Flood Recovery Efforts Continue In Otsego County

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Floodwaters damaged roads and bridges on Morris’ Main Street last Saturday. (Phoebe Taylor-Vuolo/WSKG)

 

ITHACA, NY (WSKG) – Heavy rain caused flooding across the region this month and Otsego County was no exception.

Floodwaters have receded in parts of the county that saw damage last weekend. But on Wednesday morning in the Town of Morris, water in many of the creeks and culverts was still raging.

“We’re still splitting up and conquering, trying to record all the damage that has been done,” said Jordan Clements, head of Otsego County’s Soil and Water Conservation District.

“We can’t pick up the town and relocate the town,” Clements said. “So we’ve got to find ways to mend the issues and try to keep the stream banks where they are.”

This is not the first time Morris has flooded.

Floodwaters last Saturday inundated the firehouse in Morris, NY. (Photo courtesy Bob Thomas)

In Morris, the village was built before there was municipal water,” said Village Historian, Bob Thomas. “So everybody wanted to build where there was water. And they continued to stay in those places, even though they get flooded frequently.”

Thomas said floods seem to be more common these days and the aging infrastructure has not always been able to keep up.

“The streams want to spread out onto the floodplain,” Thomas said. “But the floodplain is filled with houses.”

After severe flooding in 2006, Otsego County officials recommended a new plan to maintain and repair several culverts and stream beds through the area.

But those changes did not seem to make much of a difference. Many of the same areas that flooded in 2006 also saw damage last weekend.

State Sen. Peter Oberacker’s (NY-51) district includes Otsego County. He and other local lawmakers want Gov. Andrew Cuomo to request a federal disaster declaration.

“Look, there’s no doubt that there’s an issue there,” Oberacker said. “We’re starting to see it more and more. The weather patterns, I think are changing.”

Oberacker also said that he wants to shore up existing infrastructure to help mitigate future floods.