The last 12 months over Lake Ontario have been the driest since 1966, according to the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board.
The last 12 months over Lake Ontario have been the driest since 1966, according to the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board.
“It’s like a program or code based on historical water supply records that can simulate what could happen from different decisions.”
When the ice melts each spring, the ship visits each of the five lakes to measure basic water quality and sample the “lower food web” — the tiny animals, plants, and algae that support fish and other aquatic life.
“The risk of flooding on Lake Ontario and the upper St. Lawrence River has declined from moderate in December 2020 to low.”
“When I was around 12 years old, I lived far from the ocean,” he said. “So I surfed on my bed, on my pillow. I always imagined my pillow was a surf board and I was in the wave.”
“I mean it’s huge for us. We have been trying to recover from the damage from 2017 and 2019 so to know that this will help alleviate the chances of flooding for 2021 means a great deal.”
“We realized that it would be beneficial for the Board to be smaller so they can make decisions in a quicker fashion.”
“In January when the shipping season is over, do exactly what you did last winter – physically let out as much water as you can because you don’t know what’s going to happen next spring.”
“They’re not being transparent enough, they’re not engaging the stakeholders and the shoreline communities and they’re not getting the data they need from the appropriate sources like the shoreline communities.”
By lowering the outflows from Lake Ontario, the Board hopes to make navigation in the St. Lawrence River safer and raise the water levels in Lake St. Louis.
Water levels throughout the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River System are expected to peak below the record-high levels seen in 2019.
The International Joint Commission says it’s doing everything it can to mitigate rising lake levels but it still might not be enough.
“We were able to contribute to lake levels being fairly stable through the month of March compared with historic records.”
It is a set of guidelines for how high and low water levels in Lake Ontario and the Saint Lawrence are allowed to get.
“You get double speak. You get half justifications for things, and we’re not getting action from them. So today, the gloves come off.”
“This is our dream home, this is our house forever, but if you have to put up with this every year, every other year, it’s not a whole lot of fun living here.”
“All the water we’re letting out will lessen the impact down the road; it doesn’t guarantee there won’t be flooding but I can guarantee there will be less of it.”
The Army Corps of Engineers reports that four of the five Great Lakes were at record-high water levels this week.
“What the dredging does is it increases the access and capacity of creeks, inlets, et cetera. And it uses the dredging material, in this situation, to increase a barrier to keep the high water from affecting the shoreline.”
The international body that helps regulate water levels on Lake Ontario and in the St. Lawrence River is forecasting a return to flood-level heights this summer.
After Lake Ontario reached new heights in 2017, the state and many homeowners invested substantial amounts of money rebuilding the break walls and other barriers along their shorelines – only to see much of it washed away again in 2019.
The index was designed after a similar tool created to help communities in the Gulf Coast region of the United States following Hurricane Katrina.
Lake Ontario is still high – about 246 feet high. The Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board says they’re working to reduce levels as much as possible by spring.
Critics say Plan 2014 is to blame for the unprecedented water levels while others say it’s a scapegoat for the excessive rainfall in recent years, which could be related to climate change.
Top state officials say that the IJC failed to act in response to flooding in 2017 and 2019, causing New York to incur substantial and potentially avoidable damages.
Plastic doesn’t go away, but it breaks down in the environment. One bottle can degrade into hundreds, even thousands, of tiny pieces of plastic the size of a grain of sand, which can be eaten by birds or fish.
63 projects along the Lake Ontario shoreline will receive $133 million in state funding. Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the announcement Wednesday during a stop at the Port of Rochester.
Lake Ontario hovers 16 inches above its long-term average, with a bleak forecast from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“This is an international entity and it is going to be a difficult case for us to make. But it is a last resort, we have tried everything else. It is a cry for help from the state of New York.”
Acting administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency Pete Gaynor toured some of the flooding damage along the Lake Ontario shoreline.
“While there are shipping interests and energy interests and environmental interests, the human interest, specifically, the residents and business owners along the shore are first and foremost in my mind.”
The Army Corps of Engineers announced it doesn’t expect the water in the Great Lakes to go down too much, too soon.
A new report titled “Great Lakes Revival” tells the story of how Buffalo and other rust-belt cities reclaimed their waters.
“This is a species that was incredibly abundant and then were overfished for many years, then impacts of dams and pollution. Now they still persist, but they’re about 1% of their historic numbers.”
The opinion runs contrary to those people which have placed the blame on the work of an international commission.
“Maybe if they have the right conditions, they can do a nature-based shoreline approach, where they work in shoreline plants and rock rubble.”
The federal government’s congressional watchdog agency is taking a look at a controversial plan that helps adjust water levels on Lake Ontario.
New York State will add relief to homeowners to a program meant to rebuild and recover from record high water levels along the Lake Ontario shoreline this year.
“We recognize that the storms will happen more and more often, become more and more severe – so this is going to be the new normal. What’s not clear yet is how intense it will be.”
Quagga mussels have few natural predators, and have been successful in the Great Lakes and other lakes across North America since being carried here by ships from Europe in the 1980s.
It wants a shipping suspended several days a week this summer to allow more water to go through the Moses Saunders dam near Massena.
“The idea here is to make sure that people who live along the shorelines of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, make sure that they have a voice.”
Flooding on Lake Ontario broke records this year. A lot of shoreline residents say they’ve never seen water levels anywhere near this year’s, but in fact Lake Ontario has flooded many times before.
The Department of Environmental Conservation reports “record-breaking” fishing continues on those bodies of water, with the potential to catch huge fish from a wide variety of species.
“It is not the governor’s desire for this funding to be used for damage assistance. It’s to improve the resiliency of the lake shore.”
“…this evaluation is not going to happen fast enough to do anything for this year…”
“Every time it rains, every time the wind blows from the wrong direction, we’re battling to stay dry, to stay open.”
“If you look at the marina we’re standing in, you see the devastation. And things are particularly dire here in Fair Haven and Little Sodus Bay, because some of the critical infrastructure has collapsed.”
“We’re here today because our government representatives and public administrators promised after 2017 that this would never happen again failed to provide oversight and monitor – they need to do their jobs,”
The IJC put a new management plan, Plan 2014, in place three years ago. Two out of those three years have brought severe flooding and millions of dollars in damage to the region.
All week long, New Yorkers have been weighing in on a proposed project that would help preserve some of the oldest shipwrecks in the Great Lakes.
There is word that the board of the International Joint Commission, the U.S. – Canadian agency that manages the waters shared by the two countries, may hold an emergency board meeting on Wednesday, to look at issues involving recent shoreline flooding.
Schumer says he’s lobbying for federal dollars to help the waterfront residents on the Southern Shore of Lake Ontario.
NOAA wants to protect, research, and improve public access to shipwrecks and other maritime heritage resources. The designation doesn’t mean that NOAA would regulate fishing, water quality or other natural resources of the area.
“Saying to people who just went through a flood in 2017. ‘Whoops. We’re going to do it again.’ That I think is harsh. Not being financially responsible for the damage that they do, that I think is harsh. Not being responsive, and fair to New Yorkers, that I think is harsh.”
The IJC “has no excuse for its failure to prepare for adequately managing the high-water levels Lake Ontario has experienced and continues to experience this year.”
Officials who help regulate the level of Lake Ontario are pointing to some hopeful signs in the effort to deal with the ongoing flooding issues along the lake shore.
“Many people have water in their house. We have wet basements. Trying to keep up with sump pumps so they don’t fail.”
As of Monday, the Lake Ontario level was at 249.02 feet, exceeding the record of 248.95 feet that was set in 2017.
“We don’t want anybody slipping and falling into the water. We don’t want their boats ending up on shore. So, for right now, it makes the most sense to shut the marina down.”
“Is this the new normal? Or is this just an extended flooding event, like we had in 1993 or in the 1970s?”
St. Lawrence River Board said on Monday that water levels have reached 248.85 feet, and will likely reach or exceed the 2017 record high of 248.95 feet within the next few days.
New York officials have declared a state of emergency for the counties along Lake Ontario as water levels continue to rise.
The 1000 Islands International Tourism Center surveyed more than 100 businesses in 2017. It found more than 80% of them were hurt by the flooding. Some lost 40% of their business that year.
“There’s a lot of experience from 2017 that’s being used right now to know where those problem areas are and there’s preventive measures going back into those locations.”
“When you get to a point where you have flooding, by definition you have not done your job. And why they can’t release more water earlier, they’ve never answered.”
“It is a very large undertaking, but that’s where we are, and not recognizing realities, doesn’t work.”
The governor recalled the flooding which affected this part of New York State two year ago, suggesting it is time for the state to explore long-term infrastructural solutions to address a changing climate.
With concerns about rising levels on Lake Ontario, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Sunday that he has directed state agencies to begin deploying resources to protect communities along the lakeshore.
“This is not totally out of the realm of normal conditions for this time of year; we always see rising water levels on the lake during the spring.”
This effort was spearheaded by the counties along the shore of Lake Ontario, which pushed for recognition and protection of the lake’s shipwrecks.
Right now the IJC has only two members – two short of the quorum needed to make decisions.
The researchers conclude that because of rapid effects of climate change, the Great Lakes are vulnerable to more flooding, heat waves, and drought.
Typically the IJC is responsible for overseeing lakes and rivers bordered by the U.S. and Canada.
With Lake Ontario’s water levels about a foot above average, communities along its shoreline are trying to get help in preventing floods.
The lake’s water level is higher than average right now, and residents have blamed it on poor management and regulation, but there might be another factor.
A number of federal lawmakers are concerned that high water levels on Lake Ontario will result in a repeat of the flooding seen along the lake shore in 2017.
According to the International Lake Ontario – St. Lawrence River Board, Lake Ontario is more than a foot higher than usual for this time of year.
Canadian researchers are studying how to help prevent the spread of this fish
By the time dawn’s first vermilion fingers tickle the east’s black sky, hunters in a dozen-plus marshes have slogged, sometimes chest-deep, through marshes to arrive at blinds – often constructed, sometimes mostly natural – to await the arrival of ducks, large and small, drab and bright, slow and fast.
ROCHESTER, NY (WXXI) – According to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, nine people drowned in the Great Lakes over Labor Day weekend, including one unidentified man found in Lake Ontario near Wilson, NY.
There may soon be some new faces at the helm of the International Joint Commission, which helps protect and regulate the Great Lakes. The White House has announced the names of the three new commissioners for the IJC.
STATE IMPACT PENNSYLVANIA – Increased water quality problems tied to global climate change are affecting the way people fish, boat, and swim on Lake Erie, according to a paper published last month in the Journal of Park and Recreation Administration.
ROCHESTER, NY (WXXI) – Researchers predict less algae on Lake Erie this year compared to last, but that doesn’t mean no algae.
ROCHESTER, NY (WXXI) – A new report attempts to explain the causes of last year’s flooding along the south shore of Lake Ontario.
ROCHESTER, NY (WXXI) – It looks like Lake Ontario may have already reached its peak high for the season, which is good news for lakefront home owners and business owners.
SYRACUSE, NY (WRVO) – A year ago, Lake Ontario began an unprecedented climb that resulted in record water levels and catastrophic flooding for those on its shoreline. The lake’s levels are currently 16 inches below where they were in May of 2017, but still eight inches above the long-term average.
ROCHESTER, NY (WXXI) – Governor Andrew Cuomo is asking the International Joint Commission to maximize outflows of water from Lake Ontario.
GREAT LAKES TODAY – Key federal funding for the Great Lakes has survived again thanks to Congress. This is the second time President Trump proposed a big cut to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. And Congress restored it full: $300 million for the 2019 budget year. Since 2009, the initiative has funded thousands of projects that help the Great Lakes by cleaning up pollution, combating invasive species, and protecting wetlands. And it has received support from Democrats and Republicans in Congress.
GREAT LAKES TODAY – Water is being let out of Lake Ontario at record rates, but it’s doing little to relieve high water on the south shore, in New York. Last year, flooding caused millions of dollars in damage to residences and businesses, and in some areas drove people from their homes for months. One neighborhood in Hamlin, New York, was hit particularly hard. Now, residents there say they fear another harsh flood season. Bobby Jones stands on a sandy beach looking out over Lake Ontario.
Regulators are working hard to avoid a repeat of last year’s flooding on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. The International Lake Ontario St. Lawrence River Board, which manages water levels, set a record last month for most water pushed downriver in any month since the dam was built in the 1950s.
Many advocates for the Great Lakes are in Washington, D.C., this week to push back against President Trump’s proposal to slash funding for the region. They want Congress to continue its bipartisan support on issues such as cleaning up pollution and protecting drinking water.
GREAT LAKES TODAY – Canada and the province of Ontario recently released their plan to combat toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie. Phosphorus is the primary cause of the blooms that turn parts of the lake green most summers.
GREAT LAKES TODAY – Just off Lake Ontario in Irondequoit Bay, Dave Hulburt is doing some work at the BayCreek Paddling Center. The shop is closed in winter, but it’s unusually warm and sunny by the water. A few cars drive by, a flock of geese flies overhead, but other than that it’s quiet on the dock.
GREAT LAKES RADIO – In the Great Lakes region, toxic algae blooms are a big problem. Every summer, they leave a green sheen on parts of the Great Lakes – and on many smaller lakes. New York State has a new campaign to find solutions. But some question the approach.
GREAT LAKES TODAY – Out on farmland in western New York, near the shore of Lake Erie, is Five & 20 Spirits and Brewing. Here, they make more than just booze. They also raise fish.
For Christians, the weeks leading up to Easter are a time of sacrifice. And many observe by giving up chocolate, alcohol or other treats.
SYRACUSE (WRVO) – Water levels in the Great Lakes basin are once again higher than normal, similar to what happened last year ahead of the historic flooding that occurred along Lake Ontario’s southern shore. Federal and state officials are working to avoid a repeat, but some say it’s not enough.
This has to be one of the most Zen-like videos of the year: a snowy owl riding the icy waves of Lake Ontario. Now, it’s a hit on social media.
GREAT LAKES TODAY – Prolonged arctic cold is wreaking havoc on the maritime industry across the Great Lakes. The latest problem: A commercial freighter is stuck in ice in a lock near Massena, N.Y., and it’s preventing the St. Lawrence Seaway from closing for the winter. The St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp.
GREAT LAKES TODAY – Over the past two winters, there wasn’t much ice cover on the Great Lakes. That changed with this month’s deep freeze. Frigid temperatures have frozen more than 40 percent of Lake Erie’s surface, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA. Scientists there predict ice cover could jump to almost 90 percent by Sunday. This time last year, ice barely covered 2 percent of the lake.
GREAT LAKES TODAY – A new year brings new opportunities for recreation and commercial interests along the Great Lakes. It also means seven gubernatorial elections in states that border the lakes, and growing concern over climate change. Great Lakes Today asked environmental groups and others for their thoughts on 2017 — and what’s to come in the new year. One issue stood out: the wide gap between regional interests and the Trump administration. The administration’s threat to cut $300 million in Great Lakes funding was one of the biggest stories of 2017, according to environmental groups.
GREAT LAKES TODAY – The Great Lakes/St. Lawrence River make up the world’s biggest freshwater system — and an enormously valuable resource. It supplies drinking water for millions of residents and powers the region’s economy. Last year, 42 million gallons were withdrawn from the basin each day, according to a new report from the Great Lakes Commission. Here’s where it went.
GREAT LAKES TODAY – Over the past two winters, the Great Lakes have had a below-average ice cover. And that’s expected to continue this year. One of ice climatologist Jia Wang’s biggest jobs is the annual ice cover prediction for the Great Lakes. He’s with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration office in Michigan, which tracks ice cover throughout the winter. Video: Salt mine lies 1,800 feet below Lake Erie.
A schooner found in Lake Ontario. photo by: Jim Kennard
story by VERONICA VOLK
(WXXI) 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.” What they found was a mid-nineteenth century Canadian schooner called the Royal Albert.