Watertown Daily Times | DEC employees assist residents with questions, permit applications

OGDENSBURG — Sandra J. Grausam said her waterfront camp, which is below the water line on McDonald Road, was built before the St. Lawrence Seaway opened in the 1950s.

Even though the camp has been there for decades, Ms. Grausam said this is the first year it has flooded.

Ms. Grausam was one of several area residents on Friday who visited the emergency response mobile command center temporarily positioned at the Dobisky Center, 100 Riverside Ave., to get questions answered, apply for permits and potentially file insurance claims related to high water damage along the St. Lawrence River.

Ms. Grausam scrolled through pictures of the flooded camp on her cell phone and showed them to state Department of Environmental Conservation Regional Director Judy Drabicki and Regional Habitat Manager Christopher J. Balk.

“You can see where all the debris came up,” Ms. Grausam said to Ms. Drabicki and Mr. Balk, while pointing to a picture. “We have a lot of clean up to do.”

Last week, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo declared a state of emergency in Cayuga, Jefferson, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans, Oswego, St. Lawrence and Wayne counties to expedite repair to affected structures and construction of shoreline stabilization projects due to elevated water levels.

The mobile center in Ogdensburg was set up a couple of times throughout last week to assist St. Lawrence County residents who had insurance questions and claims related to damage related to high water along the St. Lawrence River. DEC officials were on hand to provide on-site permitting and work with property owners to address erosion, offer technical guidance and provide on-site emergency permitting to residents.

“Our job is to protect the environment,” Ms. Drabicki said, “so what we do in our permitting is to try to let people do some of what they want to do but also in the context of protecting the environment.”

Many residents’ properties are eroding because the…

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