WRDA to Include New Authorization for the Great Lakes

U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand have announced that following their push, the Senate Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) includes a new authorization for the Great Lakes Coastal Resiliency Study.

The senators said that following the damaging flooding that impacted New York’s Lake Ontario shoreline communities last summer, causing millions of dollars in damages, there is a clear need to study how to strengthen infrastructure for the future.

According to the senators, language authorizing the study is the first step in a much larger, long-term effort to protect lakefront communities from flooding.

In addition, the senators vowed to work in lockstep with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to fully fund this new study to develop an infrastructure strategy for the future management of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River coast.

Specifically, the Great Lakes Coastal Resiliency Study was developed to safeguard against these threats and is vital to protect the Great Lakes’ 5,200-mile coastline, as well as the 4.2 million people who live within two miles of the coastline.

The senators emphasized that this study is a top priority for the three Army Corps Districts (Buffalo, Chicago, and Detroit) surrounding the Great Lakes, as well as the Army Corps’ Great Lakes and Ohio River Division, and this new authorization would allow for the efficient use of resources to protect the Great Lakes coastline.

The senators’ announcement comes on the heels of their recent push to get the Army Corp to prioritize funding to begin the Great Lakes resiliency study in their 2018 work plan and then in the Army Corps’ FY19 budget plan.