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Green groups are hoping the new water levels plan improves wetlands along the St. Lawrence River. Photo: Jenni Werndorf
Green groups are hoping the new water levels plan improves wetlands along the St. Lawrence River. Photo: Jenni Werndorf

Another new St. Lawrence, Lake Ontario water levels plan

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People along the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario will get a chance to weigh in on a new water levels plan next month. It's called "Plan 2014". Regulators say it's better for Lake Ontario property owners than a plan released last year.

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"Plan 2014" is what the International Joint Commission calls an improvement on last summer's "Bv7". And if you're a real water levels geek, you'll remember that was an improvement on plan "B+".

The IJC has been studying a century of data for ten years now to find the optimal replacement for the original 55 year-old formula for controlling water levels on the St. Lawrence and Lake Ontario.

All those plans would help the environment by restoring more natural ebbs and flows on the water bodies. But they would have caused more shoreline damage on Lake Ontario.

IJC engineering advisor David Faye says the new plan – Plan 2014 if you're keeping score – helps Lake Ontario property owners by establishing a trigger when the Lake gets too high.

"Where the Board of Control would have the authority to take extraordinary action when water levels are above the high trigger, and by doing so, there are some benefits in terms of reduced costs to shoreline property, shore protection."

Faye says Plan 2014 is "minorly" less good for the environment than Plan Bv7 would have been. But he called it "a good compromise".

Now it's time for the public to weigh in. The IJC has scheduled six public hearings on July, including July 16 on the southern shore of Lake Ontario and July 17 in the Thousand Islands. The final date for public comment is August 30.

 

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