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Flooding Along Lake Ontario Severely Exacerbated The Deteriorating Condition Of The East Breakwater In Sodus Bay And Sheet Pile Wall On Charles Point; If Wall Isn’t Repaired, Erosion Will Pose A Massive Threat To Land and Homes On Top Of Charles Point

Schumer: With The Omnibus Passed, Army Corps Of Engineers Finally Has The Resources It Needs To Prioritize The Repair Of The Sheet Pile Wall  & East Breakwater In Their Work Plan So That No More Property Is Lost

Schumer:  Including Sodus Bay In The Army Corps’ FY 2018 Work Plan Is The Key To Making This Project A Reality

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer today doubled down on his push to secure federal funding to fully repair Army Corps of Engineer-owned infrastructure in Sodus Bay, including the Sodus Bay Breakwater and the Charles Point steel wall that were damaged in last summer’s Lake Ontario floods. 

Specifically, Schumer is calling on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to add Sodus Bay repairs to their 2018 Work Plan. Schumer said these key improvements are needed in order to fix the only barrier protecting all of Sodus Bay from Lake Ontario's direct damaging wind-driven waves and erosion, and to protect dozens of homes along Charles Point. Schumer explained last summer’s severe flooding has badly damaged the steel sheet pile wall that protects the Charles Point cliffside. 

 “The devastating flooding that inundated Lake Ontario Communities like Sodus severely damaged the very same protective infrastructure that the Army Corps of Engineers built decades ago to protect Sodus Bay and homes along Charles Point.  The steel wall built by the Army Corps to protect Sodus’ Charles Point cliff from eroding is now broken and ineffective, leaving the cliffside exposed to erosion that is undermining the houses that sit on top.  Until the steel wall is restored and repairs are made to the deteriorated sections of Sodus’s east breakwater, the Sodus Bay community will be vulnerable to more damage,” said Senator Schumer. “That is why today I am calling on the Army Corps of Engineers to add the Great Sodus Bay sheet pile wall and east breakwater to their upcoming Work Plan, so that residents of these communities know that they are safe.  The money for this type of repair work was already secured in the bi-partisan Omnibus legislation, now it’s time for the Army Corps to greenlight the Sodus repair work for funding to ensure that no more property is lost or damaged.” 

Currently, the broken steel wall is compromised, allowing Lake Ontario waters to dangerously erode the Charles Point cliff, jeopardizing the land supporting homes on top of the cliff and the protection of the navigation channel. Additionally, repairs are required to portions of the east breakwater that has deteriorated, allowing lake waters to penetrate into the Sodus Bay harbor and navigation channel. Schumer said these pieces of infrastructure are critical to protecting the region’s shoreline and, since they are owned by the Army Corps, it is the Army Corp’s responsibility to repair and maintain them. Schumer said with the Fiscal Year 2018 Omnibus signed into law last month, the Army Corps must do its part and prioritize this project to receive some of this funding so that repairs can begin immediately.  

In 2017 Lake Ontario communities were severely impacted by flooding and damaging winds. The damage from the flooding was profound, shutting down businesses, damaging homes, property, public infrastructure, and eroding away land and shoreline protections. During the extensive flooding along Lake Ontario, the USACE Buffalo District issued a Declaration of Emergency at Senator Schumer’s urging, and deployed technical assistance teams to impacted communities, including Charles Point and Crescent Beach in the towns of Sodus and Huran, within Great Sodus Bay in Wayne County, NY. Following the deployment, Schumer said the Army Corps issued a June 2nd report revealing the critical need to repair failing infrastructure. Schumer said that the report made clear that the upgrades were in the Army Corps’ purview, and thus, they must prioritize the repairs in the Corps’ Work Plan, and conduct these repairs as quickly as possible.

Schumer explained that without critical federal funding homes along Charles Point are at continued risk. Schumer said the sheet pile wall and east breakwater’s already deteriorating condition was severely exacerbated when Lake Ontario flood waters devastated the area last year. Currently, the broken steel wall is compromised, allowing Lake Ontario waters to dangerously erode the Charles Point cliff, jeopardizing the land supporting homes on top of the cliff.  During these floods, businesses were shut down and homes, property and public infrastructure were all significantly damaged, partly due to the condition of the barrier designed to fend off flooding and erosion. Therefore, Schumer is urging the USACE to act quickly and repair the Sodus Bay sheet pile wall and east breakwater, so that no more unnecessary destruction occurs along Charles Point.

Schumer explained Crescent Beach and Charles Point Peninsula act as an isthmus by connecting the Sodus Bay Breakwater in the Town of Sodus to the Town of Huron mainland. This isthmus acts as a barrier and spans across the mouth of Sodus Bay and provides a vital shield to protect the homes, businesses, and communities along the in-land Sodus Bay and Sodus Point from Lake Ontario's damaging wave action and erosion impacts.  Last year’s historic flooding has deeply compromised the protective barrier, and Schumer warned that unless the Army Corps steps in to fix these damages protective structures the whole harbor, as well as homes, structures, and infrastructure within the Bay, could be at risk.  

In a letter to U.S. Army Lieutenant General Todd T. Semonite, Senator Schumer requested that the Army Corps prioritize adequate funding in the upcoming Work Plan to repair and rebuild Charles Point steel wall and repair the deteriorated sections of the east breakwater in Sodus Bay. The Army Corps’ own documentation has long been calling for these repairs. Schumer said with the new funding in the recently passed Omnibus the Army Corp should prioritize these repairs and prevent any more homes or businesses from being damaged.

Schumer’s push comes on the heels of his visit to Sodus Bay last year, where he called on the USACE to conduct repairs to protect Sodus Bay, including the Sodus Bay Breakwater, the Charles Point steel wall, and a washout at Crescent Beach. Schumer vowed to keep pushing the USACE until they add Sodus Bay to their work plan.