The North Sandy Pond barrier bar is part of the largest barrier-pond ecosystem on Lake Ontario’s New York shore. The barrier bar protects North Sandy Pond, as well as the homes and local businesses along its border.
The area suffered significant damage in 2017 and 2019, when historically high lake levels and intense wave action eroded the dunes along the barrier bar.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced the completion of the restoration of the North Sandy Pond barrier bar, a $600,000 project awarded to the town of Sandy Creek, Oswego County, as part of the State’s Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative (REDI).
To restore the barrier bar and protect North Sandy Pond, sand along 4,000 feet of shoreline was replaced using sand dredged from the adjacent navigational channel and the shoal behind the channel. The sand had been washed into the channel during storm surges due to higher water levels on the lake.
In addition, local volunteers planted dune grass to help stabilize the reconstructed dunes. The completed project strengthens the barrier bar dividing North Sandy Pond and Lake Ontario, providing protection to homes and businesses.
North Sandy Pond is designated as a Significant Coastal Fish and Wildlife Habitat and is home to a variety of vegetation and wildlife. The restoration of the barrier bar is critical to maintain this wetland habitat for dune-dwelling plants, animals, fish, and birds.
DEC also announced the completion of a floodwall system to protect the Ontario Main Wastewater Pumping Station (WWPS) from future flooding.
The REDI Commission awarded the town of Ontario $400,000 to implement this flood resiliency project. The completed project in Wayne County will protect public health by mitigating the risk of flooding and the potential for related sewage overflows at the Ontario Main WWPS, which services wastewater for 6,000 residents, local businesses, and the neighboring Robert Emmett Ginna Nuclear Power Plant.
The Ontario Main WWPS REDI project also includes long-term infrastructure protections, including installation of a floodwall system designed to safeguard the WWPS and standby generator against rising floodwaters, minimizing damage to the pumps and generator, and reducing the risk of system failure.
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 flood prone regions along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.
For additional information, project profiles and REDI news, visit the REDI website.
Photo of North Sandy Pond barrier bar courtesy DEC.