US Army Corps of Engineers
Buffalo District

Water Level Info

Up to date water level information can be found here.

Lake Ontario High Water Permitting

Lake Ontario High Water USACE Permit Guidance

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Buffalo District, in cooperation with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has issued guidance regarding permits available for the purpose of shore protection to safeguard existing functional erosion control structures, roads, bridges, infrastructure, and property along Lake Ontario shoreline and the Saint Lawrence River including affected portions of navigable bays and tributaries.

On May 2, 2017, the DEC issued a Storm Recovery General Permit (GP) GP-0-17-006 for Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River Shoreline areas of the counties of Cayuga, Jefferson, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans, Oswego, St. Lawrence and Wayne in DEC Regions 6, 7, 8 and 9, which expired.

On June 28, 2018, the DEC issued a new General Permit (GP-0-18-002) for Lake Ontario Erosion Control which covers the same Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River Shoreline areas as GP-0-17-006. Applications for coverage must be received by the DEC prior to April 30, 2019. The expiration date to complete work under this permit has been extended to September 30, 2019.

Details of the DEC GP and instructions for applicants can be found at:

Projects that qualify for the General Permit will also qualify for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Nationwide Permit (NWP) No. 3, 13, and/or 19 and have received Coastal Consistency Certification from the New York State Department of State (NYSDOS).

All GP applications must be submitted to the DEC who will determine if the GP applies. If the GP applies, no coordination with the USACE or NYSDOS is required except for the following circumstances where you must contact the USACE at 716-879-4330 or to obtain approval prior to starting work:

               1. For NWP No. 13 if proposed bank stabilization work will exceed 500 linear feet.

2. To ensure compliance with the Endangered Species Act:

              a.) All projects involving tree removal in any of the affected counties

b.) For projects in federal jurisdictional wetlands in: Towns of Huron and Wolcott, Wayne County and all Towns in Cayuga and Oswego Counties

c.) For any work subject to this permit in the Towns of Sandy Creek and Richland, Oswego County, and the Towns of Henderson and Ellisburg, Jefferson County. 

To ensure permit compliance please review the complete terms and conditions of the Corps Nationwide Permits that can be accessed here.

Projects not qualifying for the GP

A joint application form (click here) must be submitted separately to DEC, USACE, & NYSDOS. Repair of damages resulting from Lake Ontario high water levels beyond the scope of the General Permit or Nationwide Permit will receive priority permit application review or may qualify for an individual emergency authorization.  USACE regulations define an “emergency” as a situation, which would result in an unacceptable hazard to life, a significant loss of property or an immediate, unforeseen, and significant economic hardship if corrective action requiring a permit is not undertaken within a time period less than the normal time needed to process the application under standard procedures.  Any permit request received that is associated with the 2017 Lake Ontario high water event will be reviewed as expeditiously as possible to determine if it truly constitutes an emergency situation in accordance with Corps regulations.  

For more information:

Buffalo District Regulatory Home Page
Telephone: (716)879-4330
Fax: (716)879-4310

19 May 2017 - New York State Coastal Erosion Hazard Area Information is available HERE.  To view a New York State Coastal Erosion  Hazard Area General map, click HERE.

Lake Ontario High Water Level Information

Under Public Law 84-99 the Corps of Engineers may provide assistance for flood response activities to save lives and protect improved property (i.e. public facilities/services and residential/commercial developments) during or following a flood or coastal storm. All assistance is supplemented through local and State governmental authorities.

Prior to calling the Corps of Engineers for assistance, homeowners should first contact their town, county, and state officials.
Governor’s Hotline: 866-244-3839

“Our District Emergency Management office continues to coordinate with local and state emergency management offices to ensure the Corps of Engineers is making as many resources available to aid during this ongoing emergency.  The Corps is committed to supplementing the State’s coordinated emergency response along the Lake Ontario coast and rapidly deploying our technical teams to contribution to the collective effort."
~ Lt. Col. Adam Czekanski, USACE Buffalo District Commander. 

Photos from the field

USACE Technical Field Team Locations Update - May 15, 2017

USACE Technical Field Team Updated Report - May 13, 2017

USACE field teams on the ground along Lake Ontario shoreline - May 12, 2017

USACE issues Declaration of Emergency to assist local and state governments - May 3, 2017

For questions regarding Plan 2014 please contact:
Frank Bevacqua, IJC Public Affairs
Telephone: 202-736-9024        
Cell: 202-412-1017 

USACE Public Affairs, Andrew Kornacki