Over the past few weeks, Save the River has met with numerous groups and individuals about water levels on the St. Lawrence River. As you know, Save the River supports Plan 2014 (the Plan) because of its environmental benefits and hopes to see it remain in force while it is re-examined during the adaptive management review process. We hope that review is begun sooner rather than later and includes as many interested stakeholders as possible.
Save the River believes it is a matter of real urgency that the International Joint Commission issue a definitive statement based on statistical and scientific evaluations of the assertion that the difference in water levels in 2019 between Plan 2014 and Plan 1958 DD would have been negligible — or, at the most, only a couple of inches up or down. There has been adequate time for your technical group to run the simulation comparing the two plans. We asked that such a simulation be run during your June 28 visit to our office. Without such a statement, it is very hard to refute riparians who assert that the water would have been much lower under Plan 1958 DD.
Additionally, a clear message that we hear when meeting and communicating with our 1,000 members and 15,000 followers is that it is time to demand that the St. Lawrence Seaway immediately implement a patterning program of several days open and several days closed to shipping to allow the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board to increase the outflow amount to the maximum of 11,500 cms or more. The 1993 Seaway patterning procedure established the precedent for such a program. Riparians along the river and lake have endured enough during this historic flooding, and it is time that the shipping industry shoulders some of the burden felt by property owners.
I hope you and the other commissioners will consider these requests favorably and act upon them in the very near future. Property and business owners have suffered too much during this historic flooding, which has been caused by record-setting precipitation. Save the River hopes to see the maximum action taken to relieve some of their misery and lower the Lake and Upper St. Lawrence River levels several inches.
The writer is executive director of Save the River.