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River Road residents warn of more flooding

January 10, 2012
By JESSICA COLLIER - Staff Writer ( , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

TUPPER LAKE - Residents who were under water during spring flooding on River Road in spring 2010 are warning flooding could happen again this spring.

River Road resident Larry Reandeau told the town board Monday night that he already has standing water in his yard and the water level is higher than it's ever been at this time of year in the three decades he's lived there.

He said he predicted last year's spring flooding, too.

"It doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out if you've got snow this deep in the woods and the water's already high -?it's math," Reandeau said. "It's going to flood."

He and Tupper Lake Free Press owner Dan McClelland, who also lives on River Road, asked the town board to talk to officials at Orion Power New York, which monitors the Setting Pole Dam, and see if they will agree to opening the dam more to keep water levels lower.

If the water level had been lowered at this time last year, he doesn't think the flooding in Tupper Lake would have been as bad.

Reandeau said he wants all of the parties that control dams along the Raquette River to get together and coordinate the water levels like the Tennessee Valley Authority does in the South.

He said there's not enough oversight of the local dams. He produced Orion Power New York's records of the water levels and dam openings at Setting Pole Dam last April. While the record shows all the dam's gates were fully open on April 1, he said he checked them that day and that wasn't the case.

Reandeau also gave the town board copies of court rulings from 1911 and 1966 that govern the flow of water through the dams. According to the 1966 decision by Justice Robert G. Main, the water level has to remain higher than 1,543 feet above sea level, but only between April 1 and Oct. 1. Reandeau said he's hoping the town can work out an agreement with Orion that would drop the water below that for the rest of the year.

Town Supervisor Roger Amell said he thinks that time frame would need to be changed to lower water levels through May to have an impact.

Amell said the board would work on arranging a meeting with the people who make decisions about the dam, and he told Reandeau and McClelland, who also lives on River Road, they could participate in the discussion when it happens.



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