Part of New York State’s $300 Million Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced the start of construction on a project to protect Camp Hollis from future flooding and high water events. Located in the town of Oswego, Camp Hollis is a summer camp for children, providing recreational opportunities to more than 2,000 at-risk youth per year, as well as the location for private events. Once complete, this climate resiliency project will stabilize nearly 450 feet of Lake Ontario shoreline and prevent further erosion and encroachment of the bluff toward the camp’s facilities, helping to ensure the historic camp remains open for campers and visitors.
“New York State is mitigating the impacts of our changing climate and protecting communities across the state from the effects of extreme weather,” said Commissioner Seggos. “DEC is a proud partner in advancing the REDI mission here in Oswego County to keep the doors of Camp Hollis, a local treasure, open for generations to come.”
New York State awarded Oswego County $500,000 in grant funding to support the project through the State's Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative (REDI). Wave and horizontal ice pressure, generated by severe storms, continuously eroded the toe of the bluff causing sloughing and intrusion of the bluff in toward Camp Hollis’s playing field and facilities and creating a hazardous condition for camp visitors.
The project’s resiliency features include the installation of an onshore riprap revetment system with regraded slope. In addition, the area between the revetment and the slope will be vegetated to minimize potential erosion loss and protect the toe of the bluff. DEC is the lead agency, overseeing permitting and implementation of the project.
State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, “As a member of the REDI Commission and a frequent visitor to Oswego County, I have witnessed firsthand how changing climate patterns have repeatedly undermined the Lake Ontario shoreline with high water and flooding. These resiliency measures are critical for this area to withstand the growing frequency of severe storm events while helping New York State reach its nation-leading climate goals. This project, which combines the principles of climate resiliency with social support initiatives for children, is also a win-win for everyone as it will protect a place for recreation and serenity for generations of visitors.”
Office of General Services Commissioner Jeanette Moy said, “The Office of General Services is proud of our continuous partnership with the Department of Environmental Conservation as New York State continues to address significant resiliency needs of the Camp Hollis shoreline. Under Governor Hochul’s leadership, New York State’s REDI effort is continuing to lead the way with historic investments to help communities build back not only better but smarter and more resilient.”
Senator John W. Mannion said, “The shoreline stabilization project at Camp Hollis that is funded by state government will ensure that this Oswego County asset remains open for the community and the at-risk youth it serves. I have continually supported the REDI program through the budget process so we can advance important projects like this one that improve the quality of life for our residents.”
Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay said, “I commend the efforts to make important upgrades at Camp Hollis and I’m pleased to see this initiative is getting under way. The Lake Ontario shoreline stabilization project will preserve nearly 450 feet of space and ensure the physical integrity of the area remains intact. This financial investment into Camp Hollis is good news for the community and a worthy commitment from the state.”
Oswego County Legislature Chairman James Weatherup said, “The goal of the REDI project at Camp Hollis is to maintain, sustain, and protect our Lake Ontario shoreline and our facilities from various weather patterns. As you know, Oswego County is known for our harsh winters and high winds. Severe storms on the Lake Ontario shoreline have caused erosion to the bluffs along Camp Hollis, in which the REDI project will address.”
In response to the extended pattern of flooding along the shores of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, New York State established REDI to increase the resilience of shoreline communities and bolster economic development in the region. Five REDI Regional Planning Committees, comprised of representatives from eight counties (Niagara and Orleans, Monroe, Wayne, Cayuga and Oswego, and Jefferson and St. Lawrence) were established to identify local priorities, at-risk infrastructure and other assets, and public safety concerns. Through REDI, the State has committed up to $300 million, to benefit communities and improve resiliency in regions along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.
Since the creation of the State's REDI program in the Spring of 2019, 134 REDI funded local and regional projects are underway, including 27 projects in the design phase, 23 projects in the construction phase, and 83 projects completed.
For additional information, project profiles and REDI news, read the Governor's press release.
New York State Water Quality Investments
In addition to REDI, New York State is making other record investments to improve water infrastructure and increase water quality. The 2023-24 Enacted Budget includes $500 million in clean water funding, bringing New York State's total investment in clean water infrastructure statewide to $5 billion since 2017. In the New York’s Great Lakes Basin, funding - primarily through State Environmental Facilities Corp. - provided approximately $2 billion in both grants (from the Water Infrastructure and Improvement Act and Intermunicipal Grant funds) and low-cost financing to 615 distinct projects of New York State. DEC provided another $258 million for more than 280 projects in the region.
In addition, New York voters approved the $4.2 billion Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act in November 2022. Governor Hochul and the State Legislature increased from $3 billion to a record-setting $4.2 billion to make it the largest environmental bond in state history and the first in New York since 1996. The Bond Act advances historic levels of funding to update aging water infrastructure and protect water quality, strengthen communities' ability to withstand severe storms and flooding, reduce air pollution and lower climate-altering emissions, restore habitats, preserve outdoor spaces and local farms, and ensure equity by investing at least 35 percent, with a goal of 40 percent, of resources in disadvantaged communities.
In the 2023-24 State of the State, Governor Hochul also launched Community Assistance Teams this year to expand the State Environmental Facilities Corporation’s technical assistance program and help small, rural, and disadvantaged communities leverage this funding to address their clean water infrastructure needs.