Mannion, Stirpe introduce legislation to combat CNY flooding
State Sen. John Mannion (D-Geddes) and Assemblyman Al Stripe (D-Syracuse) are introducing new legislation to combat flooding in central New York.
Using recommendations from a report recently released by the Upstate Flood Mitigation Task Force, Mannion and Stirpe are looking to improve flood response in central New York. Stirpe said an updated flood plan is needed to handle current weather conditions.
“The bottom line is the weather has changed, the rain events have changed and we need infrastructure that can handle these types of events,” Stirpe said.
He said the changing climate can be seen first-hand by residents along the Mohawk River.
“For local neighborhoods across our region, flash flooding from the Mohawk River and extreme weather events are not an abstract problem, it’s an undeniable reality that impacts our daily life,” Stripe said. “Climate change is altering our environment and damaging our communities’ infrastructure.”
Calling for complete mapping of the Oswego River Watershed, and introducing legislation to create a centralized Oswego River Basin Authority, Mannion and Stirpe said the introduced legislation is not only a step toward better flood mitigation, but also toward better environmental conservation, agriculture, and recreation along central New York water systems.
The mapping would use the Hydrologic Engineering Center River Analysis System, a method used by the Army Corps of Engineers, which would allow experts to predict flow patterns and determine the best course of action during periods of heavy rain. Mannion said the mapping needs to be completed across central New York because of the impact each water system can have on another.
“We really need both of those basins, the Mohawk River and Oswego River basins, completely mapped,” Mannion said. “There is an extensive amount of water in both of those systems.”
The Oswego River Basin covers 5,122 square miles and receives flows from seven of the 11 Finger Lakes. Flooding most often occurs in the flat, northernmost portion of the basin and findings from the task force show that there are $13,644,000 in structural losses and $16 million in recreational damages annually due to flooding.
Stirpe said some recommendations from the task force have already begun, and the results are promising for current residents and anyone interested in coming to central New York.
“Having started to implement recommendations, and starting to see results of what we’ve put in the report, I think is going to make people feel a lot more comfortable about being here in central New York,” Stirpe said.
Mannion said he is looking for mapping of the Oswego River Watershed to begin in the next year.