Fair Haven

A privately owned dock is submerged in Fair Haven Tuesday, June 6. 

The Citizen file

President Donald Trump approved a major disaster declaration Tuesday for six counties affected by flooding along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. 

The declaration will ensure state and local governments can receive federal funding to cover the costs of emergency response and infrastructure repairs. The aid will also assist with the implementation of hazard mitigation measures, according to the White House. 

There will not be any direct assistance provided to homeowners. A $45 million state flood recovery program includes grants for homeowners and small businesses. 

The White House also announced that Seamus Leary has been designated as the federal coordinator officer for federal recovery operations in the counties covered by the declaration. 

The major disaster area is comprised of Jefferson, Niagara, Orleans, Oswego, St. Lawrence and Wayne counties. 

Cayuga and Monroe counties weren't included in the initial disaster declaration approved by Trump. U.S. Rep. John Katko's office said the claims for Cayuga and Monroe counties remain under review. 

Once the review is finished, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will either amend the existing declaration to add Cayuga and Monroe counties or, if the counties' claims are denied, the state will have 30 days to appeal the decision. 

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the disaster declaration will be a "well-deserved shot in the arm" for the affected communities.

"It will provide federal funds for many counties hit hard by the relentless lake flooding, but we will keep up the pressure until we secure the same support for both Monroe and Cayuga counties," Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement. 

Record rainfall has been blamed for high water levels along the lake and river. In May, the lake level rose to 248.9 feet, which broke a record that stood for 65 years. 

To counter the excessive rain, the International Joint Commission increased lake outflows. The outflows increased to 360,200 cubic feet per second — the highest amount in two decades. 

Upstate New York members of Congress and the state's U.S. senators, Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, urged FEMA to approve the disaster assistance. 

U.S. Rep. Claudia Tenney, whose district includes the eastern portion of Oswego County, called the flooding along the lake "unprecedented."

"We are grateful to President Trump and FEMA for issuing a major disaster declaration and providing this support from the federal government to ensure our communities can address these costs and mitigate against future flooding," she said. 

Online producer Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or robert.harding@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.