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IJC Chairwoman Irene Brooks faced a determined crowd at an earlier water level hearing in Alexandria Bay. Tonight's hearing will be at the Bonnie Castle Resort from 6-9 pm. Photo: David Sommerstein
IJC Chairwoman Irene Brooks faced a determined crowd at an earlier water level hearing in Alexandria Bay. Tonight's hearing will be at the Bonnie Castle Resort from 6-9 pm. Photo: David Sommerstein

Great Lakes-St. Lawrence water level plan draws mixed reviews

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The International Joint Commission, or IJC, that governs water levels on Lake Ontario and St Lawrence River is presenting a new management plan in a series of public hearings in New York and Canada this week.

Plan 2014 aims to strike a compromise between the economic interests of harbor communities and the environmental concerns over current water level management.

The previous draft plan drew praise from environmental groups, but criticism from some shoreline owners, particularly along the southern shore of Lake Ontario.

In Rochester yesterday, about 100 locals weighing in on the conversation showed views are still split.

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Reported by

Martha Foley
News and Public Affairs Director

Co-chair of environmental group the Sierra Club's binational Great Lakes committee, Wayne Howard, says the new plan must be put in place immediately to prevent further environmental degradation, "Our committee's message today is simple, the time for study and planning is over and the time for implementation is now. We call on the IJC to enact plan 2014 as soon as possible."

On the other side of the debate, shoreline property owners argue that the new plan doesn't go far enough to protect their homes.

Cheryl Stephens, a property owner on the south shore of Lake Ontario says shoreline properties will suffer under the new plan, "We, the south shore land owners, and all the surrounding towns, would be adversely affected if the rules change now. We, residents, are the environment on the south shore of Lake Ontario."

Environmental groups say degradation of the ecosystems around Lake Ontario will continue if water levels remain the same.

The final hearing on the U.S. side of the border is tonight in Alexandria Bay, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Bonnie Castle. David Sommerstein will have our report tomorrow morning.

There's also a public hearing set in Cornwall, Ontario, Friday afternoon from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Ramada Inn.

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