Senator Charles Schumer visited Olcott on Monday. He took a tour of the Niagara County community, which has been damaged by high waters on Lake Ontario for the second spring in three years.
“Today, I’m calling for something that should permanently stop this flooding so we don’t come back here year after year after year,” Schumer said.
He’s publicly calling for FEMA to be prepared to disburse recovery funds as soon as New York State issues a disaster declaration. He’s also calling for $12 million to be set aside in the federal budget so that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can conduct the Great Lakes Coastal Resiliency Study.
The study calls for officials to look for spots along the Lake Ontario shoreline that are vulnerable to flooding and ways to strengthen them.
“We asked them to do this downstate after (Hurricane) Sandy, and they created a good resiliency study,” Schumer said. “Now we’re building breakwaters in parts of New York City and Long Island.”
Lake Ontario reached a record height last week. Its surface level topped out at 249.07 feet last Thursday. It has since dropped to 249.03 feet. Officials are letting more water out of Lake Ontario than they have all year.
Regardless, a Lakeshore Flood Warning will go into effect Monday night, as weather conditions are ripe to create wave action on the lakeshore in Niagara, Orleans, and Monroe Counties.
“It’s really disconcerting because so much work has been done,” said Sara Capen, who is on the Town of Newfane Tourism Advisory Board. “Once that water continues to come through and saturate, it just wears away.”
Schumer predicted once the resiliency study begins, it would take a year to complete.