The Coastal Lakeshore Economy and Resiliency (CLEAR) Plan for Monroe County provides a more in-depth understanding of the region’s key vulnerabilities and resiliency goals for Lake Ontario coastal property damaged as a result of the 2017 and 2019 flooding events. CLEAR involves a robust community engagement process that uses innovative outreach strategies to educate community members about flood and erosion risk and promote a comprehensive resilience strategy.
The CLEAR Plan for Monroe County, along with the efforts of the Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative (REDI), and other Lake Ontario recovery and resiliency programs, will ultimately fulfill one of the goals in the Governor’s 2100 report to develop “a Great Lakes resilience strategy.” The Plan will also serve as a community-based document to enhance overall resilience in New York’s Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River region.
Monroe County’s CLEAR Study Area includes the Towns of Greece, Hamlin, Irondequoit, Parma, Penfield and Webster and the City of Rochester. It also includes the following ecological communities in proximity to important waterbodies, including: Community of Braddock Bay/Pond Complex; Community of Irondequoit Bay. While the Villages of Hilton and Webster are geographically located in the CLEAR Study Area, the plan does not specifically focus on these two communities. The towns and the city have frontage on various waterbodies, including Lake Ontario and its tributaries, and have experienced significant damage from past flood and storm events. As waterfront communities, they are at-risk for varying degrees of flooding and shoreline erosion.
The CLEAR Study Area includes roughly 261 square miles of land area. From the Lake Ontario shoreline it extends north to encompass an additional 717 square miles of water area.
A total of 460,579 residents live in the CLEAR Study Area, representing more than 60% of Monroe County’s overall population. Population density is highest in the City of Rochester, followed by the Towns of Irondequoit and Greece. Webster and Penfield are more suburban in character while Hamlin and Parma are more rural.
Environmental hazards like flooding and other emerging climate change impacts do not recognize or follow jurisdictional boundaries. So, while the focus of this study is on the waterfront communities included in the CLEAR Study Area, there may be needs and interests identified for adjacent communities in Monroe County and its two major watersheds—the Lake Ontario and Minor Tributaries Watershed and the Genesee River Watershed. Impacts and risks in these areas will be considered and documented but not fully analyzed as they are not included in the targeted Study Area.
The Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative (REDI) was created after the 2017 and 2019 high-water events caused historic flooding resulting in widespread shoreline erosion and damaged coastline structures and infrastructure for communities around Lake Ontario.
$235 million in funding was allocated for regional resiliency projects across the five REDI regions which include Niagara and Orleans Counties; Monroe County; Wayne, Cayuga, and Oswego Counties; and Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties. In addition to the regional projects, the REDI Commission distributed $20 million for homeowners’ assistance, $15 million for a regional dredging effort, and $30 million for business resiliency.
Projects in Monroe County
Several REDI-funded projects are currently being administered by Monroe County. These projects are:
Culver Road Storm Sewers ($500,000): Improvements to storm sewers on Culver Road near Irondequoit Bay to reduce flooding during high-water events.
Sandbar WWPS ($250,000): Elevates all building entries and constructs a concrete perimeter wall to mitigate flooding of the Monroe County Department of Environmental Services Sandbar WWPS.
St. Paul Terminus ($1,770,000): Modifies existing wastewater pump and installs permanent check valves and a new stormwater pump station to handle storm and floodwaters at the St. Paul Terminus area.
Fishing Access at St. Paul ($326,000): Constructs a new concrete wall above-grade and creates openings with removable stop logs to allow for pedestrian access.
Publicly Owned Regional Docks and Boat Launches ($1,776,000): Installs mitigation and resiliency measures at docks and boat launches across the county.
A total of 26 other projects will be administered by municipalities in the CLEAR Study Area, with the greatest number of projects in Greece and Irondequoit (see the map to view the REDI projects).
More information about REDI projects throughout Monroe County can be found here.