Department of Environmental Conservation

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Storm Information

Lake Ontario Flooding

flooding along Lake Ontario with street under water

Due to significant rain in early May 2017, the Lake Ontario coastline rose to the highest levels in 20 years. Governor Cuomo declared a state of emergency for the affected communities along the shoreline on May 2. He deployed the National Guard, requested additional water release through the Moses-Saunders dam to lower Lake Ontario water levels, and authorized DEC to issue emergency permits.

As part of the Lake Ontario Rapid Response Team, DEC deployed a team of experienced coastal engineers to Lake Ontario to work with property owners to address erosion, conduct site visits, meet with owners, and offer technical guidance. The team will rapidly review all emergency permit applications received. DEC's engineers stand ready to work with property owners so that protective structures can be repaired and homeowners can take appropriate actions expeditiously.

Mobile Command Centers and DEC Permit Offices

DEC, along with the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services and the Department of Financial Services, will staff NYS Emergency Response Mobile Command Centers which will be stationed in the flooding area. DEC permitting offices will also offer weekend hours throughout the summer, starting Memorial Day weekend, to assist residents. See the Governor's press release for locations of the Mobile Command Centers and DEC Offices. The Governor also announced $7 million in state funding to assist impacted homeowners, which is in addition to $10 million for eligible municipalities, and the up to $5 million in grants announced for small businesses with physical damage or loss as a result of flooding.

Boating Information

Governor and DEC put out no wake buoys

NYS Parks has implemented a 5 mile per hour speed limit within 600 feet of the Lake Ontario and St Lawrence River shoreline, and DEC places buoy markers indicating the no wake zone. This is to reduce impacts to shoreline residents and infrastructure caused by wave action. Reduced speeds are also necessary to ensure safe boating, as many hidden hazards and debris have been covered by elevated water levels and can threaten boaters. State agencies are working with municipalities to educate boaters and, in addition to the buoys, have positioned digital message boards at strategic locations throughout the region.

DEC has also maintained a list of boat launch closures (PDF, 40 KB) that boaters should be aware of.


Governor Cuomo with sandbags along Lake Ontario
Governor Cuomo and National Guard assisting