Press Release

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce $1 Million in FEMA Funds for Canal Flood Warning System Designed to Predict & Protect Upstate Communities – Federal Funding to Install New Precipitation Gauges Along Mohawk River, Oswego River and Upper Hudson River Basin in 23 Upstate Counties

Nov 19, 2013

Today, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced that the New York State Canal Flood Warning System has received a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funding obligation totaling $1 million for the installation of precipitation gauges along the Mohawk River, Oswego River and Upper Hudson River Basin.  Precipitation gauges, or rain gauges, measure rainfall in areas at risk of flooding.  The Canal Flood Warning System is a NYS program that will combine forecasting, early monitoring systems like precipitation gauges and stream gauges, and precise flood warnings to get first responders and local communities real time data they need in the risk or event of flooding.  The $1 million obligation is part of a 75% federal cost share on a $1,333,333.33 project, distributed via Section 404 Hazard Mitigation funds associated with Tropical Storm Lee.

“Even though Tropical Storm Lee was almost two years ago, we are still doing the hard work of rebuilding in those communities impacted by the severe rains and flooding.  The Canal Flood Warning System is one of our best efforts to combine prudent investment with the latest technology to predict and mitigate future floods,” said Senator Schumer. “All along the Mohawk Valley, Oswego River and Upper Hudson Valley this FEMA funding is welcome news.  It means more early detection devices are headed their way to measure real time changes in rainfall, which will help our local communities and first responders better predict and prepare for the next flood.”

“After New York State’s recent unprecedented flooding from Hurricanes and Tropical Storms, funding for programs that notify communities of impending flood waters is an absolute necessity,” Senator Gillibrand said. “Flooding can damage our communities and devastate our homes, businesses and farms.  It is crucial that we keep the necessary precautions in place that monitor and protect us from natural environmental changes and disasters.” 

This grant will fund the installation of numerous precipitation gages to be used in combination with existing monitoring devices and data to monitor changing conditions throughout each watershed as severe weather events occur.  The risk being mitigated is storm-water flooding (rain event) and riverine flooding along the Mohawk River, Oswego River, and Upper Hudson River Basins in 23 Upstate New York counties: Albany, Cayuga, Chemung, Essex, Greene, Hamilton, Herkimer, Lewis, Madison, Montgomery, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego, Ontario, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Schuyler, Seneca, Tompkins, Warren, Wayne, and Yates counties.  The gauges would provide additional data and enhance the Canal Warning system of river gauges to create a comprehensive warning system for emergency responders, local officials, and residents. 

The funds were awarded under Section 404 of the Stafford Act, which provides for Hazard Mitigation discretionary funding for disaster relief and emergency assistance.  This specific pot of funding comes out of the Section 404 funds associated with Tropical Storm Lee.  The purpose of Section 404 mitigation funds is to promote measures that reduce future loss to life and property, protect federal investment in public infrastructure and ultimately, to help build disaster resistant communities.