New Tool Could Help Lake Ontario Communities Prepare For Flooding

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SYRACUSE, NY (WRVO) – With unprecedented flooding along the shoreline of Lake Ontario in two of the last three years, many communities have been reeling on how to respond and how to prepare for the next round. Enter the Great Lakes Coastal Resilience Index. It’s a free self-assessment guide for communities to understand how prepared they are for coastal flooding and other weather events such as ice storms.

2017 Flooding along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River PAYNE HORNING / WRVO NEWS FILE PHOTO

Mary Austerman, who developed the guide for New York Sea Grant, said the index’s strength is in how it can help communities assess and address all aspects of emergency readiness.

“This document gives the communities an inexpensive and relatively easy way to systematically go through and look at the various sectors within the community and identify where those vulnerabilities might be to extreme events and look at them in one single document,” Austerman said.

The index was designed after a similar tool created to help communities in the Gulf Coast region of the United States following Hurricane Katrina.

Austerman said communities can receive assistance on filling out the index and or developing their coastal flooding response plans from the New York Sea Grant office.