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Old Fort Niagara under siege by high lake levels - again.

Water is over the primary seawall and is hitting the historic seawall
Posted at 6:18 PM, May 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-27 18:24:51-04

YOUNGSTOWN, N.Y. (WKBW) — Two years ago in 2017, record high water levels on Lake Ontario washed away banks, took down trees and damaged the 19th century seawall foundation at Old Fort Niagara.

Repairs were made - but the historic treasure is facing the same problem again.

"It is always a concern and we are keeping constant vigil," said Robert Emerson, executive director for Old Fort Niagara.

Water levels on Lake Ontario are now forecast to exceed the 2017 record-high levels within the next few days.

That is once again causing water to hit the fort's historic seawall directly as it has already flowed over the top of a modern seawall that was constructed to help protect the fort.

Emerson said boat inspections of the old seawall have not revealed any problems - yet.

If the historic seawall collapses, it could badly damage the 300-year-old French Castle.

"Which would be a devastating blow to local history and a devastating blow to local culture in general," said Derek Schultz, an historic military interpreter who has worked at Fort Niagara for ten years.

News of the fort's problems has some people thinking the fort is closed.

"We are taking calls and telling people that we are open," added Emerson.

Fort Niagara played a key role in settling this part of North America and held an important role in the American Revolution and War of 1812.

7 Eyewitness News Reporter Ed Reilly takes a closer look at the fort's water problems and how much it is treasured locally.