Kirsten Gillibrand United States Senator for New York

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After Touring FEMA Designated Flood Zone, Gillibrand & Miner Discuss Syracuse’s Technical Challenges to Latest FEMA Flood Maps

Mayor Briefed Senator on New Water Flow Data and the Impact of Abandoned Railroad Bridges on the New Maps

April 27, 2012

Syracuse, NY – U. S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Mayor Stephanie Miner today toured portions of Onondaga Creek included in the proposed Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood maps with several local residents. Mayor Miner briefed the Senator on the latest technical challenges the city will forward to FEMA by April 30, including a request for FEMA to evaluate the impact of the removal of abandoned railroad bridges over Onondaga Creek near Armory Square. In response, Senator Gillibrand urged FEMA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to re-evaluate the new flood zone map along the Onondaga Creek in Syracuse. The new flood zone map would require families already facing economic hardships to purchase flood insurance that can cost up to $2,000 annually, placing a major financial burden on Syracuse families. 

“In these tough economic times, the last thing we need to be doing is increasing insurance costs for families,” Senator Gillibrand said. “After speaking with members of the Syracuse community and touring the affected areas with them, it is clear that we need to be exploring new cost-effective methods of hazard mitigation in order to protect these communities without raising their insurance costs and burdening these families with financial hardships.” 

“We are fortunate to have Senator Gillibrand's support as we continue to pursue further changes to the FEMA flood maps,” Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner said. “Our federal representatives understand that the proposed FEMA maps will impact areas of the City that can least afford costly flood insurance.”        

The new flood zone maps include more than 1,000 properties along Onondaga Creek in the City of Syracuse. Currently, the City of Syracuse is requesting federal assistance to determine the impact that these proposed mitigation projects to remove multiple bridges spanning Onondaga Creek will have to Onondaga Creek, and determine how many properties could potentially be removed from the flood zone maps if such mitigation projects are completed. 

Senator Gillibrand wrote to FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and Army Corps of Engineers’ Major General Meredith W.B. Temple, urging them to partner with the City of Syracuse in reviewing the new maps and find ways to reduce the number of low-income properties included within the new flood zones. 

Senator Gillibrand’s Letters to the Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA are attached.