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Town of Niagara seeking solutions to Cayuga Creek flooding

TOWN OF NIAGARA – A long-term plan to deal with the flooding of Cayuga Creek is a project the Town Board will attempt this year.

Supervisor Lee Wallace told board members Wednesday that he recently met with Norman Gardner, an engineer with Clark Patterson Lee, and Highway Superintendent Robert Herman to review solutions to the problem plaguing property owners along the creek in the Tuscarora Road and Roberts Drive area and in the adjacent mobile home development, Cayuga Village.

In recent years, the creek has overflowed into backyards and basements, causing flood damage on an almost-regular basis. Gardner noted 100-year floods have occurred there in “four of the last five years.”

Wallace said the board needs to address immediate problems with short-term answers and provide long-term solutions.

Gardner recommended that the town build a regional retention system in open areas along the creek to manage the flooding.

“If we could collect the water upstream, it would help out the residents below tremendously,” he said.

The creek could be diverted onto undeveloped land that is privately owned and create a natural “flooded forest” that would delay creek water from rushing into the basin-like area near the homes. By redesigning that portion of the creek, the length would be increased from 1,300 to nearly 1,700 feet, he said.

Berms alone are not effective because the creek would then rise in another area, Gardner said. However, berms would still be needed as part of the flood-diversion plan. Gardner said he guaranteed the creek would slow itself down as it approached the affected area.

The land in question – most of it owned by the Weber family – is mostly “undevelopable” for building purposes because it is in an area designated as a floodplain, the engineer added.

Wallace was directed by the board to reach out to the owners to discuss the project.

Describing the plan as “a giant natural retention pond,” the supervisor said work needs to begin soon to prevent more problems. Gardner said the weather has been cooperating with a slow melt but any heavy rain would lead to flooding.

Herman said his crews have been cleaning out the drains in the area by removing snow and debris and have checked the creek for blockages. A tree is to be removed from the creek Thursday..

“Up to this point, we’ve done everything proactively that we can do,” Herman told the board.

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