DEC gives Lake Ontario property owners more time for flood recovery permit
Press Release, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced that DEC has completed revisions to the Lake Ontario General Permit related to erosion and shoreline damage caused by the historic high-water levels of Lake Ontario during 2017-18, and is extending the permit authority to September 30, 2019.
The revisions and extension of the General Permit are the latest in a series of State actions that support Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s ongoing commitment to helping residents impacted by last year’s devastating flooding.
Commissioner Seggos said, “DEC has been working hand-in-hand with communities along the shores of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River since day one, helping New Yorkers protect their homes and businesses from record flooding and related damages. Our efforts aren’t subject to an arbitrary expiration date. We’ll be on the ground helping these communities until the job is done and will continue to authorize shoreline repair work until these communities are back on their feet.”
DEC’s General Permit was revised to include additional typical activities undertaken by shoreline property owners to make necessary repair and stabilize their properties from high water levels and wind-driven high wave events. The revisions incorporate lessons learned from experience gained over the course of the State’s response to this major flooding event.
Over the past year, DEC has received more than 3,000 applications for permits to authorize shoreline repair work, and issued over 2,700 emergency authorizations. Commissioner Seggos is granting this extension for the General Permit authority to address the continued demand for restoration permits. The extension allows DEC to accept applications through April 30, 2019, and extends the permit expiration date to September 30, 2019.
Additional activities permitted include:
• Repair of erosion control structures that require minor deviations waterward necessary for the stability of the structure;
• New toe stone necessary for the stabilization of vertical erosion control structures;
• New stone revetments for the emergency stabilization of existing dwellings; and
• Removal of channel blockages in tributaries to Lake Ontario blocked by shoreline sediments.
DEC’s revised General Permit was developed in consultation with the New York State Department of State (DOS) and the Buffalo District of the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (USACOE). Activities authorized under this permit qualify for coverage under the USACOE Nationwide Permit Program and have received a Federal Coastal Consistency Concurrence from DOS. These revisions mean applicants eligible for the revised General Permit will receive a single approval from all three agencies.
Governor Cuomo remains committed to helping New York’s Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River communities recover from last year’s historically high water levels. Following the flooding of both Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence Seaway, which damaged homes, businesses, and local infrastructure, the Governor and the State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services coordinated with county and local partners to monitor water levels and deliver resources, including millions of sandbags and the construction of thousands of feet of temporary dams.
An initial $45 million commitment to provide aid to residents, small businesses, and municipalities affected by the flood was supplemented with two $5 million grants from the State and Municipal Facilities Program to bolster previous relief and provide necessary financial assistance to recovery efforts.
The new permit is available on DEC’s website by clicking here.
Homeowners and municipalities with questions about the Lake Ontario grant program should call DEC at 518-474-2057 during normal business hours.
Small business owners and other eligible property owners should contact Empire State Development with questions by emailing LakeOntario@esd.ny.gov or calling 518-292-5348.