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20 completed dredging projects across 8 counties said to increase resiliency, sustain recreation
√ Part of state's $300 million Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative
√ Transition of program management to counties completes final phase of program
Gov. Kathy Hochul on Tuesday announced the completion of New York state's $15 million regional dredging project – part of the state's $300 million Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative to repair and build resiliency in communities recovering from damage caused by high water levels and flooding along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.
The objective of the REDI regional dredging project, established in 2019, is to provide a comprehensive approach to ongoing dredging needs for harbor navigation channels used primarily for recreational boating and refuge to allow for continued safe harbor and passage of watercrafts.
"New York state is building resiliency in communities along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River with strategic flood prevention projects identified through the state's REDI program," Hochul said. "I am proud to announce the completion of the regional dredging project, a comprehensive measure, which included the dredging of 20 vital navigation channels within the region, proving essential to protecting critical aquatic and coastal habitats of the region, while also boosting tourism by ensuring safe recreational access for boaters."
Through the initial two phases, the project tackled maintenance dredging of 20 harbor navigation channels. Over 75% of the dredged sediment was beneficially reused in a variety of ways, including beach renourishment, littoral placement and general fill. During phase III, the state transitioned program management to the counties and provided the information they need to update, expand and implement an existing regional dredging management plan to keep the channels operational in the years to come.
Dredging undertaken as part of the REDI regional dredging program included:
√ Salmon River/Port Ontario, Sandy Pond Outlet (Oswego County)
√ Olcott Harbor, Golden Hill State Park (Niagara County)
√ Oak Orchard Harbor, Johnson Creek (Orleans County)
√ Sandy Creek, Braddock Bay, Long Pond Outlet, Irondequoit Bay (Monroe County)
√ Bear Creek Harbor, Pultneyville, East Bay, Port Bay, Blind Sodus (Wayne County)
√ Clayton French Creek Marina, Henderson "The Cut" (Jefferson County)
√ Ogdensburg "City Front Channel," Morristown Navigation Channel (St. Lawrence County)
√ Little Sodus Bay (Cayuga County)
The harbors included in the regional dredging project along the southern shore of Lake Ontario are estimated to generate $94 million in economic activity, with $3.8 million in state tax revenues, and an additional $3.8 million for local communities annually. These harbors support more than 1,350 local jobs.
The REDI regional dredging project was managed by a multiagency team made up of the Office of General Services, Department of State, Department of Environmental Conservation, and New York Power Authority, with support from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The state's initial support for the REDI regional dredging project was designed to give the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River communities the time needed to develop long-term operational, maintenance and funding plans to maintain recreational navigation channels in the future.
New York State DEC Commissioner and REDI Co-Chair Basil Seggos said, "The REDI Regional Dredging Program has been an essential component of New York state's ongoing efforts to strengthen protections along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River shoreline communities. By undertaking these dredging and resiliency efforts, New York state will continue to work with our local partners to keep the community safe while also protecting the wildlife in the coastal habitats and promoting the tourist industry that is critical to the region."
Empire State Development REDI Co-Chair and Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, "Dredging is the foundation of almost all waterfront infrastructure projects, and addresses a broad range of economic, social and environmental needs. By completing these types of dredging and resiliency projects, we are creating safer conditions for all users, and at the same time we are helping to safeguard the local business community that is dependent on a vibrant tourist industry."
Orleans County Legislative Chairman Lynne Johnson said, "Now that phase I and II of the REDI regional dredging project are complete, we look forward to the handoff phase in which the shoreline counties will receive information from the state to implement, update and expand a regional dredging management plan. This is an exciting time where we can celebrate the hard work of our governor, members of the REDI Commission, local governments and consultants that laid the groundwork necessary to provide safe and navigable channels that are vital to supporting our local businesses, fishing industry, and recreational boaters. We will continue this effort moving forward to ensure this initiative will benefit our communities for years to come."
Niagara County Legislator David Godfrey said, "The collaboration between the state and communities along Lake Ontario to develop and implement a dredging management plan has been very important for both Wilson and Olcott harbors. A lot of work has been done to improve the navigability of these channels, and now we must maintain that progress going forward."
Details about the regional dredging project in Cayuga, Jefferson, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans, Oswego, St. Lawrence and Wayne counties, as well as the regional benefit to all of these counties, is available here.