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HomeCity of RyeBoards & CommissionsMeet the Conservation Commission/Advisory Council and its Chair Tracy Stora

Meet the Conservation Commission/Advisory Council and its Chair Tracy Stora

(PHOTO: Tracy Stora, chair of the Conservation Commission - Advisory Council.)
(PHOTO: Tracy Stora, chair of the Conservation Commission/Advisory Council.)

In this series, MyRye.com will introduce readers to the boards and commissions of the City of Rye and the residents who run them. All volunteers, these residents give their time and expertise to keep our city running. The series is intended to bring visibility to what each board and commission does, its priorities and what might prompt a resident or another person or company to interact with the group. 

We have made our best efforts to reach out to each board and commission chairperson directly or via City officials. If you are a board or commission chair and have not been contacted, or if you are a reader with feedback on this series, please get in touch with MyRye.com.

Meet the Conservation Commission/Advisory Council and its Chair Tracy Stora.

Your Name: Tracy Stora

Name of the Board or Commission you chair: Conservation Commission/Advisory Council

Your role: Chairperson 2018-present

MyRye.com: What is the charter for your Council?

Stora: We are a 52 year old advisory council and part of a network of over 200 conservation commissions in New York State. The Conservation Commission/Advisory Council (“CC/AC”), successor to the original Rye

Conservation Commission created by Article 17 of the Charter of the City of Rye on September 22, 1972, was established by the City Council on November 6, 1974, in response to state law (Article 12 of General Municipal Law) encouraging the creation of environmental bodies to advise municipal governments.

Explain the work your group is best known. 

Stora: CC/AC’s primary activity is to advise on wetland permits sought from the Planning Commission (“PC”). Wetlands are very important because they:

  • support biodiversity and are a feeding habitat for fish, birds, reptiles and mammals;
  • clean the water and act as natural filters that trap pollutants;
  • control flooding by absorbing excess rainwater an releasing it over time;
  • sequester carbon and help reduce greenhouse gas concentrations;
  • control erosion and stabilize soil to reduce shoreline and floodplain degradation;
  • recharge groundwater aquifers by allowing water to slowly percolate through the soil;
  • save the City money by reducing the cost of erosion control, flood control, and clean water

Looking at 2024, what will be your top initiatives? 


  • Continue to review Wetland Permits, advise the Planning Commission and the City Council on environmental related issues
  • Partner with the Rye Sustainability Committee on Rye clean up days and invasive plant removal
  • Partner with the Rye Sustainability Committee to revive the Healthy Yard Program.
  • “Persist in offering opportunities to young people through the junior commissioner role.”

Who is the City Council liaison to your Board?

Stora: William Henderson since January 2022

Tell us about the residents or others you interact with at your Board.

Stora: Residents attend our meetings to share concerns about wetland issues, neighborhood development and flooding concerns.

When was your Commission chartered by the City of Rye? 

Stora: September 22, 1972. Until 2000, the CC/AC managed the Rye Nature Center and now serves as a resource to it.

Looking back across 2023, what were your Committee’s top achievements?


2023 CC/AC Activities

  • Attended 20 Planning Committee meetings and related site visits throughout the year.
  • Participant in NYSACC Conference
  • Partnered with the Sustainability Committee on two invasive vine clean ups on Playland Parkway
  • Participated in Westchester County Conservation Advisory Councils and Sustainability Committee summit.
  • Met with the Blind Brook stakeholders and Save the Sound Ecological Restoration division.
  • Helped plan the Westchester County Resilience Field Trip in Rye, sponsored by The Long Island Sound Study and Sea Grant that featured an overview and history of restoration work at the Rye Nature Center, Save the Sound water quality monitoring and dam removal feasibility projects on the Blind Brook and the Rye Art Center rain garden installation.
  • Appointed City Land Use Committees. Mayor Cohn appointed Chair Tracy Stora to the Tree Committee that reviewed and amended the City’s Tree Ordinance. The revised ordinance will better protect and preserve the City’s Tree Canopy and encourage the planting of native trees that are indigenous to this region.
  • 2023 update on the Coastal Resiliency Network. Vice Chair Lexy Tomaino began worked with NYSAAC Chair Simon Skolnik and representatives from the Long Island Sound Study and New York Sea Grant to work on a regional information and advocacy network amongst commissions in Westchester, Suffolk, and Nassau counties abutting the Long Island Sound to prepare and engage in best practices for sea level rise. The group held quarterly webinars and worked to find grants for projects relating to the problem of increasing water from the sea.
  • Wetlands Permits. CC/AC reviewed 19 wetlands permits (“WP”)  during 2023, which often included comments on multiple referrals regarding a particular site. CC/AC commented on 28 WPs in 2022, 25 WPs in 2021, 18 WPs in 2020 and 20 WPs in 2019.

Tell us about you:

How long have you been in the role?

Stora: Chair: 2019-2024, Vice Chair: 2014-2018, Member: Since 2012

What is your day job? 

Stora: Environmental Advocacy/Marketing & Publishing.

How much time does your role require in a typical month? 

Stora: Approximately 10-15 hours per month with seasonal variation. For those interested in joining the City of Rye CC/AC, please contact City Planner Christian Miller.

Thank you Tracy!


Members of the Conservation Commission/Advisory Council

Tracy Stora, Chair 12-31-23

Julie Canter 12-31-22

Jeanette Cummins 12-31-23

William Lawyer 12-31-23

James Dalton Murphy 12-31-22

Ryan Prime 12-31-23

Alexis Devane Tomaino 12-31-22

agendas & minutes

Jay Sears, MyRye.com
Jay Sears, MyRye.comhttps://myrye.com
Jay Sears is the owner and publisher of MyRye.com. He is a 20+ year Rye resident. Contact Jay here: https://myrye.com/tips-letters/


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