Great Lakes
Erosion, wind waves impact Lake Ontario shoreline. Photo New York Sea Grant

New York: Oswego awaits federal money to make flooding repairs

OSWEGO — Oswego is hoping the federal government comes through with money to fix its beloved shoreline damaged during flooding in the summer of 2017.

Mayor William Barlow Jr. said final figures are still being calculated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but “at this time we expect approximately $5 million in restoration funding to be made available to the city of Oswego.”

Barlow said money estimates came from the damage assessment report conducted by Delta Engineers in 2017, documenting the damage done during the time. Barlow said the report was done as a proactive measure knowing FEMA would ask for such documentation.

“We’ve also followed any follow-up, progressive damage done since then,” Barlow said. “We expect an initial $2 million disbursement, possibly in July, with the possibility of another similar sized disbursement towards the end of summer or fall.”

Areas all along Lake Ontario’s southern shoreline suffered damage during the high water and flooding episodes in 2017 — damage was estimated at about $100 million.

From just over the border of Oswego County and Wayne County in Sodus Bay all the way to the border of Oswego County and Jefferson County at Sandy Pond, soil was washed away, buildings and piers were damaged and some camps lost lawns, roads and docks.

Barlow said Oswego’s great loss was Wrights Landing Marina and the International Pier.

“These areas saw major structural damage, undermining the integrity of the pier and the public infrastructure in our marina,” he said. “We had our report divided into four different damage areas, comprised of the area and shoreline around the bottom of Breitbeck Park, the marina and international pier, the West Riverwalk near Bridie Manor, and the shoreline out east in the shore road area.”

Barlow said these projects will be designed to restore the area to how it was before the high waters did their damage. Money also will be used to redesign and rebuild these areas to be less susceptible to such damage by high water.

“With Plan 2014 so far unchanged, and no real changes or plans for change forthcoming in the near future that I’m aware of, we need to restore these areas with the understanding the high water is going to continue and build accordingly,” he said. “The Breitbeck Park shoreline restoration is the project designated to be conducted with the first disbursement (of money).”

Plan 2014 was instituted by the International Joint Commission and International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board to help manage water levels in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. Many people and officials believe the levels established by Plan 2014 were too high and resulted in the massive flooding in 2017.

But a report released last summer by the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board states Plan 2014 had nothing to do with the flooding.

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See also New Great Lakes Shoreline Erosion Guide Available