water levels

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.

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.
 

Ashley Hassett/Innovation Trail

Mobile technology has created some new opportunities for citizen scientists to play an active part in research, especially with tighter budgets. Now a nationwide project is enlisting the public to gather up-to-date information on water levels.

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.

While we like to assign value to weather conditions, such as considering a drought being bad, John Weeks explains that in nature extreme weather is simply part of a cycle. He discusses how it is the extremes in climate that determine what vegetation grows. Drought is a gift to some life and a distraction to others. Locally, dry years are extremely beneficial to pheasants and wetland nesting birds.

Originally aired July 15, 1988.

When a Rail... It's Dry

Jun 25, 2012

Inspired by the sight of a rail bird, John Weeks discusses local marshes. These "pea soup pastures" are growing drier and drier, destroying their complex and diverse life cycle. However, when the wetlands are replenished by rain, these ecosystems can recoup quickly.

Originally aired on June 26, 1987.

Jamie Henderson / Flickr

The new water levels proposal for the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario has garnered some criticism from a group of state lawmakers along the lake's southern shore. This week they asked the governor to oppose the plan.

Last week, Congressman Bill Owens came out in favor of the proposal and said he'd ask for Governor Andrew Cuomo's support. Both Owens and environmental advocates say the opposition's arguments aren't based on the facts of the new plan.