From the Wellsville Daily Reporter, December 6, 1972.
County historical unit opposes area dam
By Dan Babcock
The Allegany County Historical Society has urged Allegany County residents to write their congressman opposing the proposed Stannards dam and supporting a series of small impoundments for flood control throughout the county.
Main speakers at the meeting of the Historical Society last night in the Belmont courthouse were William Green, Allegany County Historian, Ernest Witter, special duty to the state master of the N.Y.S. Grange, and Lawrence Walters, president of the Historical Society.
Mr. Walters said that the dam project was created by the Army Corps of Engineers. And that the question for area people is how to make known to officials that they don't want the dam but rather a number of small impoundments. He indicated that members should try to contact Congressman James Hastings to make their feelings known.
Mr. Witter, from Cuba, said that the Stannards dam can only be used as a recreational dam, and that it will do no good for flood control purposes, Wellsville, he said, got much of its flood water from Andover. He added that city people are crying for recreation and clean water, but water in this area will not remain clean if the dam is allowed to become recreational. He cited as examples Cuba and Rushford Lakes, which are now experiencing pollution problems from their sewage.
If the Stannards dam were to be built, Mr. Witter said, thousands of acres would be taken off of the tax rolls, and the Townships of Alma, Willing, and Independence could not stand this. Further, the dam would not bring in money. He cited the Almond Dam as one which has not stimulated economy and which has become polluted.
Mr. Witter said that in Cattaraugus County during the June flood, a series of small dams in the Ischua area controlled flood waters adequately. The same could be done in Allegany County, he noted. He asked if the population increases as much as the Genesee Valley River Basin study says it will, where will the food come from? He implied the area should lose no farmland because it could be used to produce food.
It was noted at the meeting that the Corps of Engineers has indicated that the main purpose of the Stannards dam is irrigation for Orleans County.
The dam was first proposed in 1970 by the Genesee River Basin Regional Water Resources Planning Board and the Army Corps of Engineers.
The $37 million project called for a 90-foot-high dam, 2,300 feet long across the Genesee River four miles south of Wellsville. It would have a storage capacity of 97,500 acre feet.
Opponents of it claim it will hurt the wildlife environment and take away valuable real estate.