ALBANY, N.Y. A new initiative announced by New York governor Andrew Cuomo will allocate millions of dollars for dam repair and improvement.
The “NY Works” program, introduced in 2011-2012 but recently adjusted for 2012-2013, is a multi-billion dollar program that seeks to stimulate the state’s economy and create employment opportunities largely through work on the state’s infrastructure projects.
Included in the NY Works program are 125 dam restoration and repair projects, which, according to reports provided by the governor’s office, represent an investment of more than US$200 million.
“For the second year in a row, New York State has passed a transformative and balanced budget that holds the line on spending, while focusing on job creation and government efficiency,” Cuomo says. “The centerpiece of this budget is the New York Works program, which will help rebuild our aging infrastructure, including our dams and flood control systems, to protect people and property throughout our state.”
A study shows 91 of 106 flood control projects maintained by the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation have been rated as “minimally acceptable” or “unacceptable” by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Additionally, at least 24 of New York’s 577 DEC-owned dams have been classified as “high” and “intermediate” hazard structures, meaning failure would pose “serious threat” to human life or significant property damage.
“Through New York Works, infrastructure repairs and mitigation projects will be completed, protecting life and property, creating jobs and giving people peace of mind,” says state senator Jim Seward.
NY Works funds have designated $102 million for dam infrastructure work, with more than $100 million being leveraged in matching funds. The governor’s office says NY Works’ $102 million includes $18.5 million to repair state-owned dams, $56 million to perform maintenance of flood control facilities such as levees, and $27 million to implement coastal erosion and inlet navigation maintenance projects.
Projects specifically listed by NY Works as receiving “critical dam repairs” include the following dams — Alder Lake, Avon Marsh, Balsam Swamp, Hatchery, Harwood Lake, Howard Jeffrey, Jackson Pond, Lens Lake, Long Pond, Nanticoke Creek Site 3, Onondaga, Papish Pond, Stewart’s Landing, Waneta, White Pond and Warner — although others will also receive work.
The projects are being managed by the NY Works Task Force, which coordinates capital plans across 45 agencies and authorities.
“No one is suggesting that we can anticipate each and every natural disaster,” says state senator Joe Griffo. “But the administration and the senate realized that we must enhance and update the preventative measures and management plans we have in place today.”
Also in New York, New York Power & Light recently announced it has almost completed an eight-year rehabilitation of the Stuyvesant Falls hydroelectric plant.