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Project to reduce potential for flooding underway in Depew, Lancaster

A $1.7 million project to remove silt, sand and gravel from Cayuga Creek should help keep the flood waters away from property owners in the villages of Lancaster and Depew.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation project began in July and stretches for 1.5 miles along the creek, between Lake Avenue in the Village of Lancaster and Penora Street in the Village of Depew.

The project is designed to protect as many as 140 property owners from potential flooding.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo highlighted the flood-control project on Friday as part of the NY Works program.

“Cayuga Creek has long been a trouble spot for flooding,” Depew Mayor Steven Hoffman said in a prepared statement. “Anything we can do to help the water flow more freely will help reduce the problem of the creek spilling over its banks,” he said.

“I know residents living near the creek will be glad when the work is complete,” added Village of Lancaster Mayor Paul Maute.

The project aims to remove about 60,000 cubic yards of accumulated shoal from this portion of the creek, according to the DEC. Japanese Knotweed, an invasive species that grows rapidly and forms large thickets, covers about half of it, the DEC said.

The sediment in the channel has reduced the volume of water the creek can carry. By removing these deposits, it will restore the creek’s capacity and contain potential flood waters.

The project includes several flood-protection measures and enhancements, including channel realignment and widening, earth levees, a flood wall, bank protection, two pump stations and multiple drainage structures.

The work – performed by Mark Cerrone Inc. of Niagara Falls, under a contract with DEC – is expected to be completed by the end of October.

“As we have seen in every corner of New York, extreme weather is the new reality,” Cuomo said in a statement announcing the flood-control project. “By taking this proactive approach to flood prevention, residents and businesses in Depew and Lancaster will be ready and better protected the next time severe storms come their way.”