Niagara Gazette

July 13, 2013

Hearing Sunday to focus on Lake Ontario levels

By Don Glynn
Niagara Gazette

The International Joint Commission is holding a public hearing Sunday on a plan to manage the water levels and flows in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.

The hearing is set for 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Cornell Cooperative Extension 4-H Training Center, 4487 Lake Ave. (Route 78). Registration will start at 5:30 p.m.

An IJC spokesman said the agency is proposing to manage water levels with fewer negative environmental impacts on Lake Ontario and the upper St. Lawrence River. In-depth research has shown that policies developed in the 1950s have restricted water levels to the point of degrading coastal wetlands on the lake and the river. The agency noted: “This degradation impacts the health of native plants, birds, fish and other animals. While continuing to reduce extreme high and low water levels, the management proposal is designed to provide more natural water level patterns on Lake Ontario while retaining benefits downstream.” 

Citing the current crisis, state Sen. George D. Maziarz, R-Newfane, said: “Extremely low and high water levels like we’re experiencing now have a major impact on residential properties, marine business, the environment and tourism. We need to have our voices heard as plans are made for the future,” Maziarz said, urging area residents to attend the hearing.

Any person wishing to present oral comments at the hearing will be required to register. Speakers are being asked to limit their comments to three minutes so everyone wanting to present an opinion will have an opportunity.

Written comments and other documents also may be submitted at the public hearing or by regular mail to: The International Joint Commission, Secretary-U.S. Section, 2000 L. Street, NW Suite 615, Washington, D.C. 20440.