DEC Commissioner Seggos announces the start of construction on a $1.3 million flood resistance project in the town of Newfane, Niagara County


For release: Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Installing an artificial berm will protect businesses and residents from future flooding

During Climate Week, the project is part of the state’s $300 million Resilience and Economic Development Initiative

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced the start of construction on a flood resistance project in the town of Newfane, NS. Niagara County. The city received nearly $1.3 million from the State Resilience and Economic Development Initiative (REDI) (leaves DEC website) to complete this essential project that will provide shoreline stabilization and flood protection to infrastructure and homes along the shoreline.

DEC Commissioner and Co-Chair of the REDI Commission, Seggos, said: “New York State is committed to improving resilience to extreme weather events due to climate change. Through the REDI program, and with the determined leadership of Governor Hochul, we are helping Lake Ontario communities revitalize their shorelines and build resilience against future flooding. This new berm at Olcott Beach will help keep residents and visitors safe while enjoying the waterfront.”

Olcott Beach and low lying infrastructure, businesses and residences along Lake Ontario are prone to flooding due to high water levels and wind driven waves. Previous attempts to reinforce the berm on Olcott Beach have failed. In the historic flood of 2019, many properties were badly damaged when they were inundated by stormwater that was unable to flow to the lake.

To address these issues, resiliency measures will be implemented which will include the construction of an engineered berm system with a hardened core to stabilize the shoreline and protect properties adjacent to the shoreline from wave action. Native plantings added to the top of the berm will reinforce the berm as they grow, providing aesthetic appeal and increasing wildlife habitat at the project site. In addition, a new stormwater pumping system will be installed to minimize future flooding.

ESD REDI Co-Chair and Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said: “When we prepare and protect riverside communities against flooding, we help ensure their future prosperity. The Olcott Beach project will bring resilience and relief to residents who have repeatedly suffered devastating flood damage, while creating a more welcoming public space for visitors. We look forward to seeing the positive economic impact of this new shoreline strengthening on Niagara County. »

State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said: “State Parks is proud of the REDI program and what it has accomplished in a short time. With so much to do and enjoy along the shores of Lake Ontario, this project ensures that homes and businesses are protected throughout attracting more visitors to the Olcott/Newfane area of ​​Niagara County.

Senator Robert Ortt said: “Recent history has shown us how any rise in Lake Ontario water levels can be devastating to the residents of our shoreline communities and the ecosystems of those communities. By implementing shore-strengthening and community-driven infrastructure, the REDI Commission is taking proactive steps to limit the destruction caused by flooding in future emergencies. This resilience effort at Olcott Beach is a welcome project that will help better protect our community from future disasters.

MP Michael Norris said: “This is another important part of the whole Lake Ontario Shoreline Resilience project. This initiative will improve shoreline and infrastructure protection, create economic development opportunities for our shoreline communities, and stabilize the threat of water levels to residents and businesses. I am proud to have worked with my local and state government partners to support this initiative.”

Niagara County Legislative Speaker Rebecca Wydysh said: “Across our Lake Ontario communities, we have completed REDI projects that have helped us rebuild after flood damage while, in many cases, improving the shoreline experience. The Olcott Beach berm project is a great example of this, as it will not only stabilize the shoreline and protect the property, but also add to the natural beauty of the beach by creating wildlife habitat through plantings atop the beach. the berm. »

Newfane Town Supervisor John Syracuse said: “Thanks to our partnership with the state and the continued support of Governor Hochul, the City of Newfane is thrilled to launch our second REDI project. These transformative resilience projects are already having a positive impact on our community, driving private investment, increasing tourism and promoting economic development, while helping to protect our residents against the threat of future flooding. »

In response to the prolonged pattern of flooding along the shores of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, New York State created REDI to increase the resilience of riverside communities and support economic development in the region. Five Regional REDI Planning Committees, made up of representatives from eight counties (Niagara and Orleans, Monroe, Wayne, Cayuga and Oswego, and Jefferson and St. Lawrence) were created to identify local priorities, infrastructure at risk and other assets, and public safety concerns. Through REDI, the state has committed up to $300 million to benefit communities and improve the resilience of flood-prone regions along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.

Since the inception of the state’s REDI program in the spring of 2019, 134 local and regional REDI-funded projects are underway, including 52 projects in the design phase, 40 projects in the construction phase, and 42 completed projects.

For more information, project profiles and REDI news, visit the REDI website (leaves DEC website).


Construction of beach berm NO.4

small white houses surrounded by floods

NO.4 2019 Olcott Beach Floods

beach area with broken berm before construction

NO.4 Existing berm before construction

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