WXXI AM News

Lake Ontario flooding

We’re joined by Governor Andrew Cuomo, who discusses updates with the REDI Commission. He was in Rochester on Wednesday to announce that the state has awarded $133 million to 63 projects along the Lake Ontario shoreline. That funding will be used to rebuild and revitalize areas that sustained severe damage due to high lake levels.

We discuss the impact the Governor hopes that funding will have, and how lake flooding has affected the state’s economy. Our guests:

*Note: To apply for the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Flood Relief and Recovery Grant Program, click here.

The amount of water that officials on the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board are releasing from Lake Ontario into the St. Lawrence River continues to be above the usual outflows for this time of year. That's due to the fact that lake levels are still over the so-called trigger levels in the government's water management, called Plan 2014. When those levels are exceeded, the Board can deviate from the Plan, allowing for more water to be pushed into the river.

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that the state will be suing the International Joint Commission for failing to properly manage water levels on Lake Ontario.

The governor addressed reporters and local public officials on the deck of Silk O’Loughlin’s in Irondequoit, overlooking the water.

"The facts of the matter are plain and simple," Cuomo said. "The IJC's function is to manage the lake level. That is their job, to manage the lake level. They have failed to manage the lake level. Period."

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced some changes this week to his plan to build back the southern shore of Lake Ontario.

The state's Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative -- or REDI -- Commission has been meeting with people from municipalities all along the shoreline.

The state is putting aside $300 million to fund resiliency projects in these communities, which have seen major flooding in recent years.

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

Governor Andrew  Cuomo has announced eligibility requirements for the 2019 Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Flood Relief and Recovery Program that will help homeowners directly impacted by this year's Lake Ontario flooding.

First announced in early August,  the program will allocate up to $20 million to expand the home repair program assist homeowners affected by the flooding.

Veronica Volk / Great Lakes Today/WXXI News

The federal government’s congressional watchdog agency is taking a look at a controversial plan that helps adjust water levels on Lake Ontario.

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

A second meeting for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative, or REDI commission, was held Wednesday in Greece.

When REDI was launched,  Cuomo said, "tell us what you need." Now, over 70 projects have been submitted in Monroe County to make the shoreline more resilient.

Alison Mayer, manager of Mayer's Marina in Webster, is one of the 70 submitting a plan. Mayer's Marina was one of the places hardest hit by the flooding.

We’re joined by Governor Andrew Cuomo for a conversation about efforts to remediate flooding on Lake Ontario. Last month, the governor announced $300 million in funding to improve infrastructure along the shoreline. The pledge is part of the Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative, or REDI, commission – a multi-agency effort that will implement legislative changes, aid packages, and executive actions to address the flooding.

Cuomo has been critical of the International Joint Commission (IJC) and its efforts to alleviate the flooding. The IJC has defended its plan to address the issue and says this year’s severe flooding was caused by excessive rain and inflows from the upper Great Lakes.

We hear from Cuomo, and then, we’re joined by Jane Corwin, U.S. commissioner and chair of the IJC. Our guests:

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

Since the flooding of 2017, the International Joint Commission has been criticized for mismanagement of Lake Ontario.

Now, in response to some of those criticisms, the IJC is adding two new seats to the board that regulates the outflows of Lake Ontario.

Kevin Bunch is a communications specialist with the IJC.

"The idea here is to make sure that people who live along the shorelines of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River -- make sure that they have a voice."

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

The governor’s new commission on shoreline resiliency met for the first time this week with local representatives from across the southern shore of Lake Ontario.

The meeting room at Greece Town Hall was full of representatives from different agencies, state officials, town supervisors and a few lakefront residents of Monroe County.

They all came to workshop solutions to the problems caused by high lake levels, as part of Governor Cuomo’s Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative.

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