Lake Ontario

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Friday morning update: The windy conditions over the past 24 hours has broken the ice up quite a bit. George Leshkevich is a physical scientist with the Great Lakes Environmental Laboratory now says the ice coverage is at about 56%, a 24% drop over the last day or so.

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Satellite images are showing that more than 82 percent of Lake Ontario is now frozen over. By comparison, 61 percent of the lake's surface was frozen in the first week of March last year.

Coalition promoting water level plan for Lake Ontario

Dec 10, 2014
Gino Geruntino / WRVO

A coalition of land owners, elected officials, environmental groups and others are launching a campaign calling on the governments of the U.S.  and Canada to move ahead with the latest plan, called Plan 2014, to regular water levels on Lake Ontario.

Proponents say Plan 2014 would restore Lake Ontario to more natural levels by controlling dams along the St. Lawrence River.

Leah Landry / WRVO

Boosters of a controversial plan to ease the regulation of Lake Ontario water levels are continuing their push to get the federal government to agree to the proposal. The outdoor sports community is lining up behind Plan 2014.

Plan 2014 eliminates a 50-year-old policy of regulating water levels of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. Proponents want lake levels to go up and down naturally, which they say would bring back some of the wildlife damaged by the practice.

Julia Botero / WRVO

Local politicians, environmentalists and business owners gathered in Clayton Wednesday to urge Washington, D.C. to adopt a new plan to manage water levels on the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario.

The current plan is 55 years old. This new one promises to restore wetlands and wildlife to the waterways while also extending the boating season. But the issue has been debated for over a decade.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

They are in products people use every day to help get grime off their hands, keep their faces acne free and even make their teeth pearly white. But environmentalists and New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) say plastic microbeads are polluting the country's lakes and streams.

While standing in front of Lake Ontario, Gillibrand announced her push to get companies to remove microbeads from personal care products like hand soap, facial scrubs and toothpaste, citing the harmful effects they have on the environment.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

The Port of Oswego has spent the summer replacing rail lines and creating a rail yard east of its main site in Oswego to help the facility continue its planned expansion. But the project has some Oswego residents worried that those changes could prevent them from visiting a stretch of shoreline along Lake Ontario that has been accessible for years.

Rocco Saya created a Facebook page to gather supporters of an openly accessible shoreline. He says the Port of Oswego has not fully communicated its intentions for the area with citizens.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Both sides in the debate over a plan to regulate water levels in Lake Ontario are stepping up lobbying efforts. Plan 2014 pits property owners against environmentalists and sportsmen.

At the center of the debate are wetlands, like the Lakeview Wildlife Management Area in South Sandy Creek.

Bob Jordan is a sportsman who’s been boating, fishing and trapping in these streams and marshes all his life, and doesn’t see a healthy ecosystem when he looks across the marshy area near the shore of Lake Ontario.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

Members from about 20 different federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and Canada were on Lake Ontario today to take part in a full-scale security and preparedness exercise.

Dale Currier, director of the Oswego County Emergency Management Office, says today's exercise dealt with the loss of a commercial radiation source being brought in from Canada, and could have been used in a dirty bomb if it fell into the wrong hands.
 

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Besides some clouds on Nov. 12, 2013, Air National Guard crew members recalled to accident investigators that it was a nice day for flying.

But it was a cold, late fall day, just below freezing on the ground at Fort Drum, where the Air National Guard launches its remotely piloted aircraft for training missions over upstate New York. 

Roger Pawlowski

A team of shipwreck explorers recently discovered an Air Force plane deep below the surface of Lake Ontario, more than 60 years after it crashed.

It was late at night on September 11, 1952 when an Air force C-45 was flying from Massachusetts to Grifiss Air Force base in Rome. But before it could reach Grifiss, it lost an engine. The pilot set the plane on autopilot and the five member crew parachuted out.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

The Nature Conservancy and other environmental groups are making use of a recently developed DNA sampling technique to determine whether or not any invasive species might be swimming, living or growing in the Oswego River and Erie Canal. By taking hundreds of water samples, the group believes it can slow the growth of invasive species in the state.

Ray Sawhill/flickr

The International Joint Commission says its recommendations to help restore some of the natural water levels on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence Seaway will also benefit the lake's wetland wildlife. According to the commission, Plan 2014 will help Lake Ontario get closer to its natural ebb and flow throughout the year.

Commissioner Dereth Glance says Plan 2014 strikes a balance between the current plan and the lakes original water levels about 60 years ago.
 

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

The Air Force's investigation into the crash of a drone aircraft into Lake Ontario last fall is nearing completion and should be made public later this spring.

Investigators from the Air Force Investigations Board wrapped up the on-site investigation at Hancock Airfield on March 20, according to 174th Air Guard Attack Wing spokeswoman Maj. Sandy Stoquert.

Investigators did not give the 174th a preliminary report or portions of its finding yet, Stoquert said.

David Chanatry/New York State Reporting Project

Lake Ontario is boasting some of the best sport fishing among the Great Lakes, thanks to a successful stocking program by New York state's environmental management agency.

The Department of Environmental Conservation pumps ample supplies of trout and salmon into Lake Ontario and its tributaries every year. It attracts anglers from all over -- more than 2.5 million each season.

Center for Environmental Initiatives

Community members from across western New York came together in Rochester Thursday to address the issue of pollution in the Genesee River, and create an action plan for the immediate future.

The summit, run by the Center for Environmental Initiatives, was spurred by a new study which suggests human activity along the Genesee River Basin is having a direct impact on the water quality in Lake Ontario.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Updated, Thursday, 8:26 p.m.:

The Air National Guard has found pieces of its unmanned drone that crashed into Lake Ontario earlier this week.

Recovery efforts continued on Thursday and debris was found along the shoreline, according to Maj. Sandy Stoquert, a public affairs officer for the 174th Attack Wing based in Syracuse.

The MQ-9 Reaper crashed into the eastern part of the lake Tuesday afternoon during a training flight that had taken off three hours earlier from Ft. Drum.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Anti-drone activists hope the recent crash of an unmanned military drone aircraft will "poke people awake" about their dangers.

No one was injured when the 174th Attack Wing of the Air National Guard lost an MQ-9 Reaper drone into Lake Ontario during a training flight Tuesday, but the 8,000 pound aircraft crashed just 20 miles northeast of Oswego and 12 miles off shore.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

More federal dollars being available to make upgrades to ports and waterways in upstate New York is closer to reality as the Water Resources Reform and Development Act, or WRRDA, passed the House of Representatives last night.

The bill frees up $8.2 billion in funds for water infrastructure upgrades. It also defunds never-implemented projects worth $12 billion and streamlines applications and approvals of funding.

Should a ship be deliberately sunk in Lake Ontario?

Oct 4, 2013
Vlad Litvinov / Flickr

The possibility of deliberately sinking a ship in Lake Ontario will be discussed at a seminar Saturday at SUNY Oswego. Dave White, of New York Sea Grant, which is hosting the conference, says sinking a vessel along the shoreline would create a tourism spot for recreational divers and also provide a habitat for fish.

Ashley Hirtzel/WBFO

The Environmental Protection Agency outlined its plans to clean up a heavily polluted creek at a public meeting in Lockport on Tuesday. But some residents in the western New York community are concerned that the plans won’t happen fast enough, with an official decision not scheduled until the end of September.

Ray Sawhill/flickr

The organization responsible for regulating water levels on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River is holding a series of public hearings in upstate New York and Canada this week, presenting a new management plan. The International Joint Commission, or IJC, attracted criticism for its last draft of the plan, called Bv7, which aimed to alter water levels to decrease environmental damage around the Great Lake.

Sarah Harris/Innovation Trail

The Lois McClure is a replica of an 1862 canal schooner that's also a floating museum. This summer she's commemorating 19th century transportation history by traveling from Lake Champlain, across the canal system to Buffalo, down the St. Lawrence river to Montreal, and back again.

Another new St. Lawrence and Lake Ontario water levels plan

Jun 14, 2013
Photo: Jenni Werndorf

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.

Why low Lake Ontario levels mean high St. Lawrence levels

May 18, 2013
Photo courtesy New York Power Authority

For quite some time, the Great Lakes -- from Superior to Ontario -- have been at historically low water levels. So many people were surprised  this week that regulators are lowering the gates at the Iroquois Dam near Ogdensburg because the St. Lawrence River is too high.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

A small cylinder armed with research equipment is bobbing through Lake Ontario this week. It’s collecting data from a seasonal temperature barrier known as a thermal bar.

Hamilton Conservation Authority / via Flickr

The water levels in Lake Ontario have a significant impact on the economic and environmental viability of harbors in upstate New York and Canada. As a result, a proposed plan to change the management of those water levels has raised some concerns in waterfront communities.

Reintroducing Atlantic salmon to the Salmon River

Jan 1, 2013
David Chanatry/New York State Reporting Project

In recent years both the federal and New York state governments have been studying how best to re-introduce – salmon -- to New York’s Salmon River.  That might come as a surprise to anyone who’s ever fished the river, known for its salmon of eye-popping size. 

Oscar the Standard Poodle

Dec 11, 2012

As life starts to get back to normal in the parts of New York and New Jersey that were devastated by Hurricane Sandy, other areas of the country are asking themselves if they could have weathered that kind of storm.

The Great Lakes Week

Jul 25, 2012

John Weeks discusses the events of the 1984 Great Lakes Week. This festival included Native American storytelling, water sports, film screenings and concerts.WeeksThis essay describes the activities and goals of this free (and now extinct) celebration. Weeks explains how each citizen should be well aware of the history and uses of the 193 mile-long Lake Ontario.

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