Lake Ontario

Draken Expedition America

The replica Viking ship Draken Harald Hårfagre has sailed out of the Great Lakes, wrapping up a contentious visit.

The 115-foot Norwegian vessel sailed across the Atlantic Ocean this spring and toured Canadian and U.S. waters all summer. It made stops in Chicago, Detroit and Green Bay where visitors came aboard for tours. But as of now, the Draken has no plans to return to the Great Lakes.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

When the Draken Harald Hårfagre long-ship floated into Oswego's harbor Sunday morning, 48 hours late, H. Lee White Maritime Museum director Mercedes Niess said she was relieved.

"Honestly, when they finally came around the lighthouse here I started to tear up," Niess said. "We’re just so glad because we were on pins and needles of whether today would happen."

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Environmental critics of nuclear power are seizing on a few safety incidents at the FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant detailed in a report from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). 

Jim Kennard


An eighteenth century sloop called the Washington has been discovered off the coast of Oswego.

Jim Kennard, Roger Pawlowski, and Roland Stevens found the ship, which sank in 1803. It is the second oldest wreck discovered in Lake Ontario.

Kennard and his team used sonar technology and a remotely operated vehicle to locate the sloop.

"As an explorer, you can't be the first one to the top of a mountain because most mountains have been climbed, but you can be the first one to make a discovery of a shipwreck," said Kennard.

Great Lake Ontario National Marine Sanctuary

Shipwrecks are a big draw for divers and tourists in the great lakes. Now – for the first time in 20 years -- more communities are getting help in preserving and showing off their underwater treasures. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is expanding its national marine sanctuary program. For Oswego and other communities on the Great Lakes, that designation would bring federal funding and a boost to tourism

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has finished a dredging project at the Oswego harbor, resulting in the removal of 175,000 cubic yards of sediment. That will allow the Port of Oswego to accommodate bigger ships with more cargo.

At a press conference marking the project's completion Wednesday, Port of Oswego Authority Chairman Terrence Hammill said the port is on track to create an economic impact for central New York worth $50 million, a record amount.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oswego County celebrated its bicentennial over the Independence Day weekend. A float with historic county officials glided through the annual Oswego parade, the Oswego Stamp Club sold special historic stamps noting the bicentennial and later in the day residents gathered at the historic Fort Ontario for a picnic and presentation.

Farmers helping to limit algae in Great Lakes

Jul 2, 2016
Elizabeth Miller / Great Lakes Today

Summers along the Great Lakes include fishing, boating -- and dangerous algae blooms that can shut down beaches. These blooms are caused by excess phosphorous, a lot of which comes from farms. Now some of the region's farmers are testing agricultural practices that could reduce harmful runoff.

Duane Stateler and his son Anthony run Stateler Family Farms, one of a handful of demonstrations farms across the country. Over the next five years, three farms in Northwest Ohio will test different practices to find out what reduces phosphorus runoff.

Jim Kennard

A schooner that sank off the shores of New York in Lake Ontario almost a century and a half ago has been discovered.

Underwater explorer Jim Kennard says he and his colleagues Roger Pawlowski and Roland Stevens were canvassing miles of lake bottom with a remote control video camera when it happened.

"All of a sudden you see something and the adrenaline kicks in."

Petty Officer 3rd Class Lauren Laughlin / U.S. Coast Guard District 9

New York state is investigating the unexpected shutdown of the FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant in Oswego County on Friday. The state Public Service Department says as a result of the shutdown, a stuck valve released oil into Lake Ontario Sunday. The source of the leak, which was not radioactive,has been stopped. And now, the U.S. Coast Guard says the process of removing the oil from the lake has begun.

Jason Smith / WRVO News

Oswego County Administrator Phil Church is a shipwreck diver and photographer in his off time. These days, he's bringing his hobby to work. Church is coordinating an effort between Oswego, Jefferson, Cayuga and Wayne counties and the city of Oswego to have the southeastern part of Lake Ontario designated as a national marine sanctuary. There are only 14 in the world and Church said Oswego has a good case to join that list.

ceedub13 / Flickr, Creative Commons

A non-profit says The St. Lawrence River is one of the 10 most endangered rivers in the country. American Rivers say the fish and wildlife of the St. Lawrence will remain in jeopardy until the U.S. and Canada approves a plan for controlling its water levels.

Bill Olsen / Nanos Clarkson University Research Collaboration

The Jefferson County town of Henderson paid $20,000 for researchers from the Nanos Clarkson Research Collaboration to determine what affects -- positive or negative -- a wind farm on Galloo Island might have on their lakeside town.

The residents who showed up at Henderson’s fire hall Monday night wanted answers. Most live in the lake-side town year round, a few made the drive from their winter homes. They were there to know what to expect if a developer constructs a 31-turbine wind farm 11-miles off shore on Galloo Island.

Researcher Stephen Bird summed up the findings.

Payne Horning, Leah Landry / WRVO News

Oswego officials commemorated the completion of its $19 million breakwater wall renovation Wednesday. The Oswego Harbor's wall stops incoming waves, but the magnitude of 2012's Superstorm Sandy devastated the structure.

"Just three years ago, Superstorm Sandy ravaged the northeast," said Lt. Col. Karl Jansen, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Buffalo district. "A lot of that attention goes to the Atlantic coast, but it impacted the great lakes, Lake Ontario and Lake Erie to a degree as well."

Julia Botero / WRVO news

This weekend is expected to be another beautiful one -- sunny with temperatures in the 70s.  For many that means getting in one last swim of the season. WRVO's Julia Botero takes us to her favorite swimming hole, about a half hour west of Watertown in Robert Wehle State Park near Henderson in Jefferson County.

Coalition for Great Lake Ontario National Marine Sanctuary

Officials from a portion of Lake Ontario that borders from Jefferson County down through Wayne County want that portion of the lake to become a national marine sanctuary. The coalition of activists and government leaders from four counties are applying for the federal designation that would put it in the same category as places like the Florida Keys.

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.

Our original post

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 News File Photo

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 Sawhillv / 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.

Investigation into drone crash nearing completion

Apr 8, 2014
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.