full Report provides a detailed description of our methods, assessment findings, and recommendations.

Project Status

During the spring of 2012, the project team met with various stakeholders - the City of Rochester, Monroe County Department of Public Health, Monroe County Department of Environmental Services, community leaders and other interest groups - to identify waterfront-related health concerns to be addressed in the HIA. Through these efforts, we narrowed our focus on a subset of health determinants. During the summer of 2012, we conducted surveys to obtain more information about beach use, trail use, and interactions of southwest area residents with the local waterfront. During winter and spring 2012-2013, we drafted the report and worked with stakeholders to develop and finalize the recommendations outlined in the report below. The Healthy Waterways project team remains active with the LWRP's Waterfront Advisory Committee.

Publications

Healthy Waterways: A Health Impact Assessment of the City of Rochester, New York’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program

Prepared by Environmental Health Sciences Center COEC staff with support from NIEHS grant #ES001247 and the Health Impact Project. Last updated 9/6/2013