Schumer pushes for study to prevent future flooding along Lake Ontario

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Senator Chuck Schumer arrived in the Rochester area on Monday, June 10, 2019 to tour the Lake Ontario shoreline and get a first-hand look at the damage caused by rising waters. (WHAM photo)

Greece, N.Y. (WHAM) – U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer arrived in the Rochester area Monday afternoon to tour the Lake Ontario shoreline and get a first-hand look at the damage caused by rising waters.

Schumer is pushing for the funding of The Great Lakes Coastal Resiliency Study, which aims to create new protections for land and properties along the shoreline.

He is calling on the Army Corps of Engineers to study the full lakefront in hopes of preventing the lake from flooding in years to come. It would cost an estimated $12 million. Schumer says the funding would be set aside in the upcoming budget process.

Schumer touted the Army Corps' work on Braddock Bay, and how it has helped protect that area from serious issues.

"We need what happened at Braddock Bay to happen everywhere, and we need the Army Corps of Engineers to use their expertise to show us exactly what to do to help pay for it," he said.

Schumer estimates the study will last nine months to a year, and will go into action once necessary funding is secured from the state and the federal government.

"The next time there’s a lot of bad weather, the next time the IJC decides not to release enough water out of the St. Lawrence River, we will be protected, plain and simple," Schumer said.

Schumer was joined at Monday's news conference by Greece Town Supervisor Bill Reilich.

"The homeowners can't have their homes flooded every year," he said. "And, on top of that, there's effects beyond the water that come rushing in, with mosquito infestations, not only outside but inside the home."

Schumer’s visit comes the same day as Governor Cuomo visited our area for an update on the flooding. Over the weekend, he called on the International Joint Commission to maximize lake water outflows.

During his visit Monday, Cuomo laid out his initiative to help the lakeshore, announcing the state would commit up to $300 million to help the region.

“I don’t want to just be on the defense,” Cuomo said Monday. “I don’t want to wait for the emergency to happen and then we respond to the emergency. Let’s figure out a proactive strategy to get ahead of it and actually improve upon it.”

“I would rather invest more, and build it back better, more resilient, more economic development potential,” he added.

Schumer praised the state for putting up funding, but said the federal government's help will still be needed. He vowed to make sure FEMA is prepared to send necessary resources to the region.

The IJC says it will continue to increase outflows above the limits set by Plan 2014.

Monroe County and other towns along the lake remain under a state of emergency.