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News stories tagged with "water-levels"

River residents slam IJC plan

Thousand Islanders gave a harsh welcome to a new water levels plan for the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario last night in Alexandria Bay. The International Joint Commission wants to implement a plan that's similar to the existing 50-year-old formula. That decision has been derided by Congressman John McHugh, Senator Chuck Schumer, New York's DEC, and both Jefferson and St. Lawrence County governments. It even prompted an environmental group to name the St. Lawrence one of the nation's ten most endangered rivers. As David Sommerstein reports, river residents are spoiling for a fight for a plan that's better for the environment and boating.  Go to full article

St. Lawrence declared "endangered river"

The St. Lawrence is one of the ten most endangered rivers in the United States, according to a national environmental group. The list by American Rivers highlights ten rivers facing decisions in the coming year that could determine their future. The St. Lawrence made the list after a binational commission issued a new plan for controlling water levels on the River and Lake Ontario last month. The International Joint Commission balked at choosing a more environmentally-friendly plan, which was the preferred alternative in the North Country. Instead, it selected a water levels plan very similar to the original one developed 50 years ago. It aims to reduce the natural highs and lows of the River. The IJC says it's obligated by treaty to protect properties along the southern shore of Lake Ontario from erosion. The IJC is holding hearings over the summer. Environmentalists and state lawmakers are trying to get the commissioners to change their minds. In a press release, Congressman John McHugh says the "endangered river" designation should "spur action" to put pressure on the IJC. New York Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Pete Grannis said in a statement that the IJC is poised to "botch a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to return more natural flows" to the St. Lawrence. Jennifer Caddick directs Save the River, based in Clayton. She told David Sommerstein the St. Lawrence River is at a crossroads.  Go to full article

New York slams water levels plan

A new plan for controlling water levels on the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario is drawing fire from all quarters of New York. The International Joint Commission announced this morning it supports a minor tweaking of a plan called "D-Plus". That plan is very similar to the existing, 50-year-old plan and provides only minor benefits for the environment. It's the result of a seven-year, $20 million study. As David Sommerstein reports, leaders in New York say the results are a waste of time and money.  Go to full article
Freighter in the Thousand Islands.
Freighter in the Thousand Islands.

IJC: Environmental plan just out of reach

A binational commission has chosen a new plan for controlling water levels on the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario. The International Joint Commission says "Plan 2007" is a minor tweak of a plan called "D+" and benefits almost every stakeholder in the region. The IJC says it improves conditions for hydropower, shipping, and some wetlands in Lake Ontario over the existing plan. And it makes water levels more reliable for the Port of Montreal. The IJC is making its decision official at press conferences in Washington and Ottawa this morning at 10. Irene Brooks is the U.S. chair of the Commission. She told David Sommerstein the IJC wanted to choose the best plan for the environment, which is known as "B+". "B+" is by far the preferred alternative in the North Country. But Brooks says that plan would cause too much erosion along the southern shore of Lake Ontario, near Rochester, and hurt property owners.  Go to full article

IJC to unveil water levels plan

The bi-national agency that controls water levels on Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River is making a big announcement tomorrow. The International Joint Commission will release a new water management plan for the first time in 50 years. As David Sommerstein reports, North Country stakeholders are likely to be disappointed.  Go to full article

River advocates slam 'hybrid' water plan

Environmentalists and North Country lawmakers are criticizing a plan to control water levels on the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario even before it's made public. The International Joint Commission will release its final plan on March 31st. It's the result of a five-year, $20 million study between the U.S. and Canada to determine the best way to regulate water levels for all the users of the Lakes and River. There are reports the IJC will abandon three plans vetted by the public over the five-year study and instead choose a new option. Congressman John McHugh wrote a letter criticizing that possibility. Dalton Foster lives on Wilson Hill near Massena and runs the International Water Levels Coalition. He spoke with David Sommerstein.  Go to full article

IJC water levels plan delayed

U.S. and Canadian officials with the International Joint Commission has spent five years, and $20 million, on developing a plan to deal with water levels, as well as other issues, including invasive species and shipping. That plan, meant in part to ease the region's economic and environmental concerns, was to be made public at the beginning of next week. Yesterday, the IJC says its recommendation will be delayed. Frank Bevaqua is public information officer for the IJC. He said the commission "just isn't there yet."  Go to full article
Fishing guide Rich Clarke points out low water levels at French Bay marina in Clayton.
Fishing guide Rich Clarke points out low water levels at French Bay marina in Clayton.

Heard Up North: low water frustration

Boaters wrapping up their summer fun on the St. Lawrence River last weekend saw shoals and rocks they hadn't seen before. Dock space was even tighter than usual at parks and other public tie-ups. The holiday weekend provided just the latest evidence of unusually low water levels that have angered residents up and down the river since mid-August. Some people have simply taken their boats elsewhere. The low water is the latest addition to a list of concerns that especially frustrates those who make their living on the river. Many people blame the Seaway and shippers who brought invasive species, and the New York Power Authority for disturbing the natural state of the river with its hydropower dam. A fishing guide is today's Heard Up North.  Go to full article

Why is the St. Lawrence so low?

So why are the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario so low this summer? David Sommerstein called John Kangas. He's the U.S. Secretary of the International St. Lawrence River Board of Control. This is the agency that actually determines how much water should be let through the dam in Massena, controlling water levels all the way back to Niagara Falls. Kangas says the problems started last winter, when there was too much water. So to prevent flooding in Lake Ontario, the Board let a lot of water through the dam.  Go to full article

Water Levels Study: The Envelope, Please

A 5-year, $20 million study of water levels on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River was finished last week. It's a collaboration between the U.S. and Canada. It's the first time the system has been reviewed since the 1960s. The study recommends three options for holding and releasing water downriver. David Sommerstein explains.  Go to full article

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