When it comes to updating a 50-year-old management plan, there are two critical ingredients – science and public input – and both take time. Getting the science right and making sure the public is heard are the key responsibilities of the International Joint Commission as they consider a new approach to water levels management for the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River system. That’s why the IJC is now asking for public input again, because the approach has been refined since the last round of comments from people throughout the region.
The IJC is seeking public comment until Aug. 30 on an improved proposal for Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River regulation that includes an Order of Approval, a regulation plan and policy for deviations from plan flows, and a new board and adaptive management strategy. Plan 2014 would continue to contribute to the economic health of communities throughout the region, retain benefits downstream of the Moses-Saunders hydropower dam, and improve the long-term ecological health of Lake Ontario and the upper St. Lawrence River. The new proposal is an updated version of Plan Bv7 which was discussed at public information sessions in 2012
Plan 2014 is based on Bv7 but includes trigger levels for adjusting Lake Ontario outflows during extreme high and low Lake Ontario water levels. As such, it protects Lake Ontario shoreline properties better than Bv7 while providing nearly the same environmental improvements.
The IJC has managed the flow of water at the dam --- located on the St. Lawrence River between Cornwall, Ontario, and Massena, New York --- since 1960. The aim of the management plan is to reduce flooding and erosion on the Lake Ontario shoreline, reduce flooding, and provide more favorable conditions on the lake and river for water intakes, recreational boating, commercial navigation and hydroelectric power production.
The Moses-Saunders hydropower dam, located on the St. Lawrence River between Cornwall, Ontario, and Massena, New York.
On our website you will find detailed information on Plan 2014, so you can tell us your views on:
- Are the proposed conditions and criteria for the Order of Approval appropriate?
- Do Plan 2014 and the policy for deviating from regulation plan flows strike an appropriate balance among all affected interests upstream and downstream?
- Does the proposed adaptive management strategy focus on the right priorities?
- How should the public be involved in the ongoing work of the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board and the adaptive management strategy?
Once you have reviewed that material, please comment .
Comments will be taken until Aug. 30, 2013. There are instructions online for sending in comments by mail, if you choose, and information on hearings planned for July in New York, Ontario and Quebec.