In response to the extended pattern of flooding along the shores of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, the Resiliency & Economic Development Initiative (REDI) was created to address the immediate and longterm resiliency needs of these areas while also enhancing economic development opportunities and health of the lake. The REDI aims to develop a new vision for rebuilding and enhancing the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River shoreline from resiliency and economic development points of view, including protecting critical infrastructure and enhancing natural features that support coastal resilience.
Governor Cuomo hosted the first meeting of community leaders and the Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative, or REDI, commission on June 10, 2019. The Governor, the commission and more than 250 state and local officials from communities along the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River shorelines gathered in Rochester to develop plans to reduce risk to infrastructure along the lake's waterfront while strengthening the region's local economies, which are heavily dependent on summer tourism.
Governor Cuomo announced up to $300 million in funding is available for communities impacted by Lake Ontario flooding and local governments will match 15 percent for every dollar the state spends.
At the meeting, local governments began to outline their infrastructure and economic development priorities to state officials who will award funding to projects identified by the REDI commission. Local governments have until Labor Day to submit their projects for consideration.
Guidance for Local Governments
Local governments can use guidance developed by the Department of State's Office of Planning, Development and Community Infrastructure to help improve their resilience to sea-level rise, storm surge, and flooding.
The first phase of the REDI was a targeted planning process that took place in Summer 2019, with the goal to develop a near term understanding of shoreline community needs and existing conditions, including projects in progress or in funding queue, and, through development of conceptual designs and assessments, position applicants for project proposals. In order to obtain initial feedback about at-risk assets that should be evaluated, the REDI Planning Team is hosting a series of 4 meetings over a period of two months—five identical stakeholder meetings across five regions, one for each region. Each meeting will build upon the last, based on community input, and will result in a plan for each of the five regions to be submitted to the state and evaluated by the REDI Commission for funding and approval of selected projects.
To submit input on critical infrastructure and community flood resiliency needs, please email the REDI Commission at [email protected]. Please note the applicable county in submitting any feedback or questions.
Update, October 1, 2019: The REDI co-chairs issued a letter to Lake Ontario municipalities providing a progress update on the Lake Ontario community planning process.
The Department of Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) is administering a 2019 Individual Homeowner Assistance Program that will provide residents in the impacted eight-county region up to $50,000 in state funding to help offset damages to their primary residences.
The homeowner application period will begin October 1 and will close October 31, 2019.
Applicants are eligible to receive funding for costs not covered by other sources, such as insurance, and include primary homeowners who reside in the eight counties associated with REDI - Cayuga, Jefferson, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans, Oswego, St. Lawrence and Wayne - and meet the below criteria:
- Homeowners who were impacted by flooding January 1, 2019 through September 30, 2019.
- Applications must be received by October 31, 2019.
- Applications must address damage incurred to primary residences, which sustained direct physical flood-related damage that threatens the safety of the home.
- Funding to address damages to secondary homesmay be considered following fulfillment of primary residence applications. Further details on a new application window will be forthcoming.
Applications, including the full list of project criteria, are available on the New York State Homes and Community Renewal website.
Formation of Lake Ontario REDI Commission May 31, 2019
Resources deployed to Jefferson County May 7, 2019