SCHUMER: LONG AWAITED SUSQUEHANNA RIVER BASIN STUDY FINALLY SET TO MOVE FORWARD; U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS TO LAUNCH COMPREHENSIVE FLOOD MITIGATION STUDY
With A Federal Investment of $1.2M, and Cost-Sharing Agreement Now Approved By New York State Officials & Army Corps, Study to Identify Best Ways to Protect Flood-Prone Susquehanna River Watershed Region Will Finally Begin
Schumer Strongly Supported Study’s Authorization and Pushed for Prioritization of this Necessary Study to Ensure Safety and Protection of New Yorkers, Their Homes, and Their Businesses
Schumer: Commencement of this Study Will Be Large Step Toward Safer Susquehanna River Communities
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACOE) Upper Susquehanna River Basin Comprehensive Flood Damage Reduction Study will move forward after a cost-sharing agreement was signed by USACOE and New York State officials. Schumer strongly supported the study’s authorizing language in Congress, and worked to shepherd the process along, ensuring that USACOE would prioritize the study. A kick-off meeting will be scheduled in Binghamton by USACOE for the near future to officially move the study forward.
“I have long championed the need to protect Southern Tier communities from the devastation of floods. The undertaking of a comprehensive flood mitigation study of the Susquehanna River has been a long time coming and I am pleased to have been able to help move this study forward. Doing so, means that vulnerable Southern Tier homes, businesses and public infrastructure could soon see vital protection implemented against future devastation. The process was cumbersome at times, and I worked directly with the U. S Army Corp of Engineers to secure the federal funding match, and the approvals necessary to drive the study forward. I applaud the efforts of the Broome County Flood Task Force, and the many municipal and county leaders who worked tirelessly to keep this issue at the forefront. I am happy to report it is ready to begin implementation and I look forward to its results,” said Schumer.
The three year study will provide a comprehensive plan for the Upper Susquehanna River Basin, including an overview of the levies that are functioning, the areas that are at risk of flooding, and measures the community can take to reduce the chance of flooding. USACOE will look to determine if and what mitigation projects could be done to better protect the cities and towns along the river.
After the 2006 flooding that impacted the Southern Tier, Schumer immediately pushed the Army Corps of Engineers to implement projects from previous studies to provide protection to flood stricken communities. Schumer also worked to authorize new study options to ensure Army Corps had a full range of choices to best address flood protection. Schumer successfully secured federal funding to begin a reconnaissance study and remained a steadfast advocate to Army Corps that future work on this study be a priority.
The development of an USACOE project requires multiple steps, over multiple years. Congressional authorization is first required for the USACOE to conduct an investigation, which includes both a reconnaissance and more detailed feasibility study. A second separate authorization for construction is then required based on the outcome of the feasibility study. In order for the USACOE to act on an authorization, a separate appropriation of funding is also required. As a result, Schumer has long fought to help communities across the Southern Tier obtain the necessary approvals to get these types of mitigation projects moving along and underway. He fought for the federal government to keep their timely obligation and made sure USACOE put the necessary matching funds in place.
The Upper Susquehanna River Basin Comprehensive Flood Damage Reduction Study directs the USACOE to study and implement improvements to the Upper Susquehanna River with the goal of mitigating future flooding. To do so, the USACOE was tasked to work with New York State and local governments to conduct a reconnaissance study, and pending favorable outcomes, develop an agreed-upon work plan cooperatively with federal and non-federal sponsors, and then launch a feasibility study from which construction projects could be identified. An FY 2010 appropriation was secured for a reconnaissance study and with favorable results, the USACOE identified the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation as a non-federal partner for the cost share requirement and worked to define the scope of the next step: the feasibility study.
In the wake of devastating flooding that severely damaged Southern Tier homes and businesses Schumer urged the USACOE to conduct a study of the Upper Susquehanna River Basin, utilizing an existing authorization, and to direct remaining funds from the 2007 Continuing Budget Resolution to begin the project. In FY2010 Schumer helped appropriate $100K to fund the reconnaissance study. In subsequent years Schumer urged USACOE to keep this project a priority; as a result the Army Corps has allocated $1.2 million for the feasibility study, with a potential for the federal share to reach $1.5 million if additional funds are needed and approved next year.
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