Bill Would Help Lake Ontario Homeowners ‘Harden’ Shorelines

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SYRACUSE, NY (WRVO) – After Lake Ontario reached new heights in 2017, the state and many homeowners invested substantial amounts of money rebuilding the break walls and other barriers along their shorelines – only to see much of it washed away again in 2019. North Country state Assemblyman Mark Walczyk says it’s time for a new strategy.

“We need to streamline the process and solve it today so we don’t continue to lose our shoreline,” Walczyk said.

High water levels in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River have eroded the shoreline despite protective measures like breakwalls. PAYNE HORNING / WRVO FILE PHOTO

Walczyk has proposed a bill that would cover up to half of the cost homeowners make to harden their shorelines if they work with the state Department of Environmental Conservation on the plan.

“When the state taxpayer is making an investment, they want to make sure it’s a good one,” Walczyk said.

Walczyk says this would not only help make New York’s shorelines more resilient, but it would also get more state money to property owners. The governor’s Resiliency & Economic Development Initiative Commission (REDI) has already allocated $20 million to help homeowners, but Walczyk says many have been unable to qualify for those funds.