Water Matters - Boat installing the Lake Erie-Niagara ice boom

Public Consultation - Early Ice Boom Installation 2020





BURLINGTON, ONTARIO ----- New York Power Authority (NYPA) is requesting International Joint Commission (IJC) approval for early installation of the ice boom for the 2020-2021 ice season to provide additional time to implement COVID-19 staff safety protocols.

Under the current IJC 1999 Supplementary Order of Approval, the placement of the spans may begin when the Lake Erie water temperature at Buffalo reaches 4ºC (39ºF), or on December 16, whichever comes first. For the upcoming ice season, NYPA requested approval to start the installation of the ice boom as early as November 30, 2020. Also note that restricted access to navigation along the Niagara River commonly associated with installation of the ice boom will occur as early as November 30, 2020 (e.g. closing of the of the Chippawa Gate).

Since 1964, the Lake Erie-Niagara River Ice Boom has been installed near the outlet of Lake Erie each winter to reduce the amount of ice entering the Niagara River.  This reduces the potential for ice jams, which can result in shoreline flooding, damage to shoreline property and significantly reduce the water flow for hydroelectric power production. The ice boom does not inhibit the flow of water out of Lake Erie into the Niagara River.

The NYPA and Ontario Power Generation (OPG) are authorized to use the boom by the IJC within its mandate through the Order of Approval. The 2.7-kilometre (1.7-mile) long boom is installed at the outlet of Lake Erie, at the entrance to the Niagara River, to promote the formation and strengthening of a naturally occurring ice arch that reduces the amount of ice entering the Niagara River.  The ice boom has substantially reduced the severity, number and duration of ice runs from Lake Erie into the Niagara River.

The International Joint Commission’s International Niagara Board of Control is currently seeking public input with respect to the proposed start date of November 30, 2020. Should any member of the public have comments or concern on this installation date, please send them to the below contacts by November 19, 2020 3 pm EST:

In USA Lauren Schifferle, International Niagara Working Committee Alternate Co-Chair Lauren.M.Schifferle@usace.army.mil

In Canada Derrick Beach, Canadian Secretary, International Niagara Board of Control at Derrick.Beach@canada.ca


For more information regarding the IJC Approval see the Board’s Ice Boom Information website at https://www.ijc.org/en/nbc/watershed/ice-boom