ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Flooding along the Lake Ontario shoreline has been a recurring pattern in our region with several initiatives put in place over the years to help mitigate the risk of future flooding.

News 8 spoke with the New York DEC on a new flood mapping tool now available online to the public in hopes of helping both shoreline communities and municipalities better prepare to protect public safety.

Ever since record flooding took place on Lake Ontario back in 2017, and in the midst of efforts already being made by Plan 2014, the DEC started talking with the US Geological Survey about what new tools are needed to help better understand the risk for future shoreline flooding.

Meteorologist Cristine Gregory spoke with NYS DEC Great Lakes Based Programs Coordinator Don Zelazny about the new flood mapping tool recently developed that uses eight new gauges to collect real time lake level data that includes information about streamflow, flood forecasts, and potential loss estimates in hopes of accomplishing this goal. 

“We wanted to get something that would be more practical, more useful and provide a greater level of detail for the communities to use in their planning, their emergency response efforts and something that would still be amenable to the private citizen who you know was concerned about just how high,” Zelazny said. “What would happen if the water levels went even higher than in 2017?”

These new gauges are currently placed along a 300 miles stretch along the Lake Ontario shoreline.

One of them is located right here in Webster, monitoring current lake conditions at Nine Mile Point which could be helpful for any potential flooding that happens at four mile creek.

“We think that this is a big step forward for the shoreline community,” Zelazny said. “It’s a tool that has not been available in the past… and the more we learn about what type of particular questions or concerns that private property owners have, the more we can adapt our guidance and adapt our information and collect additional science so the entire community can learn and grow and become more resilient for the future.”

Don says it’s not the last step, but a good steppingstone to create a more resilient shoreline for years to come.

Additional Info

“The DEC developed “New York State REDI: Building Resilience in Recovery – Homeowner Program Guidance for Shoreline Management,” to assist property owners with designing resilient flood and erosion protection measures that reduce the risk of future property damage and minimize impacts on natural resources. These general guidelines help homeowners identify technical and regulatory requirements, best practices, and available resources for rebuilding and maintaining erosion/flood protection measures along the shorelines of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River.”

The DEC states that the “DEC’s Bureau of Flood Protection and Dam Safety is available to answer questions about floodplain development standards and provide assistance with flood maps and guidance with flood insurance requirements by phone: 518-402-8185 or email: floodplain@dec.ny.gov.”

You can find more information about the new flood mapper here.