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Jay supervisor Randy Douglas listens as local residents testify about flooding fears. Photo:  Brian Mann
Jay supervisor Randy Douglas listens as local residents testify about flooding fears. Photo: Brian Mann

In Ausable Forks, river residents demand a plan

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At a meeting last night in Ausable Forks, dozens of local residents turned out at a public meeting to talk about the long-term response to flooding along the Ausable River.

Many community leaders are concerned that changes to the river, including build-up of sediment and the widening of the channel, could spark more flooding and ice jams in the future. Martha Foley has more.

NOTE: Brian Mann will have an in-depth look at river management questions tomorrow during The Eight O'Clock Hour.

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Reported by

Brian Mann
Adirondack Bureau Chief

Some residents, including Henrietta Jordan from the town of Keene, called for a new river management plan aimed at protecting homes and businesses.

"There's a lot of work that's going to have to be done to prevent future flooding to get our river and streams back to a state where they're not going to be causing so much damage when we have severe weather events."

Local government officials, including Jay town supervisor Randy Douglas, acknowledged the need for planning, but said they faced big questions about how that kind of project would be paid for.

"We cannot absorb the cost of the Ausable River on the backs of the taxpayers of 2,506 people in the town of Jay or the 40,000 people in Essex County."

A wide array of river experts and scientists spoke at the meeting, including Roman Rakoczy with the Army Corps of Engineers.

"Everybody's talking about trying to eliminate flooding.  We're not going to stop flooding, let's be realistic.  This event, you can't build a project big enough.  It just won't happen.  You couldn't do it for Katrina.  You couldn't do it here."

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