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Upgrades at Cazenovia Creek aim to prevent flooding

Andrew A. Kornacki, Public Affairs, Chief U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Buffalo District

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is giving Cazenovia Creek’s ice control structure a much-needed lift. Two to three feet, actually. The dam was built a decade ago to trap ice to stop flooding in West Seneca. As it turns out, the device worked a little too well. Instead of just trapping ice, the dam has also been trapping some debris, including tree branches.

The obstructions can actually cause flooding.  The surrounding berm will become taller and longer downstream to prevent problems. The Army Corps is hiring an Ohio firm to make the upgrades.

“That is intended to direct the flow if debris backs up into the wetlands area or flood area and flow in such manner that it is not high velocity and it would flow back into the stream without creating erosion or scour,” Project Manager Geoffrey Hintz said.

The work on the $318,000 project will begin in mid-August and take two to four weeks to complete. Without the changes, Hintz says it could cause more problems.

Credit Andrew A. Kornacki, Public Affairs, Chief U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Buffalo District

“Water would eventually erode around the ice control structure and flow past it and the structure would not retain any ice. Ice would flow downstream during those mild weather temperature rises that causes ice to break up and then create ice jamming in West Seneca,” Hintz added.

Experts predict the structure will last 50 years. The Town of West Seneca will oversee the ice control device. There will also be a surveillance camera so West Seneca can monitor how the structure is working.

“This was a very good partnership with not only the (Department of Environmental Conservation) section responsible for flooding and dams but also with West Seneca that has had an ongoing problem forever. I look at it as a very good cooperation between federal, state and community to resolve a problem that exists,” Hintz said.