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On Air: New York Sea Grant Wants to Help Homeowners Build Back Shoreline
Great Lakes Coastal Processes and Erosion - News


This lawn along Lake Ontario has been eroded by waves. Credit: Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News.

By Veronica Volk, WXXI News


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August 9, 2019 - New York Sea Grant is working with homeowners looking to repair their eroded shorelines.

Erosion is a growing concern along the southern shore of Lake Ontario, but it’s not a new problem.

"There’s always been a lot of erosion along Lake Ontario, that’s just the way it functions," said Roy Widrig.

Widrig is with the New York Sea Grant, which provides educational and outreach material to residents and business owners on the shoreline.

He said they’re working to let property owners know their options for building back or reinforcing their shoreline. For instance, not everyone needs to build big breakwalls.

"People have a connection with the lake," he said. "They want to go in, they want to be able to launch a boat, so when you have to put up these big concrete structures, it kind of takes away from that."

Widrig said there are more aesthetically pleasing options, like using a rock pile.

"Or maybe if they have the right conditions, they can do a nature-based shoreline approach, where they work in shoreline plants and rock rubble," he said.

Widrig and his colleagues at the Sea Grant are hosting a workshop this month in Webster to help homeowners through the process. Registration is currently full, but he said they are looking to host more in the area.

In the meantime, Widrig said people can check out the Sea Grant website for more information.


On Air: Workshop Will Help Lake Ontario Homeowners Defend Against Shoreline Erosion

By Payne Horning, WRVO News


Credit: Payne Horning / WRVO News.



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August 13, 2019 - Water levels in Lake Ontario may be on the decline, but some of the damage from record-high levels remains. The shoreline in many communities is being wiped away, threatening homes and businesses.

Some who live along the lake are trying to adapt by beefing up their shorelines. Given that these events are unprecedented, Roy Widrig with New York Sea Grant said many property owners and even contractors are making mistakes that can make their situation worse.

"They'll just take large rocks, usually limestone blocks called rip rap, and they'll just put those on the shore hoping that they'll decrease the wave energy," Widrig said. A lot of times when they do that they're not built up high enough, they're not placed secure enough, and often times the wave energy action will go over the rock and kind of erode behind them. It just doesn't last very long."

To better help property owners, New York Sea Grant, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are teaming up to host a workshop to share best practices on shoreline erosion management. The goal is to help people build more resilient structures and make the best decision on what type of project is appropriate for their property given the diversity of Lake Ontario's shoreline.

"There are a lot of errors that people make when submitting these permits applications. Every time you make an error and have to go back and fix something, change a design, change a height of a design or the width or the slope, that sets your construction date back," he said. "These are very pressing issues for people and they want to get them fixed as soon as possible. We try to set this up so that they know exactly what they need to do going in."

The workshop will take place in webster on August 30. Registration is currently full, but Widrig said they are looking to host more workshops soon.

In the meantime, Widrig said people can check out the Sea Grant website for more information.

More Info: New York Sea Grant

New York Sea Grant (NYSG), a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York (SUNY), is one of 33 university-based programs under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant College Program.

Since 1971, NYSG has represented a statewide network of integrated research, education and extension services promoting coastal community economic vitality, environmental sustainability and citizen awareness and understanding about the State’s marine and Great Lakes resources.

Through NYSG’s efforts, the combined talents of university scientists and extension specialists help develop and transfer science-based information to many coastal user groups—businesses and industries, federal, state and local government decision-makers and agency managers, educators, the media and the interested public.

The program maintains Great Lakes offices at Cornell University, SUNY Buffalo, SUNY Oswego and the Wayne County Cooperative Extension office in Newark. In the State's marine waters, NYSG has offices at Stony Brook University in Long Island, Brooklyn College and Cornell Cooperative Extension in NYC and Kingston in the Hudson Valley.

For updates on Sea Grant activities: www.nyseagrant.org has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube links. NYSG offers a free e-list sign up via www.nyseagrant.org/nycoastlines for its flagship publication, NY Coastlines/Currents, which is published quarterly. Our program also produces an occasional e-newsletter,"NOAA Sea Grant's Social Media Review," via its blog, www.nyseagrant.org/blog.

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