SCHUMER ANNOUNCES EIGHT DAMS IN THE SOUTHERN TIER TO RECEIVE MORE THAN $2.9 MILLION IN FEDERAL FUNDS FOR REHABILITATION & SAFETY ASSESSMENTS – FUNDING WILL HELP KEEP LOCAL RESIDENTS SAFE
Five Broome County Dams & Dams in Allegany, Chemung & Tioga Counties Will Receive USDA Funds – Funds Will Be Used To Assess Safety of Dams & Improve Dam Structures
Schumer Secured Dam Rehabilitation Funding as Part of 2014 Farm Bill – Funding Can Help Hundreds of Upstate Dams That Are In Desperate Need of Repair
Schumer: Dam Rehabilitation Will Help Keep Residents Safe & Prevent Property Damage
Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that, after his push, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will allocate the state of New York $2.9 million in funding for dam rehabilitation and $3.2 million for safety assessments of dams across the state. Specifically, a total of five dams across Broome County and dams in Allegany, Chemung and Tioga Counties, all in the Southern Tier region, will receive $2,910,000 for both dam rehabilitation and safety assessments. Specifically, $2,550,000 will be allocated for dam rehabilitation and $360,000 for safety assessments.
Broome County will receive federal funds for rehabilitation work at five dam sites in Little Choconut, Finch Hollow, Nanicoke Creek, Patterson Brixus, and Brandywine Creek. Allegany County will receive funding for safety assessments at one dam site at Palmers Pond. Chemung County will receive funding for safety assessments at one dam site at Newtown Hoffman Creek. Tioga County will receive funding for safety assessments at one dam site at Pelto. Schumer explained that this NRCS funding, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill that he voted to pass, will provide New York dam sponsors with $2.9 million for the rehabilitation of 11 dams and $3.28 million for safety assessments on 19 dams around the state.
"Improving our dams will protect people and property from floods, preserve water quality and support agricultural productivity," said Schumer. “Dams are a vital part of our infrastructure and provide enormous benefits to residents of the Southern Tier, including drinking water, flood protection, renewable hydroelectric power, navigation, irrigation, and recreation. But they are aging and we must invest in their upkeep to preserve the benefits they produce.”
Schumer explained that the 2014 Farm Bill, which he voted to pass, made $262 million in USDA NRCS funding available for rehabilitation of 151 dams in 26 states. These watershed management projects provide an estimated $2.2 billion in annual benefits in reduced flooding and erosion damages, recreation, water supplies and wildlife habitat for roughly 47 million people. Projects were identified based on recent rehabilitation investments and the risks to life and property if a dam failure occurred.
According to the National Inventory of Dams (NID), New York State has approximately 5,700 dams. Of these, there are about 403 dams that are considered “high hazard,” meaning they would cause significant loss of life and/or significant damage to surrounding properties if they ever were to fail. Approximately 748 New York dams are considered to be of “significant hazard,” where failure or mis-operation would result in no probable loss of human life but would cause economic loss, environmental damage, and disruption of lifeline facilities.
In addition, Schumer noted, the average dam in New York State is 60 years old, and high hazard dams are an average 84 years old. Schumer explained that, because of their age and the potential for disaster, it is crucial that high hazard dams receive the proper monitoring and maintenance from regulatory authorities, and the 2014 Farm Bill recognizes that the federal government plays a vital role in supporting the maintenance and inspection of dams by state and local governments across the U.S.