Pending Purchase Of Property In City Of Buffalo By Power Authority To Moor Vessels Used In Ice Boom Operation

Paul DeMichele

June 29, 2010


BUFFALO—New York Power Authority (NYPA) President and Chief Executive Officer Richard M. Kessel today announced the pending purchase of property in the City of Buffalo to moor the Power Authority’s barge, ice breaker and tug boat, which are used for performing winter maintenance on the Lake Erie-Niagara River Ice Boom.

The 15-acre parcel at 32 Fuhrmann Boulevard, located near the mouth of the Buffalo River in Buffalo’s Inner Harbor, will allow for safe winter access to the ice boom installation area and is sheltered from the winds off Lake Erie. NYPA has leased the location since 1991.

“Our purchase of this shoreline property, which we’ve leased for nearly two decades, became necessary as a result of the current owner’s plans to put the parcel on the market,” Richard M. Kessel, NYPA president and chief executive officer, said. “The property’s easy accessibility to the ice boom water installation area, along with the boom’s new warm-weather storage site, makes the continued use of this property essential for the work vessels that are relied upon for performing winter maintenance on the equipment each year. The ice boom provides essential support for the Niagara Power Project’s generation during the winter months, so the acquisition of the mooring property will contribute to the practices that we undertake for reducing ice accumulation that would otherwise interfere with the Niagara project’s operation.”

When in use during the winter months, the ice boom spans the mouth of the Niagara River at Lake Erie to reduce the amount of ice that would otherwise flow from the lake into the river. That helps to prevent ice buildup downstream at the water intakes of the Power Authority’s Niagara project, allowing water to keep flowing for power production. It also reduces shoreline erosion and destruction of property along the shoreline of the river.

The boom, which is jointly owned by the Power Authority and Ontario Power Generation, consists of 22 pontoon strings, each 500 feet long. The equipment covers a distance of 1.7 miles, with its use determined by guidelines of the International Joint Commission. Under those provisions, the boom is installed in Lake Erie on or about Dec. 16 of each year and removed in early spring

The ice boom is deployed, disassembled and maintained with the aid of the three vessels moored at the Fuhrmann Blvd. marina: the Daniel John Caire, The Breaker and the Havasu. In tandem, the vessels enable Niagara staff to efficiently manage the ice boom equipment and react to any ice buildup that may occur in the area surrounding the ice boom.

The property, which NYPA will purchase for approximately $4.4 million, is also used as a marina by recreational boaters in the summer months. NYPA intends to contract with a private entity for future management of the marina.

Last summer, NYPA purchased a new ice boom storage site, fulfilling a commitment the Power Authority made during the relicensing of the Niagara project to diligently seek to relocate the ice boom to an alternate site, freeing up the old storage site at the Buffalo Outer Harbor for the crucial efforts to revitalize the city waterfront. The agreement also provided for $279 million of NYPA funding and other support for revitalizing the Buffalo waterfront, developing the Erie County Greenway and promoting economic development.

NYPA is currently developing a 1.3-acre park on the northwest section of the new ice boom storage site—including a recreational boathouse facility and a canoe/kayak launch—which will be available for public use by the end of 2011.

About NYPA:

■ The New York Power Authority uses no tax money or state credit. It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity. ■ NYPA is a leader in promoting energy efficiency, new energy technologies and electric transportation initiatives. ■ It is the nation's largest state public power organization, with 17 generating facilities in various parts of New York State and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. ■ Approximately 80 percent of the electricity it produces is clean renewable hydropower.  Its lower-cost power production and electricity purchases support hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the state. ■For more information, www.nypa.gov.


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