REDI Awarded Fort Association $1.3 Million to Improve Flood Resiliency at Historic Site in City of Ogdensburg, St. Lawrence County
Additional Efforts Underway to Protect Shoreline
Part of State's $300 Million Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the completion of shoreline stabilization efforts and trail improvements as part of a $1.3 million resiliency project awarded to the Fort de la Presentation Association, St. Lawrence County, through the State's . The Fort de La Presentation site, located in the city of Ogdensburg, was once used by American, Canadian, Native American, French and British people for worship, trade, and protection during wartime. The site is now used for military reenactments commemorating the Battle of Ogdensburg during the War of 1812 and community recreation. Located on a peninsula on the St. Lawrence River at the intersection of the Oswegatchie River, the site has experienced extensive erosion and flooding. Supported by REDI investments, the Association rebuilt flood-damaged shorelines and trails with more resilient designs to mitigate future damage and provide enhanced wildlife habitat while maintaining the site's historic and aesthetic value. Additional shoreline and trail work will continue in the Spring.
"Like so many communities along the shores of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, the city of Ogdensburg is no stranger to devastating flooding and that's why New York State's REDI effort is leading the way with historic investments to help communities build back better, smarter, and more resilient," Governor Hochul said. "The Fort de la Presentation project in the city of Ogdensburg will help mitigate flooding and combat erosion, helping to maintain this historic gem for future generations while enhancing local wildlife habitat."
To protect the Fort de La Presentation site from future high-water events, the project included:
- Stabilizing the Oswegatchie River shoreline using riprap with live stake plantings and toe wood / toe rock installations;
- Stabilizing the St. Lawrence River shoreline with rock sill stabilization with soil lifts, natural stone slab steps for access to the river, and native plantings along the shoreline; and
- Raising a portion of the Abbe Piquet Trail above flood elevation and building a new resilient overlook deck platform on the St. Lawrence River shoreline to improve visitor access.
State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, "I congratulate the Fort de La Presentation Association and for completing this exciting resiliency and historic preservation project. New York State Parks was pleased to work with the Association to make the historic landmark better prepared to resist future flooding, while improving the experience for visitors."
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner and REDI Commission Co-Chair Basil Seggos said, "New York State's REDI investments are providing flood-prone shoreline communities like the city of Ogdensburg with the expertise and resources necessary to build back better after severe storms and high water driven by our changing climate. Stabilizing the shoreline and improving the trails at the Fort de La Presentation site will protect this historic treasure from future flooding and ensure it continues to attract future generations of visitors."
Dormitory Authority of New York State President and CEO Reuben McDaniel III said, "DASNY is proud to support Governor Hochul's vision for protecting communities and vital historic resources like the Fort de La Presentation site from significant weather. This investment, and the work done here, will help preserve the unique natural, historic, and cultural value for New Yorkers, and residents of the city of Ogdensburg, to enjoy long into the future."
New York Power Authority Interim President and CEO Justin E. Driscoll said, "The shoreline restoration and trail improvements at Fort de la Presentation Association are an important investment in St. Lawrence County's tourism as well as for those living and working in the area. With the completion of this REDI Commission project, the Fort de la Presentation Association shoreline and trails will be stronger, safer, more beautiful and better able to withstand potential future floods. This project is evidence of the REDI Commission's commitment to restore shorelines and revitalize North Country communities."
Senator Patty Ritchie said, "Fort de La Presentation is an important part of our history, which makes it critical to both preserve and protect it. In recent years, we've seen the toll record high water has taken on the Fort's property. Through this project, we are ensuring it will be more resilient if faced with future flooding and in addition, are making enhancements that will allow people to better enjoy this important historical site for generations to come."
Assemblyman Mark Walczyk said, "I am pleased to see the continued investment in protecting the shoreline of the Front Yard of America - particularly at the City of Ogdensburg's Fort de La Presentation Interpretive Trail. The Maple City's rich history converges with its natural beauty at the confluence of the St. Lawrence and Oswegatchie rivers at this unique park where visitors and locals alike can enjoy walking, learning, picnicking, and taking in the scenic views. It is important to strengthen the shoreline to preserve the park and I am appreciative of PARKS oversight on seeing this project to its completion."
St. Lawrence County Chairman William Sheridan said, "St. Lawrence County is thankful that Governor Hochul is assisting the County's shoreline communities with an impressive effort to build back better. Through these infrastructure investments, New York State is helping to ensure that the region's tourist industry remains intact. The Fort de la Presentation historic site is a treasure among community members and a favorite destination for visitors from across the state and Canada, and we are pleased to see this important project complete."
Fort de la Presentation Association President Barbara O'Keefe said, "Thanks to the support of Governor Hochul, the partnership with New York State and through the Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative, the Fort Association was able to take the needed measures to stabilize the St. Lawrence and Oswegatchie River shorelines and repair and enhance the Abbé Picquet Trail, ensuring that Fort de la Presentation remain accessible to the community and tourists, as well as protect the National Register of Historic Places for future generations. With support from the REDI Team, and with the guidance of NYS OPRHP, we were able to complete this project ahead of schedule, and we are excited to share the site upgrades with the public."
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. The REDI Commission allocated $20 million for homeowner assistance, $30 million to improve the resiliency of businesses, and $15 million toward a regional dredging effort that will benefit each of the eight counties in the REDI regions. The remaining $235 million has been allocated towards local and regional projects that advance and exemplify the REDI mission.
Since the creation of the State's REDI program in the Spring of 2019, 134 REDI funded local and regional projects are underway, including 85 projects in the design phase, 21 projects in the construction phase, and 28 projects completed.