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Cuomo: Those along Lake Ontario shoreline should take 'long-term steps' to prevent flooding

Payne Horning
WRVO News (file photo)

As New York prepares for potential flooding along the Lake Ontario shoreline, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is encouraging communities to take some long-term steps to prevent flooding in the future. 

Cuomo wants to see some long-term investment into flood prevention that he believes is caused in large part by climate change.

"These changes in climate are going to continue, and I can’t tell you how many times this is a 100 year flood event.  It seems like we have a 100 year flood event twice a year," Cuomo said earlier this week while in Sodus Point.

Cuomo would like to see comprehensive plans from local governments, with the state available to coordinate and provide resources.

"It is a very large undertaking, but that’s where we are, and not recognizing realities, doesn’t work," he said.

The other issue with the lake levels comes from the International Joint Commission, which regulates water levels on the lake. Plan 2014 was put in place three years ago, and Sodus Point Mayor Dave McDowell believes that’s the real issue.

"We have to sort out with what’s really going on with the climate, and how much is real and how much is made up. We’ve been under Plan 2014 for three years, and we’ve had trouble two of those three years," McDowell said. "Yes, some of it's the weather. But we are below normal precipitation right now, right here. So, this isn’t the weather, this is the plan."

McDowell isn’t optimistic efforts by the state to urge the IJC to reduce water levels will work. Gov. Cuomo is hoping more New York State representation on the group will make a difference.

Water levels on Lake Ontario continue to rise. The level is about a foot high than it was at the beginning of April, and the Army Corps of Engineers estimates the level could rise another foot by the end of May.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.