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New York State investing $14 million in Lake Ontario shoreline protection in WNY

NYS to invest in Olcott Harbor upgrades
Olcott Beach
Posted at 8:56 AM, Jul 08, 2021

TOWN OF NEWFANE, N.Y. (WKBW) — The state of New York is investing $14 million dollars in shoreline protection upgrades on the Olcott Harbor.

The funding, announced Wednesday, comes from the state's Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative to help the Town of Newfane rebuild and improve the shoreline structures that suffered heavy damage due to flooding in 2019. At the time, the International Joint Commission said the water levels on the lake were among the highest it had ever seen.

This project not only aims to revamp the current structures along the shoreline, but also to mitigate the negative impacts of extreme weather conditions on the harbor entrance, thereby protecting boaters, local businesses, and public/private properties that play a critical role in the local recreation/sport-fishing based economy.

"After historic flooding devastated homes, businesses and infrastructure along Lake Ontario in 2019, New York has been leading the way to provide much-needed help to these communities," said Governor Andrew Cuomo during Wednesday's announcement. "Through REDI, we are not just rebuilding the shoreline's infrastructure, we are building back stronger and smarter for a more resilient future, and that's exactly what we're doing with this project in the Town of Newfane."

What will the money be spent on?

The state will use the money allocated for the resiliency project to install a 350-foot-long, oval, rubble-mound breakwater offshore, and enlarge the east and west piers.

By opening up the pier width, the state hopes to reduce wave action and sedimentation at the mouth and within Olcott Harbor navigation channel, which they say will ultimately prevent further flooding and shoreline damage, along with making navigating the channel much easier for longer periods of the year.

The harbor area includes the Town of Newfane Marina, Olcott Yacht Club, Hedley Boat Company, McDonough Marine, and several private homes.

Since its inception in 2019, the state's REDI program has funded 133 local and regional projects; 96 projects are in the design phase, 18 are currently under construction and 19 have been completed.