Jefferson County, New York completes six flood resiliency projects

Nov. 1, 2023
Six flood resiliency projects in Jefferson County have recently completed construction, protecting water treatment plants and other public infrastructure.

New York officials have announced that construction is complete for six flood resiliency projects in Jefferson County.

The completed projects within the Village of Alexandria Bay and Cape Vincent were awarded nearly $7 million combined in grant funding through the State's Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative (REDI). The completed REDI-funded projects will help mitigate the impact of future extreme weather events, improve resiliency of the shoreline, ensure recreational boaters have continued access to the village docks, and improve accessibility for visitors to popular destinations like Scenic View Park Pier and East End Park.

“Today’s announcement is evidence of Governor Hochul’s commitment to providing real solutions that position shoreline communities for growth, prosperity, and resiliency in the face of climate change and extreme weather,” said New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation President and CEO Maureen A. Coleman. “EFC is pleased to have participated with Alexandria Bay and state partners on the REDI program, especially to get the critical flood mitigation project at the village's drinking water treatment plant across the finish line.”

Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River shoreline communities experienced devastating flooding in 2019, when the waters of rose to historic levels. The extensive flooding resulted in significant damage to public infrastructure, including docks, boat launches, wharfs, and water treatment facilities. Dock closures are hard on communities which thrive on a tourism-based economy and rely on recreational boaters and anglers visiting the region.

The announcement includes:

  • Upper and Lower James Street Docks, village of Alexandria Bay, $2 million: The Upper and Lower James Street docks are a vital access point into the village of Alexandria Bay, not only for the residents of the approximately 20 islands within the village boundaries, but also for island and waterfront residents in areas outside of the village limits.
    The docks serve as a gateway for visitors and tourists from the St. Lawrence River as the main portal for those arriving by boat, allowing direct access to the James Street business district. During the flooding of 2019, the docks were underwater and inaccessible to boaters.
    To ensure that the docks remain open in future high-water events, the entire Lower James Street Dock and a section of the Upper James Street Dock were replaced with a new floating dock system. The remaining Upper James Street Dock were elevated above flood level.

  • Scenic View Park Pier, village of Alexandria Bay, $1.1 million: The village's Scenic View Park is a three-acre public park located on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, and includes a pavilion, a public beach, as well as a concrete wharf along the river.
    The wharf is 200 feet in length, is one of the largest docking locations within the community and is the sole public location in the village of Alexandria Bay that can accommodate larger boats and cruise ships. In 2019, the wharf was completely submerged, causing the structure to become severely deteriorated and damaged in several areas making portions of the wharf unusable.
    Through the REDI program, sections of the wharf were repaired or completely replaced mitigating future damage and allowing continued use when water levels are above average. The project also includes additional site upgrades including new concrete walkways, installation of an Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant lift for wheelchairs and strollers, and lighting along the wharf and walkway.

  • Village Water Treatment Plant, village of Alexandria Bay, $260,000: The Village of Alexandria Bay's Water Treatment Plant provides potable water to commercial properties, the River Hospital, and residents within the Village as well as six outside water districts in the Towns of Alexandria, Orleans, Clayton, and Theresa.
    Due to its proximity to the St. Lawrence River, during high water events the water treatment plant and wet well is within inches of being flooded. Flooding of the wet well and water treatment plant would compromise water quality and availability.
    Flood mitigation measures for this project included installing a new concrete slab in the water filtration plant so the finished floor elevation is above the historic high-water levels. A new two-foot precast riser section was added to the raw water wet well so it is now above record high water levels and protection from wave action. The treatment building’s exterior on the river side was replaced and weatherproofed, as well as elevation adjustments to the infrastructure and exterior doors.
    This project also included the installation of riprap from the treatment building toward the water to protect the water filtration plant from wave action, and exterior wall improvements.

  • East End Park, village of Cape Vincent, $3,237,600: Repeated flooding damaged East End Park leaving the sidewalk, lawn, and seawall washed out and distorted. The weakened wall was at increased risk for deterioration from future wave action and presents a hazard to the public.
    Resiliency measures implemented included replacement of the sidewalk, reinforcement and repair of the seawall, installation of a quarry stone apron, as well as construction of a floating break wall. Additionally, a large ship floating dock was installed.

  • Village-Owned Boat Ramp, village of Cape Vincent, $50,000: Washout at the end of the village-owned boat ramp and damage to the ramp’s wooden bumper, created a danger for boaters accessing the ramp for launching. The project included placing fill at the end of the ramp and replacing the wooden bumper with a concrete bumper.

  • Village-Owned Docks, village of Cape Vincent, $50,000: Flooding and increased wave action left the village’s fixed docks critically damaged and unusable.
    To restore public usage the existing fixed boat docks was removed and replaced with floating aluminum-framed, composite deck docks. In addition, the existing deteriorated cribbing was removed, and a new aluminum and concrete floating wave attenuator was installed in place of the old cribbing.

In response to the extended pattern of flooding along the shores of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, New York State established REDI to increase the resilience of shoreline communities and bolster economic development in the region. Five REDI Regional Planning Committees, comprised of representatives from eight counties (Niagara and Orleans, Monroe, Wayne, Cayuga and Oswego, and Jefferson and St. Lawrence) were established to identify local priorities, at-risk infrastructure and other assets, and public safety concerns.

Through REDI, the State has committed up to $300 million to benefit communities and improve resiliency in regions along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.

Since the creation of the State's REDI program in the Spring of 2019, 134 REDI funded local and regional projects are underway, including 28 projects in the design phase, 35 projects in the construction phase, and 71 projects completed.