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Gov. Cuomo calls for state-federal alliance to protect communities from lakeshore flooding

According to a press release from Governor Cuomo's office, Cuomo issued the letter to Colonel Adam Czekanski on Saturday, calling for a strong federal-state partnership to ensure the protection of flood-prone communities along the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River shoreline long-term. (WHAM photo)

(WHAM) - Governor Andrew Cuomo has called on the federal government to assist New York in protecting communities along the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River shoreline from flooding.

According to a press release from Governor Cuomo's office, Cuomo issued the letter to Colonel Adam Czekanski on Saturday, calling for a strong federal-state partnership to ensure the protection of flood-prone communities along the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River shoreline long-term.

For some along the lakeshore, the possibility of more help to try and prevent more flooding is welcome, even if it won't likely help this year.

"They're thinking it's all over, life is good, it's not over by any means," said Fran Beth. Beth owns a home on Irondequoit Bay in Webster as well as Marge's Lakeside Inn, a tavern less than a mile from her home.

Last spring, Beth says flooding caused tens of thousands in damages to her home, and she says it led to her business losing big in summertime revenue.

"Somebody's got to come up with an answer," said Beth, who says she's still waiting for thousands of dollars in reimbursement from the state for the flood damage her home suffered.

Because of that, she says she's still waiting on people repairing damage caused by flooding last spring.

"I don't want water up to my doorway again," added Beth. "I've been here 52 years, I've seen flooding before, but it's really hard when you have water all the way around your house and you go to bed at night and try to sleep."

The letter from Governor Cuomo reads:

Dear Colonel Czekanski:

Following the historic flooding along the Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River shoreline, New York continues its efforts to protect the families, homes, businesses and communities across the region. This crisis will not simply recede with the water - we need a strong federal-state partnership to ensure the protection of our communities over the long term.

With on-going monitoring of water levels indicating there is a serious threat for renewed coastal flooding in 2018, this issue demands focused attention and support from the federal government. To combat these new threats, I am requesting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) implement emergency protections for the Lake Ontario/St. Lawrence River through the USACE Advanced Measures program.

New Yorkers cannot be left to suffer another year of damaging floods with no additional protection. Pursuant to P.L. 84-99, 42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq and ER 500-1-1, the state has provided an initial candidate list of 90 sites from Cayuga, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans, Wayne, Oswego, Jefferson, St. Lawrence, Erie and Chautauqua counties. They represent the preliminary at-risk public and privately-owned areas for evaluation and discussion with USACE.

New York has led the way in providing more than $67 million to protect impacted New Yorkers and we are taking every step to provide relief and help this beleaguered region recover. But our resources are not inexhaustible. Federal support, through USACE programs, is critical to the protection of the shoreline. We will also work with the New York Congressional Delegation to authorize a USACE comprehensive assessment of Lake Ontario/St. Lawrence River shoreline, and how to best protect it against future storms.

In addition, I've directed the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos and Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Roger Parrino to develop a series of aggressive strategies that would allow the International Joint Commission to more effectively manage high water levels to protect these shoreline communities.

We appreciate the willingness and ability the USACE demonstrated following Superstorm Sandy. I urge you and the new leadership at USACE show that same willingness to assist New Yorkers along the Southern shores of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie.

Sincerely,

ANDREW M. CUOMO

Gov. Cuomo isn't alone in his efforts to get more federal help for the flood-ravaged areas of Lake Ontario.

Rep. Chris Collins and Rep. Louis Slaughter called upon the federal government earlier this week to provide funding for a study which could allow the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to better maintain Lake Ontario coastlines.

A State of Emergency was declared along the Lake Ontario shoreline in May 2017 due to flooding. $10 million in state funding was made available to help communities impacted by the flooding later that same month.

New data has indicated that Lake Ontario is reaching higher levels, as compared to this time last year.

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