Lake Ontario

The war of words between N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the International Joint Commission is continuing,  as residents along Lake Ontario deal with weeks of flooding.

In a letter to Cuomo, the IJC says flooding was triggered by heavy spring rains. And it rejects his suggestion that preventive counter-measures -- like releasing more water through a downstream dam -- should have been made.

Great Lakes Today's Veronica Volk

Two area state lawmakers say they have reached agreement on bipartisan legislation to provide $90 million in financial relief for people living along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River seaway.

Governor Cuomo stopped in shoreline communities in Greece and Sodus Point to unveil some new technology designed to save homes and businesses from further damage from high water levels on Lake Ontario. 

Damage he says is due in part to a late response from the board that regulates water levels on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, the International Joint Commission.

Cuomo says the state is testing two "Aqua Dams," water filled synthetic device that, when it works, acts like a portable dam.

There will be more water flowing out of Lake Ontario in an effort to help ease the recent flooding conditions along the south shore.

The International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board agreed this week to increase the water flowing out of the lake at a greater rate. Secretary for the board, Arun Heer says this will be the highest outflow ever released from the lake on a sustained basis.

Because of that, Heer says officials will closely monitor the situation for a few days to see if there are any major adverse impacts.

The US Army Corps of Engineers predicts that water across the Great Lakes will remain high for the duration of summer, and even into the fall.

The Corps says these high levels are due to above average precipitation on the lakes. Forecasted levels on Superior, Michigan-Huron, and Erie will be the highest since the 1990s.

Lake Ontario levels will also remain high, after setting a record for highest average lake levels for the month of May. 

Communities along Lake Ontario -- ranging from Toronto to tiny Sodus Point, N.Y. -- have seen flooding for weeks.

Online Screen Grab / WBFO News

The ongoing lake shore erosion in Youngstown is now threatening one of the buildings at Old Fort Niagara.

IJC to maintain Lake Ontario levels

Jun 9, 2017

The bi-national organization that regulates shared water between the United States and Canada has decided to maintain outflows from Lake Ontario, which are already near a record high, for at least another week.

WBFO News File Photo

The National Weather Service has issued a lakeshore flood watch for Niagara and Orleans counties.

WBFO News File Photo

The high water levels on Lake Ontario this spring came with little warning. Experts with the US Army Corps of Engineers say the substantial precipitation this spring is largely responsible for the quick rise.

Kathleen Thomas

New York State is making $7 million available to help homeowners recover from flooding along the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River shorelines.

Updated Friday, May 26, at 4:45 p.m.

The region braced for a long stretch of rain and showers -- weather that could contribute to more flooding.

The National Weather Service forecast calls for rain or a chance or showers every day through Thursday. 

And the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River board, which controls outflows from a big dam, says it be "several weeks" before the lake is significantly lower.

WBFO file photo/Angelica Morrison

New York State is putting forth millions of dollars to assist municipalities affected by rising water levels along the Lake Ontario shoreline. If a bill passes the State Senate this week, private property owners may see some relief, too.


WBFO File Photo / WBFO News

Officials in Niagara County are extending the State of Emergency along the Lake Ontario shoreline.

Finally, some good news for towns that been flooded for weeks by high waters in Lake Ontario.

The lake-wide average water level has remained at 75.85 m for two days in a row, says the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board, which controls a huge dam downstream.


WNED-TV

A local state senator wants New York's constitution amended to guarantee the rights of residents to hunt and fish, joining 21 other states to enshrine those outdoor rights in their state charters.

WRVO's Payne Horning

As water levels on Lake Ontario continue to rise, state lawmakers are working on financial assistance to homeowners still assessing flood damage.

No, according to Frank Sciremammano.

Sciremammano isn't an apologist for the new plan that regulates lake levels. He acknowledges that it could contribute to problems in the future. But he attributes this spring's flooding to record rainfall -- and some moves made this winter to manage ice.

Flooding continues for a second week along Lake Ontario and there’s no end in sight. Many residents and New York’s governor say the solution lies with a huge dam that straddles the U.S- Canada border. But the reality is not so simple.


Veronica Volk

Along Lake Ontario, communities are still battling flood waters.

A big dam nearby has started letting more water out of the lake and into the lower St. Lawrence River. But that doesn't mean lakefront property owners will see immediate results.
 


WBFO's Mike Desmond

For the fishing and tourism Village of Olcott on the Lake Ontario shore, Sunday was an opportunity to recover from the terrible weather of recent weeks.

Due to heavy rains, Lake Ontario is overflowing its banks. Some New Yorkers want to lower the lake level by releasing water from a dam downstream.

But the International Joint Commission, which controls the dam, says that will bring more flooding to Montreal.


Concerns are growing that the historic structures at Old Fort Niagara could be at risk of damage from Lake Ontario's flood waters. The fort is located in New York at the mouth of the Niagara River, where it meets the lake.


Lake Ontario is 20 inches higher than normal, and New York towns along the south shore are filling sandbags and making other flood preparations.

In Port Bay, the high water has already damaged the town’s protective barrier beach. Now, residents are scrambling for ways to hold back the lake’s waters.


Lake Ontario's rising water is furthering Congressman Chris Collins' push for the repeal of an environmental plan adopted late in President Barack Obama's administration.

Lake Ontario Waterkeeper

Niagara County is still in a state of emergency. On Saturday, Niagara County firefighters along with other volunteers joined the Olcott Fire Company in an effort to combat rising waters along Lake Ontario.

Alex Crichton

Lake Ontario is nearly a foot and a half higher than is usual for this time of year, and New Yorkers living on the south shore are anxiously watching the water continue to rise.

Near Rochester, the village of Sodus Point is providing sandbags to homeowners.

Rising levels on Lake Ontario have prompted officials in counties near Buffalo and Rochester to declare a state of emergency.

Officials said they expect higher than normal water levels over the next few days and into the weekend -- with a possibility of flooding.

A little house on the shore of Lake Ontario is gaining national attention.

After being pummeled with water, cold air and high winds, portions of the house that face the lake are  covered in thick layers of ice.

A budget proposal to slash federal funds for the Great Lakes cleanup is being skewered in the opinion pages of the region's newspapers.

In Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota and other Great Lakes states, editorials have called the draft proposal "foolish," "unacceptable" and a "job-killer."

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is planning to go ahead with cleaning up Eighteen Mile Creek in Lockport, but it will not be soon. It also is not clear the money to pay for the cleanup will be there.


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