A horseshoe-bend in the Susquehanna River in the town of Unadilla is getting closer to homes and businesses, according to a town councilman.

The river has shifted course since about 1987 and has cut a path to the north through former farmland, close to where Sheep Pen Road meets state Route 7, said Councilman Roger Cecce on Sunday.

It is believed that a beaver dam was the original cause for the deflection of the river, which was made much worse from the flooding in 2006, he said.

If the river continues to erode the land between it and state Route 7, it could threaten a fabric shop, a construction company fabrication shop, an ice cream stand and several residences, Cecce said.

The Unadilla Town Board has formed a committee to look at how the problem can be addressed, including diverting the river back to its pre-1987 channel.

But Cecce said it appears that the federal government must be involved in any effort to change the course of the river.

Assemblyman Pete Lopez, R-Schoharie, state Sen. James L. Seward, R-Milford, and a representative from the district office of Rep. Michael Arcuri, D-Utica, are expected to attend a meeting Friday morning in Unadilla with representatives from the Army Corps of Engineer, and the state Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Transportation.

Local officials expected to attend the meeting include Scott Fickbohm of the Otsego County Soil and Water Conservation District and county Rep. Greg Relic, R-Unadilla.

"It's a monstrous task," Cecce said.

Over the years, the river has moved several hundred yards, leaving behind silted-in areas where the channel once was, he said.

The purpose of the meeting is to inform government officials about the problem and see what can be done to resolve it, Cecce said.

"That's what we're all getting together for," he said, adding that the session it was not intended as a public hearing.

Cecce said he would like to see the erosion prevention work in that area tied into planned flood-prevention work a short distance downstream in the village of Sidney.

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