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Proposed Study Would Look At Higher Precipitation Levels In Great Lakes Region

SYRACUSE, NY (WRVO) - A bipartisan group of representatives from New York is trying to pass legislation that would fund a study that could help states address the issue of rising water levels in the Great Lakes.

The proposed Great Lakes Coastal Resiliency Study would be a collaboration between federal agencies like the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA and the eight states that are positioned along the five lakes. It would analyze weather patterns and lake level fluctuations.

Bryan Hinterberger with the U.S. Army Corps says it would be an aggressive undertaking, but one that is much needed.

"We recognize that the storms will happen more and more often, become more and more severe - so this is going to be the new normal," Hinterberger said. "What’s not clear yet is how intense it will be. So, there’s a recognition that we need to get a better idea, we need to reduce that uncertainty."

The study has failed to get funding from Congress in the past. Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) is hopeful that this time will be different.

"Discretionary spending, including defense, we’re at 2010 levels, so it’s very hard to get this funding," Katko said. "But for something like this - as we’re seeing the constant damage along the southern shoreline of Lake Ontario and the other Great Lakes, there’s more of a growing acknowledgement that we've got to do something."

Hinterberger says if the study is funded, it would likely take 3-4 years to complete and cost about $12 million.

Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica), Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-Willsboro), Rep. Joe Morelle (D-Irondequoit), Rep. Brian Higgins (D-Buffalo), and Rep. Chris Collins (R-Clarence) are listed as sponsors on the bill.