River board increases outflows

Lake Ontario waters were lower-than-average in April, as seen here between Reed Canal and Cornell roads in Henderson Harbor. Kara Dry/Watertown Daily Times

MASSENA — More water is flowing out of Lake Ontario and the 1000 Islands at the Moses-Saunders Power Dam now, thanks to a strong record of rainfall in the region in the past two weeks.

The International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board, a subsidiary of the International Joint Commission that controls the international waters between Canada and the U.S., on Friday announced it would be returning outflows to their regular rate.

Drought conditions in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River watershed led the commission to cut the rate of water flowing out of the Moses-Saunders Dam in April, in an attempt to keep water levels behind the dam as high as possible.

Even still, the dam can only cause a 3-inch rise or drop in water levels, and the lake and river have both seen significantly lower water levels than average this season. Lake Ontario is currently 8.7 inches below long-term average levels for mid-July.

In a news release Friday, the lake and river board said the amount of rain that’s fallen in the region in the past two weeks has boosted water levels back within acceptable standards, and their authority to reduce outflows has expired.

“The above average rainfall the first two weeks of July was unexpected but truly benefited the region,” said Steve Durrett, U.S. co-chair of the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board.

The Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board said the increased outflows will have immediate impacts on Lake St. Lawrence, immediately above the dam, where water levels will drop between 5.9 and 7.9 inches, and on Lake St. Louis and the Port of Montreal below the dam, where the water is expected to rise between 3.9 and 5.9 inches.

Lake Ontario’s water levels will depend on natural weather conditions, the board said.

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I write about north country politics, Jefferson County and the northern shoreline towns of Lyme, Cape Vincent, Clayton and Alexandria Bay

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(1) comment


More water flow out of dam really means they are trying to keep the shipping industry running thru Toronto and into Quebec.

They will keep playing with it until all of the upstream marina businesses have to pull boats early and then your other shore side business will dry up early. UGH

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