SANDY POND, N.Y. (WWNY) - Governor Andrew Cuomo was at Sandy Island State Park near Pulaski Wednesday morning to announce another initiative to deal with what he calls the "new normal" of high water levels on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.
The governor announced the state would spend $15 million to dredge, or dig deeper, at select sites along the lake and river.
“What dredging does is it increases the access and capacity of creeks, inlets, et cetera and it uses the dredging material in this situation to increase a barrier to keep the high water from affecting the shoreline,” said Cuomo
A $600,000 dredging project he announced Wednesday at Sandy Pond, for example, will “provide a substantial amount of sediment” to strengthen the barrier bar between Sandy Pond and Lake Ontario.
Cuomo says high water problems won't go away any time soon, so the state is taking steps to protect vulnerable shorelines.
"This is what they call a new normal, it's happened for several years, we don't think it's going to stop, so let's adjust to the new reality."
The money will come from the state's Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative, also known as REDI.
Cuomo announced 20 dredging sites along the lake and river shorelines, including four in St. Lawrence and Jefferson counties.
Those are the French Creek Marina in Clayton, "The Cut" in Henderson, the "City Front Channel" in Ogdensburg, and the navigational channel in Morristown.
Work is expected to begin at those sites in July 2021. The Sandy Creek dredging is scheduled for April 2021.
“The approach Governor Cuomo has taken to address the region’s dredging needs will ensure recreational boaters have safe and secure places to bring their boats. The dredging projects are especially important to communities and businesses that rely on tourism,” said Jefferson County Board of Legislators Chair Scott Gray.
“This is I think an example of state government at its best. When we needed the help of the governor and the state, they were there for us," said Senator Patty Ritchie (R. - 48th District).
The first round of dredging was just completed at Port Bay in Wayne County. The second round will begin in April at Blind Sodus Bay, also in Wayne County.