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Wetlands along the St. Lawrence River. Photo: Jenni Werndorf
Wetlands along the St. Lawrence River. Photo: Jenni Werndorf

Owens backs IJC water levels plan

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North Country congressman Bill Owens says he's supporting the International Joint Commission's new water levels plan for the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario.

The plan, known as BV7, would replace one that's been in effect for 60 years. The old plan strictly regulated water levels; the new one will allow them to fluctuate more naturally.

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Nora Flaherty
Digital Editor, News

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"I put a call into the governor’s office last Friday," Owens said, "to indicate to the governor that I was hopeful he would support the plan. And we believe the plan is reasonable, it’s not perfect, none of these plans ever will be, but it’s reasonable and it’s been 40 or 50 years since the plan was adjusted, and it’s time to make a move in that direction." 

Conservationists say that it will be good for the river and lake ecosystems. Stephanie Weiss is assistant director of Save The River, an environmental organization based in the Thousand Islands. She says Monday’s comments were the first from Owens definitively saying he supports the plan, and that public support would be useful in the coming weeks. 

However, not everyone is in favor of the plan. Many property owners on the south shore of Lake Ontario are concerned that the more natural water flow will erode their land. 

The public comment period on BV7 ends June 15th. In the meantime, you can find more information about the plan at the International Joint Commission’s web site, IJC.org.

Tasha Haverty contributed reporting to this story.

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