The International Joint Commission (IJC) has released information about a new approach to manage water levels and flows in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River system, and invites comment from marina operators and other stakeholders with an interest in water levels.
Building on 50 years of experience, a five-year bi-national study and extensive public comment, the IJC is developing a new approach with the assistance of a Working Group of representatives from the governments of Canada, the United States, the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, and the State of New York.
The flow of water from Lake Ontario down the St. Lawrence River is regulated by the Moses-Saunders Dam in accordance with the IJC's 1956 order of approval. The current regulation plan moderates extreme high and low water levels on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. However, it is based on conditions of the last century, does not take the environment into account, and has no process for adapting to future challenges such as bigger storms and more severe droughts.
While continuing to moderate extreme high and low water levels, the new approach would allow for more natural water levels and flow patterns and is expected to produce significant environmental improvements. An Adaptive Management strategy would improve the capability to adapt to future changes, including socio-economic changes and significant changes in climate throughout the system.
Click here to read details of the approach on the IJC website.
The IJC welcomes public input on its new approach. The IJC will host online forums, and it will hold public information sessions around the basin in late spring 2012. Written comments on the new approach may be submitted via the LOSLR website or sent by regular mail to:
International Joint Commission
234 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, ON K1P 6K6
Comments received by June 15, 2012 will be considered in developing a proposal that will include a revised order of approval, regulation plan, adaptive management plan and a governance structure. The IJC will then hold formal public hearings on the proposal before arriving at a decision.
The International Joint Commission is an independent and objective organization that prevents and resolves disputes between the United States and Canada under the 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty and pursues the common good of both countries. Under the treaty, it approves projects that affect the levels and flows of boundary waters, such as the international hydroelectric power project located at Cornwall, Ontario and Massena, New York.