Lake Ontario

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Summer is approaching, but many of New York state's beaches along Lake Ontario are closed.

Cathy Goodnough

Lake Ontario is now 33 inches above its long-term average and it's not yet at its peak. That sustained flooding is threatening residents along the shorelines and scientists say it is also taking a toll on the environment.

Veronica Volk / Great Lakes Today

Plan 2014 is unpopular with some residents of the southern shore of Lake Ontario, because it lets the water levels get higher, more frequently, and potentially for longer periods of time, which could cause damage to lakefront property owners.

So it makes sense that flooded homeowners like Tom Piekunka in Sodus Point are blaming the change in regulation for the change in their environment.

"This is what they want. They want the higher water. We're just collateral damage."

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Water levels on Lake Ontario are still going up and still have not yet peaked, but property owners already have been assessing the damage. 

Veronica Volk / Great Lakes Today

Flooding continues along the Lake Ontario shoreline and there’s no end in sight. Many residents and New York’s governor say the solution lies with a huge dam that straddles the U.S- Canada border. But the reality is not so simple.

Tom Piekunka stands in an inch of water in his backyard in Sodus Point. Water from Lake Ontario is still on the rise, and it's creeping closer and closer to the bright yellow two-story cottage where his family has lived for generations.

"If this was just a house I wouldn't care," he says. "But, it's a home."

Dale Currier / Oswego County Emergency Management Office

The water level in Lake Ontario is now higher than is been in more than 60 years, before water levels started being regulated in the 1950s.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The continued swelling of Lake Ontario is offering little relief to shoreline residents in central New York. Water levels on Lake Ontario have risen more than 9 inches since May 1, and are at the highest level since the 1950s, before water levels started being regulated.

Veronica Volk / Great Lakes Today

Due to heavy rains, Lake Ontario is overflowing its banks. Some New Yorkers want to lower the lake level by releasing water from a dam downstream. But the International Joint Commission, which controls the dam, says that will bring more flooding to Montreal. And the city is already reeling.

According to Jacob Bruxer at the IJC, Quebec is in for an historic weekend. The region has already been dealing with high water levels and flash flooding due to heavy rains over the last week and now it's projected to get worse.

Old Fort Niagara pummeled by Lake Ontario flood waters

May 4, 2017
Old Fort Niagara / French Castle

Concerns are growing that the historic structures at Old Fort Niagara could be at risk of damage from Lake Ontario's flood waters. The fort is located at the mouth of the Niagara River, where it meets the lake.

This week, the staff at Fort Niagara noticed several trees were missing from the bank, just east of the fort. On closer investigation, they determined that rising waters and winds caused a portion of the embankment to collapse into the lake, taking the trees with it.

Payne Horning / WRVO

State and local officials hope a new emergency declaration from the governor will improve their response to flooding along Lake Ontario, but the lake is already taking a toll.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Powerful winds and thunderstorms are mixing with the high water levels in Lake Ontario to wreak havoc on homeowners along the shoreline. It's prompting New York state to declare a state of emergency for Oswego, Jefferson, Cayuga and other counties along Lake Ontario.

Veronica Volk / Great Lakes Today

Lake Ontario is 20 inches higher than normal, and New York towns along the south shore are filling sandbags and making other flood preparations.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Water levels continue to rise on Lake Ontario, and the National Weather Service has issued a Lakeshore Flood Warning for Oswego and Jefferson counties from 4 p.m. Tuesday until 4 p.m. Wednesday. 

Jason Smith / WRVO News File Photo

More communities along the shoreline of Lake Ontario are being threatened as water levels continue to rise. As of April 24, water levels are more than 20 inches above the average for this time of year.

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

With Lake Ontario's waters continuing to rise. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has directed state agencies to assist communities for possible flooding. 

More than 130,000 sandbags have been deployed to the region, as residents prepare for flooding in low-elevation areas.

In some areas, sandbags have been positioned in locations that experienced flooding in the past few days and weeks. Other state assets have been staged at the regional stockpile in Monroe County.

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

Residents who live along the shoreline of Lake Ontario have been trying to stay ahead of rising water levels that are threatening their properties.

Jason Smith / WRVO News

Residents along the southern shore of Lake Ontario are trying to protect their property from potential flooding as water levels continue to rise.

Edgewater Resources

After a year of gathering input, Edgewater Resources has unveiled its final plan for how to transform Oswego's waterfront area along Lake Ontario. The consultant's latest draft calls for two flat rock beaches, an expansion of the marina and overhauling the pier with an elevated sand beach, restaurants and a recreational green space for community events.

Edgewater President Greg Weykamp says it delivers on the community's desire for more access to Lake Ontario.

Payne Horning

For years, the Sea Grant program has helped Americans learn about the oceans, the Great Lakes and other waters. Now, President Donald Trump wants to stop funding it.

That has some New York educators worried -- including a group of middle and high school science teachers who recently gathered for a Great Lakes training seminar. At SUNY Oswego's Rice Creek Field Station, they clustered around bins full of classroom activities they can implement into their lessons about the Great Lakes. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

A nomination to make part of Lake Ontario a national marine sanctuary is moving forward. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is accepting the application for further consideration. 

Oswego, Jefferson, Wayne and Cayuga counties put together the application after NOAA decided to add to its current list of 14 marine sanctuaries. It could help preserve dozens of known and unknown historic shipwrecks in 1,700 square miles of the southeastern portion of the lake for further study.

Veronica Volk / Great Lakes Today

Jon Gee of Environment and Climate Change Canada stands on a platform overlooking a part of the Hamilton, Ontario, harbor called Randle Reef. It's one of the most polluted sites on Canada’s side of the Great Lakes. 

Behind him, water runs from a sewer drain into the harbor. This runoff is cleaner now, but years ago, this would be packed with chemical byproducts from the surrounding steel mills and other factories.

For the first time in over 50 years, the U.S. and Canada are changing the way they regulate water levels on Lake Ontario. It’s an attempt to meet the changing needs of people who use the lake – from the shipping industry to environmentalists.

But homeowners fear the change may mean more flooding.


Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oswego is narrowing in on a plan to completely overhaul its waterfront area. Some of the proposals include radical changes to the current landscape, like a beach, whitewater rafting course and new maritime museum. 

The city received a state-funded grant to study ways it can best utilize its lakeside location so Oswego can become more of a destination. The consultant on the project Greg Weykamp says after a year of meeting with city leaders and residents, there's one overarching desire.  

Great Lake Ontario National Marine Sanctuary

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has lent his support to an effort to make part of Lake Ontario a national marine sanctuary. The goal is to preserve dozens of known and unknown historic shipwrecks in the southeastern portion of the lake for further study.

Oswego, Jefferson, Wayne and Cayuga counties put together an application after the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) decided to add to its current list of 14 marine sanctuaries. Now with Cuomo's approval, the counties can submit their application for further consideration. 

Thousand Islands Tourism Bureau

Green groups and boaters along the St. Lawrence River and eastern Lake Ontario won a huge victory Thursday. The U.S. and Canada approved a new, more natural plan for managing water levels after 16 years of study that cost more than $20 million.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

In Oswego, a massive, rust-covered container ship glided across Lake Ontario Wednesday morning. It eased toward the Port of Oswego and abruptly came to rest after bumping against the dock.

The 24-foot-tall ship was carrying equipment from Germany that will head to a brewery in Rochester. The port is expecting another shipment of similar equipment next year for a brewery in Fulton. Port director Zelko Kirincich wants to see more container ships visit the port because he says it's more cost efficient for businesses that are importing and exporting by ship. 

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.

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