Authorities issue emergency declarations, boating restrictions in Finger Lakes

Flood damage in Penn Yan last week.

New York has issued an emergency declaration for Yates and Ontario counties for recovery work following storms and flooding last week.

Under the declaration, the Department of Environmental Conservation's regional office can issue permits or emergency authorizations for cleaning up debris and repairing structures damaged in the storms.

The department says landowners needing authorization should contact the office as soon as possible.

Commissioner Joe Martens says it should help start work quickly and minimize the storm's impacts.

State law allows the DEC to issue general permits following natural disasters when many people need to do similar projects.

A state of emergency was declared last week in Yates County in the Finger Lakes region after flash flooding caused by heavy rains forced evacuations and closed roads.

In related news, authorities have banned boats from one of the Finger Lakes and placed speed restrictions on three others because of high water levels caused by last week's flooding.

Heavy rains caused severe flooding that resulted in extensive damage in neighboring Yates and Ontario counties southeast of Rochester.

The Yates County Sheriff's Office has banned power boats from Keuka Lake until the water recedes. Sheriff Ron Spike says displaced docks and trees up to 40 feet long have been spotted floating in the lake.

Boating speed limits of no more than five miles per hour are in effect for parts of Seneca, Canandaigua and Honeoye lakes because of high water and floating debris.

Officials in Ontario County are advising boaters on Canandaigua and Honeoye lakes to steer well away from shore because many docks remain submerged.