New York (STL.News) Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced construction will begin this month on a $3.9 million flood mitigation project to bolster resilience and improve habitats along the Sauquoit Creek in the Mohawk Valley. The project, which marks a major milestone in New York State’s multi-pronged effort to protect public safety and the landscape along the Sauquoit Creek in the Mohawk Valley, will create a new 12-acre floodplain bench — with plantings, stream bank stabilization, erosion and sediment control facilities — and install five, 48-inch diameter culverts under the CSX Railroad embankment.
“The hardships New Yorkers have endured from the increase in flood events in recent years cannot be underestimated, and we have made it a top priority to provide better protection for vulnerable regions of our state,” Governor Cuomo said. “I have directed state agencies to help the impacted community rebuild back better and stronger that ever before.”
The project, located on the west side of Sauquoit Creek north of Main Street, is the product of a collaboration between the state and local governments that, when finished, will yield a more resilient infrastructure to better protect against severe weather events. It will reduce flood water elevations and increase water flow from the Sauquoit Creek to the Mohawk River, mitigating future flood risk. The project is being administered by the Town of Whitestown with funding support from the departments of Transportation, Environmental Conservation, Environmental Facilities Corporation, and the Dormitory Authority of New York State.
This area of Oneida County has experienced five severe and recurring flooding events over the past decade including, most recently, the October 2019 Halloween Storm in which emergency services had to conduct multiple rescues and nearly 200 properties sustained damages. This project complements the previous completion of two floodplain benches in the fall of 2020 in the area of Dunham Manor Park and an agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in September 2020 to pursue a voluntary buy-out program for flood-impacted homes.
Today’s announcement builds on more than $9 million invested by the state in support of several high-priority flood mitigation projects along Sauquoit Creek, including a massive floodplain restoration project recently completed in the Town of Whitestown’s Dunham Manor Park. DEC, DOT and OGS partnered closely with Oneida County, Town of Whitestown, and Village of Whitesboro to complete this vital work. This next phase of construction is scheduled to be completed in Fall2022. All of these projects are consistent with specific actions recommended by a state-of-the-art stream restoration/flood mitigation study of Sauquoit Creek undertaken by New York State in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene.