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Officials work to identify sites by lake in need of flood protection

Photos by Tom Rivers: Orleans County Legislature Chairwoman Lynne Johnson, Legislator John DeFilipps and County Highway Superintendent John Papponetti attended Tuesday’s meeting in Knowlesville for the Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative Commission. About 50 officials from Orleans and Niagara counties attended the session at the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Orleans County.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 July 2019 at 4:26 pm

Orleans leaders have already identified 32 spots for consideration for state funding

KNOWLESVILLE – The state has $300 million to help Lake Ontario communities protect infrastructure, businesses, cultural assets and other important community sites.

Orleans County officials, and leaders in the towns of Yates, Carlton and Kendall have already identified 32 sites at the three lakeshore towns in Orleans that are vulnerable to flooding and erosion.

The state has formed the Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative Commission – REDI – to work with municipalities to prioritize the sites for the funding.

New York State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid discusses the opportunities for funding through the new REDI program from the state.

The REDI Commission met in Knowlesville on Tuesday with about 50 officials from Orleans and Niagara counties.

The commission wants the municipalities to submit sites for consideration by Aug. 2. REDI will refine proposals on Sept. 12, and on Sept. 16 the commission will review regional proposals.

The REDI Commission formed after the second year of flooding and high lake levels on Lake Ontario. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he fears this is the “new normal” along the lake and wants communities to protect key infrastructure, cultural sites and businesses.

New York State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid spoke at Tuesday’s meeting, and praised the governor and State Legislature for allocating funds for help the shoreline communities.

The big task now is identifying the projects.

The REDI Commission will consider several factors in prioritizing funding, including public support for the projects, feasibility of implementation, level and scale of protection, flexibility, durability and long-term effectiveness, cost, economic development, environmental and ecological benefits, and whether alternative measures exhausted.

Orleans County Legislator John DeFilipps takes a photo of a map and list of projects listed for possible funding in Orleans and Niagara counties.

The group will also weigh whether sites are at risk for potential damage from flooding event, if they are a critical facility for public health and safety, capacity of asset to adapt, how long would asset be out of service if exposed to a damaging flood, if the soil underlying the asset is highly erodible, and whether the asset protected by natural features such as dunes, bluffs, barrier islands or trees.

“We want to identify real tangible projects,” Kulleseid said.

Officials in Orleans have identified 32 sites, including several roads, parking areas, water plants, stormwater systems, marinas, docks and other infrastructure.

Some of the sites include:

Carlton – Lakeside Bluff Road, Johnson Creek shoreline, Jones Beach shoreline, Brighton Cliff shoreline, shoreline east of Point Breeze Road, shoreline of Oak Orchard on the Lake Road, Rock Ledge Road shoreline, Lakeshore Road, Cottage Road shoreline, Park Road, peninsula near Oak Orchard, public town road ends and culverts, pumping stations and waterlines, and low-lying spots Lake Ontario State Parkway.

Kendall – Ed Rose Shore, end of Norway Road, Lomond Shore, Peter Smith Road kayak launch, Rout 237 right-of-way to lake, Thompson Road (eroded turnout) and low-lying spots on Lake Ontario State Parkway.

Yates – Town Park and expansion, multiple properties on fire lanes, and Lyndonville water plant.

In addition, the list includes these businesses – Bald Eagle Creek Marina in Kendall, The Cottages in Kendall, Point Breeze businesses and boat launches, and Green Harbor Campground and Marina in Carlton.

This map shows some spots along the shoreline in Orleans County that local officials say are vulnerable to flooding and erosion.

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