Another new St. Lawrence and Lake Ontario water levels plan

Jun 14, 2013

People along the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario will get a chance to weigh in on a new water levels plan next month.

Regulators say the plan, called “Plan 2014,” still helps the environment by returning more natural ebbs and flows to the water bodies. But they would have caused more shoreline damage on Lake Ontario.

The International Joint Commission calls an improvement on last summer’s “Bv7," an improvement on plan “B+”. The IJC has been studying a century of data for ten years now to find the optimal replacement for the original 55 year-old formula for controlling water levels on the St. Lawrence and Lake Ontario.

IJC engineer David Faye says it also helps Lake Ontario property owners by establishing a trigger when the lake gets too high.

"Where the Board of Control would have the authority to take extraordinary action when water levels are above the high trigger, and by doing so, there are some benefits in terms of reduced costs to shoreline property, shore protection," he said.

Faye says Plan 2014 is “minorly” less good for the environment than Plan Bv7 would have been. But he called it “a good compromise.”

The IJC has scheduled six public hearings on July, including July 16 on the southern shore of Lake Ontario and July 17 in the Thousand Islands. The final date for public comment is August 30.