Homeowners affected by flooding can seek relief in October

The Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative commission is narrowing down its list of flood impact projects. Homeowners will be able to apply for relief from a $20 million fund on Oct. 1. File photo

MORRISTOWN — Homeowners affected by high water along the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River shoreline will have to wait until October for applications to be finalized.

The Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative commission met here Monday with about 30 members of the public to describe the process of allocating $300 million for communities, businesses and individuals dealing with recovery from flooding.

Randall Young, regional director of the Department of Environmental Conservation, gave a breakdown of how the money would be distributed.

“As you may have seen recently, $20 million of that has been set aside for homeowner relief,” he said. “Which is going to take place through an expansion of the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence Seaway Flood Relief and Recovery Program that was implemented through New York State Home and Community Renewal following flooding in 2017.”

Mr. Young explained that it would be an individual homeowner process that would run parallel to the REDI Commission’s work and run through four non-profit organizations, Sheen Housing, Capstone, Niagara Falls Housing Services and Neighbors of Watertown.

“Applications will probably be opened on or by October first,” Mr. Young said.

Mr. Young urged homeowners to sign up for updates at hcr.ny.gov.

The remaining $280 million will be divided among regional and county projects.

“Each of the eight counties along the shoreline has been allocated $15 million to spend on projects they have prioritized that will benefit their particular county,” Mr. Young said.

“The final $160 million is set aside for regionally significant projects. Those are projects that will have proposals from the committee that will benefit more than the individual localities but the entire region.”

Christopher Calkins, senior vice president of Ramboll, the environmental consulting firm facilitating the process, explained how the committee has been evaluating projects.

The committee used the Department of State’s risk assessment tool, used in Superstorm Sandy to determine which assets are most likely to be affected by rising water levels and storms. The committee also looked at how effective a project would be.

“It’s not all about numbers. It is also about intangibles,” Mr. Calkins said. “For example, how quickly can a project be implemented? How durable is it? What’s its scale? We want to be careful that we spend our money wisely.”

Also considered are the cost of a project and whether it fits within the monetary constraints of the program and its contribution to economic development.

“Those are the foundational elements of this program,” Mr. Calkins said. “resiliency and economic development.”

Mr. Calkins said the priorities established by the committee are not surprising,

“First, marinas and waterfront business, second infrastructure and then third natural resources,” he said.

Infrastructure projects being considered, Kyle Buelow of Ramboll said, include water and sewer in Waddington, bridge and seawall work in Ogdensburg, bridge work in Morristown, water plant work in Alexandria Bay, repairs to the River Walk and water treatment plant in Clayton and several others.

Mr. Buelow said more than 140 waterfront businesses and marinas were on the project list.

The committee will be meeting with a more formalized list of projects from 1 to 3 p.m. Sept. 12 at the Dobisky Visitors Center in Ogdensburg and will have a final report for the state on Sept. 16.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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(9) comments

SESZOO

Maybe time to consider moving to higher ground .. With all this climate warming and ice caps melting .Higher water is going to be with us for awhile..

Gracie02

Agreed Seszoo.... but then the shoreline owners would want the rest of us to pay for that too... and blame the 2017 plan for climate change.....

Gracie02

Here's a money grab opportunity for homeowners who built too close to the shoreline..and didn't install floating docks...now the rest of us get to pay for it... Lifelong resident of the river...and well aware of the permanent docks and seawalls in need of repair long before any high water...or that weren't repaired or adjusted from our last high water two years ago...

Rambo

Just for what it is worth. We are 30 year residents of the St Lawrence river out dock never went under in those 30 years except for 3 days in 1993 and then in 2017/2019.

It did not need any repair or change until 2017/2019 when those in power to keep the shipping industry in business for 8- 10 weeks longer (than in the past) were provided with higher water levels thanks to 2017 Plan.

Please tell me when you last received any financial benefit from the shipping industry using the waterways in the North Country.

Gracie02

The shipping industry didn't cause this...sue Mother Nature if you want relief... 1700 miles of waterway...lake Michigan- Superior - 36" above normal height... so the answer is to flood those East of the locks... and stop shipping in International Waters that border 2 countries... You got a better chance suing Mother Nature.. raise your dock, fix your seawall...

Rambo

I guess they got you to also "drink the Kool Aid" It is a shame.

Gracie02

Kool Aid? Excerpt from the Detroit Press... "Some Great Lakes water levels hit record highs in June and are only expected to keep climbing, prompting concern from Michigan officials for waterfront communities already flooded.



Lake Superior, Lake St. Clair, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario set record high monthly mean water levels in June, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reported this week. Lake Michigan-Huron was less than 1 inch short of its June record.



“Water levels continued to rise in June and have reached some of the highest levels in our recorded history, which dates back to 1918,” said Keith Kompoltowicz, chief of watershed hydrology for the Corps’ Detroit district. "

Hmmm....no mention of the 2017 Plan?? Google Flooding Chicago...same comments... also, no mention of the 2017 Plan.... ??

Rambo

Hmmmmmmmmmmmm -----wonder why the outflow of the St Lawrence has been reduced ? Oh, it must be because of the the navigation issues with the Freighters on the River. To drain the bathtub you must open the drain.

Gracie02

Rambo... some history...we need to understand the purpose of the Seaway...it wasn't for tourism - cottage owners..jet skis...swimming...that was a spinoff... The main aim of the Seaway project was to create navigable waters in order to promote trade .... Most of the construction works was carried out along the St. Lawrence River between the city of Montreal and Lake Ontario to facilitate international trade...value of cargo in 2017...2017 totaled 143.5 million tons and was valued at $15.2 billion (C$19.8 billion)....

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