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River Property Owners: Report High Water Impact or Not


Cedar Point State Park, Clayton, NY


Street flooding, Cape Vincent, NY; June 2017 Photos by Mary Austerman, New York Sea Grant

Report High Water Impact or Not


An electronic survey to report the impact of high water is now online for property owners on the New York side of the St. Lawrence River. Those without impact to report are also invited to complete the survey developed by Cornell University with rapid response funding from New York Sea Grant.

“This survey effort is in response to stakeholder requests for a standardized method to collect, report, and document the impacts of high water levels on waterfront properties, including erosion, damage to natural and manmade shoreline protective features, and business disruption,” said New York Sea Grant Coastal Community Specialist Mary Austerman.

Survey analysis will identify areas that are most vulnerable to high water levels. The data collected will be reported only in aggregate; individual addresses will not be identified.


Dunes along Lake Ontario seen from a flooded walkover.


A St. Lawrence River access walkway under water in Cape Vincent, NY; June 2017. Photos: Brian P. Whattam

“The information gained from these surveys will help New York’s Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River communities strengthen their capacity for future resiliency,” said New York Sea Grant Associate Director Katherine Bunting-Howarth.

Cornell University Assistant Professor of Biological and Environmental Engineering, Dr. Scott Steinschneider and Cornell University Professor of Natural Resources, Dr. Richard C. Stedman, developed impact surveys for New York’s Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River regions. Residents of the Sodus Bay area, along Lake Ontario, helped to test pilot the initial survey for the lake area.


Docks under water near the Pilot Boat at Cape Vincent.


Boat under wraps.


NYS DEC Fisheries Research Vessel Seth Green; all in Cape Vincent, NY; June 2017. Photos: Brian P. Whattam

Survey responses will be accepted through August 31, 2017. Access to the surveys is online at

For more information, contact Mary Austerman at 315-331-8415 or or visit the Facebook page at

New York Sea Grant is a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York, and one of 33 university-based programs under the National Sea Grant College Program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. New York Sea Grant maintains Great Lakes regional offices in Buffalo, Newark and Oswego. For updates on New York Sea Grant activities statewide, has RSS, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube links.

By Kara Lynn Dunn

Kara Lynn Dunn is the publicist for the New York Sea Grant Great Lakes Program. She lives in Mannsville, NY, with her husband and photographer, Brian Whattam, who grew up in Three Mile Bay, NY. Kara earned a journalism degree at the University of Pittsburgh; is a freelance writer, publicist, and designer; and has authored two books on North Country natural and historic sites. Kara vividly recalls childhood camping adventures, along the St. Lawrence River, with the Village of Mannsville Summer Recreation Program.  See Kara’s other articles here.

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Bill Childs
Comment by: Bill Childs
Left at: 7:36 AM Monday, July 17, 2017
Yes, there is a Santa Claus, Virginia - the water is going down! On our delayed first visit ( Memorial Day) to our cottage at the 1000 Islands bridge, we had to wade on our mainland dock and our island dock through up to 4 inches of water. As of last week the water had gone down about 6 inches which means no more wading - unless one of the many rude boaters go zooming by with their cruisers creating huge swells for wakes. I have never seen so many different maritime police boats patrolling, but they are only stopping the small boats, personal watercraft, etc. and continually ignore the Tour boats and cruisers who really put out the damaging wakes. If these officers really wish to do us a service they should be stopping the big wake producers.
Deane Parkhurst
Comment by: Deane Parkhurst
Left at: 7:30 AM Wednesday, July 19, 2017
I can testify that the water is going down. We arrived at 1000 Island Park on July 9th for a weeks stay. Two docks near our "swimming rocks" were completely under water. As we left last Sunday both docks were visible. Did not take an actual measurement but my estimate would be an approximate three inch fall in that seven day period.
Kathleen Thomas
Comment by: Kathleen Thomas
Left at: 7:18 AM Thursday, July 20, 2017
Yes, the water level is going down, but it has quite a ways to go before true damage assessment can take the tip of an iceberg. We dare not begin major repairs because wind and waves, as well as additional rainstorms are likely to undo anything we start. So we just wait it out, neighbors helping neighbors with what needs to be done immediately, and hope for the best.