Posted on April 26, 2023
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the start of construction of a flood resiliency project in the Town of Clayton, Jefferson County. The project was awarded $4 million in grant funding through the State’s Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative and once complete, will help mitigate the impact of future high-water events and improve resiliency of the shoreline in a popular tourist area.
“We are committed to investing in projects that will increase resiliency and prevent future damage from extreme weather along our waterfront communities,” Governor Hochul said. “This project in the town of Clayton will make critical repairs to cherished public infrastructure and enhance shoreline resilience to help protect businesses and residents and enhance public safety. Improved infrastructure is critical to enhancing quality of life and safety and advances our efforts to rebuild stronger and strengthen the economy for the future.”
In 2019, the St. Lawrence River had record high water levels that resulted in devastating floods throughout communities along the river’s shoreline. These events caused degradation of public infrastructure and restricted public use of tourist destinations like the Riverwalk and Clayton Harbor Municipal Marina, negatively impacting public safety and local economies.
The Town of Clayton Riverwalk and Clayton Harbor Municipal Marina are a vital part of Clayton’s waterfront economy and includes approximately 1,250 feet of St. Lawrence River shoreline. Repeated wind and wave action, coupled with high water levels experienced in the region, caused degradation of sections of the shoreline. Loss of soil has resulted in numerous sinkholes along the shoreline. The ensuing instability and damage are jeopardizing the public infrastructure.
To mitigate future shoreline deterioration and public safety concerns the project will repair and improve 480 feet of shoreline between Frink Park and the Clayton Harbor Municipal Marina providing protection for the Riverwalk as well as the Harbor Hotel. Work includes:
- Installation of sheet piles to minimize future erosion of the shoreline;
- Repair of the Riverwalk along the designated section of shoreline; and
- Installation of rain gardens to improve water quality.
The town was awarded more than $4.6 million by the REDI Commission for a total of three projects. The first awarded resiliency project, the Upper Landing on Grindstone Island Boat Launch improvements, began construction in 2022 and work is progressing.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner and REDI Commission Co-Chair Basil Seggos said, “The REDI Program continues to improve the state’s resilience to extreme flooding and weather events. With Governor Kathy Hochul’s unwavering support, New York State is promoting economic development, safeguarding public health, preserving habitat, and protecting shorelines in communities prone to high water levels along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. The Riverwalk and Clayton Harbor Municipal Marina project is yet another example of the state’s commitment to making sure the region is prepared for future climate change-driven events.”
New York State Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriquez said, “This project is instrumental in protecting the Town of Clayton and the surrounding region against future flooding events. We are thrilled to see that after careful planning, this $3 million grant will support a new resiliency coastal project to mitigate the high-water impacts of the St. Lawrence River. Continued public access to the shoreline will maintain the public’s access which is crucial in developing the Riverwalk and Clayton Harbor Municipal Marina into popular recreational destinations. The Town of Clayton has been an ideal partner with the Department of State and this is yet another example of their commitment to long-term resiliency and sustainable shoreline economic development.”
State Senator Mark Walczyk said, “Clayton has seen success with past REDI projects, which have enhanced the community, and displayed the rich history it has to offer. Repairing the Riverwalk, fortifying the shoreline and taking the necessary steps to prevent further damage is a win for Clayton and Jefferson County.”
Assemblymember Scott Gray said, “The riverwalk is a vital component to the attraction of downtown Clayton. It provides a setting for a scenic stroll along the river as well as docking opportunities for boaters to enjoy the area amenities. The resiliency of the riverwalk is critical to Clayton’s tourism vitality.”
Jefferson County Chairman William Johnson said, “The Riverwalk repairs and shoreline stabilization are important projects to not only the town of Clayton, but also to the Thousand Islands region. Thank you to Governor Hochul and the REDI Commission for their continued support and commitment to building resiliency in Jefferson County.”
Town of Clayton Supervisor Lance Peterson said, “We are excited to see the much-anticipated repairs and stabilization of the shoreline along the Riverwalk and by the hotel get underway. The town’s partnership with New York State and the REDI Commission has been invaluable, as we all worked together towards the common goal of rebuilding the town with resilience against extreme weather and flooding.”
In response to the extended pattern of flooding along the shores of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, New York State established REDI to increase the resilience of shoreline communities and bolster economic development in the region. Five REDI Regional Planning Committees, comprised of representatives from eight counties (Niagara and Orleans, Monroe, Wayne, Cayuga and Oswego, and Jefferson and St. Lawrence) were established to identify local priorities, at-risk infrastructure and other assets, and public safety concerns. Through REDI, the State has committed up to $300 million, to benefit communities and improve resiliency in flood prone regions along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.
Since the creation of the State’s REDI program in the Spring of 2019, 134 REDI funded local and regional projects are underway, including 33 projects in the design phase, 46 projects in the construction phase, and 55 projects completed.