Resilient NY Flood Mitigation Studies Will Identify Priority Projects in 48 Flood-Prone Streams
Studies Support New York's Efforts to Improve Community Resiliency to Extreme Weather Events, Flooding and Ice Jams
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the state is dedicating $3 million for state-of-the-art studies to reduce flooding and ice jams and improve ecology on 48 priority flood-prone streams throughout New York State. The studies will employ advanced modeling techniques and field assessments to identify priority projects and actions to reduce community flood and ice jam risks, while improving habitat.
"New York is using the best available science to guide our efforts to adapt to extreme weather events driven by our changing climate," Governor Cuomo said. "New York's flood resilience is an urgent priority and these expedited studies will give communities a blueprint to abate the worst effects of future flooding and ice jams."
"We're investing to help reduce flooding in flood-prone communities when extreme weather strikes," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "This funding for flood mitigation studies will use advanced technologies in an effort to decrease flooding and ice jams that result from severe storms. Areas worldwide have been impacted by natural disasters, and we're continuing to work to enhance our preparedness and response to these events as a result of climate change."
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Office of General Services will implement the studies as part of Governor Cuomo's Resilient NY program. High-priority watersheds were selected based on several factors, such as frequency and severity of flooding and ice jams, extent of previous flood damage, and susceptibility to future flooding and ice jam formations.
The Resilient NY flood studies will identify the causes of flooding within each watershed and develop, evaluate, and recommend effective and ecologically sustainable flood and ice-jam hazard mitigation projects. Proposed flood mitigation projects will be identified and evaluated using hydrologic and hydraulic modeling to quantitatively determine flood mitigation recommendations that will result in the greatest flood reductions benefits. In addition, the flood mitigation studies will incorporate the latest climate change forecasts and assess ice jam hazards where jams have been identified as a threat to public health and safety.
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "Climate change denial is not a strategy for mitigating the events of extreme weather events and flooding. The increasing impacts of a disrupted and disrupting climate have arrived and are predicted to get much worse. Directed by Governor Cuomo, New York is working aggressively to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and stem the worse impacts of climate change. We are also working to reduce the impacts of flooding forecast to significantly worsen in the years ahead and protect our communities from harm."
OGS Commissioner RoAnn Destito said, "I have stood with Governor Cuomo on too many occasions to address flooding in New York State communities after extreme weather events, and it is clear that climate change will continue to drive water-related emergencies. I am pleased that OGS is able to help support DEC efforts to develop flood mitigation plans so that we can put them into action."
DEC and OGS have retained two nationally recognized environmental consulting firms to prepare the Resilient NY studies. The consultants will work with DEC experts and municipalities to collect relevant information about flooding and ice jams in each priority watershed and use this information to develop specific flood mitigation projects and actions.
The $3 million flood mitigation studies to support the Resilient NY initiative are being supported primarily through the State's Environmental Protection Fund. The stream studies launched today build on the Governor's NY Rising Community Reconstruction Initiative and the 13 prior flood resilient studies completed in the aftermath of Central New York flooding in July 2013. The studies will include an evaluation of the entire main-stem of the flood-prone Mohawk River. Additional high-priority, flood prone watersheds in the Resilient NY program include:
Connoisarauley Creek/Cattaraugus Creek
Cattaraugus Creek/Clear Creek
Great Chazy River
Little Chazy River
Entire Main Stem of Mohawk River
East Branch of Delaware River, below reservoir
West Branch of Delaware River, below reservoir
Hudson River within the Town of Thurman (ice jam)
Roeliff Jansen Kill
Main Street Brook
Salmon River within the Town of Fort Covington (ice jam)
Cherry Valley Creek
Senator Tom O'Mara, Chair of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, said, "New York State must continue this critical work on projects to strengthen and improve the quality of our watersheds, and flood control is a high priority."
Assemblyman Steve Englebright, Chair of the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee, said, "With ever-increasing threats of extreme weather from climate change, these investments in resiliency efforts are important to ensure that our watershed communities across the State are prepared for flooding and ice jams. These types of investments are always less costly and less cumbersome to communities than response efforts after a flood occurs. I am pleased that New York is thinking proactively about the most effective ways to mitigate these threats."