Governor Andrew Cuomo today announced that Phase III of the $15 million REDI Regional Dredging Project has commenced along the southern shore of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. As part of Phase III, the State is working with local officials in Orleans and Niagara Counties and the Regional Dredging Management Planning Council, to develop long term plans to ensure navigation channels remain open.
The State will assist the counties in the development of a multi-county consortium, which will provide the legal structure for the counties to update, expand and implement an existing Regional Dredging Management Plan to keep the channels operational in the years to come.
“New Yorkers living and working along the shorelines of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River are still recovering from last year’s devastating floods, and this administration is doing everything we can to help them build back stronger than ever before,” Governor Cuomo said. “By bringing together local governments and providing them with the tools and information necessary to prepare a workable maintenance dredging plan, we are putting in the hard work to safeguard recreational access and ensure these waterways continue generating economic activity that is critical for shoreline communities.”
The objective of the REDI Regional Dredging Project is to provide a comprehensive approach to the ongoing dredging needs for harbor navigation channels that are used primarily for recreational boating and refuge in the region. Through Phase I and II, this project is tackling the necessary dredging of 20 harbor navigation channels. During Phase III the State will provide counties with the information they need to update, expand and implement an existing Regional Dredging Management Plan to keep the channels operational in the years to come. The project is part of the Governor’s $300 million Resiliency & Economic Development Initiative.
The REDI Regional Dredging Project is being managed by a multi-agency team made up of the Office of General Services, the Department of State, the Department of Environmental Conservation, and the New York Power Authority, with support from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The State’s initial support for the REDI Regional Dredging Project is designed to give Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River counties the time needed to develop long-term operational, maintenance, and funding plans to maintain recreational navigation channels in the future. The $15 million commitment is being provided by the Governor’s $300 million Resiliency & Economic Development Initiative.
The Governor also announced the Coastal Lakeshore Economy and Resiliency initiative today. CLEAR, spearheaded by the Department of State, supports local communities dealing with persistent high water levels along Lake Ontario, the lower Niagara River and the upper St. Lawrence River with the development of comprehensive resiliency strategies and planning to institute critical long-term protective measures and strengthen existing investments. CLEAR Plans will reflect the diverse perspectives, needs, interests, and watersheds within each region, and participation will reflect the socio-economic and geographic diversity of the regions including vulnerable and under-served populations. Planning firms along with State experts will supplement local capacity and engage communities in scenario planning to help the community conceptualize the potential impacts from future changes, and identify opportunities to enhance connections and access to the water while increasing resiliency to potential stressors.
The outcome will include regional strategies with local actions to transition to more resilient land use including zoning, green infrastructure, more sustainable water-dependent businesses, and the development of initiatives and projects that will help to make the lakeshore communities and businesses be more resilient. CLEAR coastal communities are located in the eight counties along Lake Ontario, the lower Niagara River and the upper St. Lawrence River: Niagara, Orleans, Monroe, Wayne, Cayuga, Oswego, Jefferson, and St. Lawrence. Information on the CLEAR Initiative is available here.
Office of General Services Commissioner RoAnn Destito said, “I am extremely proud of the work my team at OGS is doing managing the dredging project. OGS is developing the contracts New York State needs to accomplish Governor Cuomo’s vision for navigation channels that are safe for recreational boaters and a boon to the tourism economies of shoreline communities. The region will benefit greatly from the Governor’s efforts to get these dredging projects completed.”
Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, “I applaud the Governor’s efforts to build on the State’s historic REDI investment and spark needed transformation of communities into more dynamic and resilient places for everyone. The possibility of extreme water levels poses a long-term threat to the health of our coastal neighborhoods and towns all along Lake Ontario. While changes to local laws rarely make headlines, they are critical tools to transform communities and reduce future risk for the long-term. The CLEAR initiative will position communities for a brighter and more secure future.”
The REDI Regional Dredging Project is being carried out in three phases. Dredging locations for Phase I and II of the REDI Regional Dredging include:
- Oswego County: North Sandy Pond Inlet, Salmon River/Port Ontario
- Niagara County: Wilson, Olcott Harbor
- Orleans County: Oak Orchard Harbor, Johnson Creek
- Monroe County: Sandy Creek, Braddock Bay, Long Pond Outlet, Irondequoit Bay
- Wayne County: Port Bay, Blind Sodus Bay, Bear Creek Harbor, Pultneyville, East Bay
- Cayuga County: Little Sodus Bay
- Jefferson County: Clayton French Creek Marina, Henderson “The Cut”
- St. Lawrence County: Ogdensburg “City Front Channel,” Morristown Navigation Channel
Each dredging project is targeted to be completed no more than four months from its start date, with dredging expected to commence in:
- April 2020 at Blind Sodus Bay
- September 2020 at East Bay and North Sandy Pond Inlet
- October 2020 at Braddock Bay, Pultneyville and Little Sodus Bay
- April 2021 at Sandy Creek
- June 2021 at Olcott Harbor, Oak Orchard Harbor, and Wilson
- July 2021 at Irondequoit Bay, Long Pond Outlet, Bear Creek Harbor, Henderson “The Cut,” Johnson Creek, Salmon River/Port Ontario, Ogdensburg “City Front” Channel, Morristown Navigation Channel and Clayton French Creek Marine.
Initial details about the Regional Dredging Project in Cayuga, Jefferson, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans, Oswego, St. Lawrence, and Wayne counties, as well as the regional benefit to all of these counties, is available here.