Saturday, July 13, 2013

Plan to change Lake Ontario water levels - "bowing to the preferences of environmentalists"

Fascinating article on the many implications of water level management in the great lakes region

Of the 5 great lakes there are only two with the level regulated (although the level of others has been impacted by dredging of the St. Clair river).  The control of Lake Ontario's level is via the dam that includes the Moses (U.S.)-Saunders(Cdn.) hdyroelectric facilities.

Hearing set Sunday on plan to change Lake Ontario water levels - City & Region - The Buffalo News:
"LOCKPORT – The International Joint Commission will hold a public hearing Sunday night in Lockport on a new plan to govern water levels in Lake Ontario.
The plan would produce more frequent fluctuations in water levels, with high water being higher and low water being lower than under the current rules."
“The (proposed) regulation will not supply the same level of protection to coastal communities,” IJC public information officer Frank Bevacqua confirmed.
The IJC tries to regulate water levels by altering flows out of the east end of the lake, past the Moses-Saunders Dam at Massena, into the St. Lawrence River.
“The water level will go up and down under any plan,” Bevacqua said. The IJC’s ability to control lake levels is limited by the supply of water flowing into the lake, and he said scientists believe the water supply is “trending downward.”
Frank Sciremammano, a Rochester Institute of Technology engineering professor who has served on the IJC control board for 18 years, said the plan will harm the south shore of the lake while protecting the Canadian shores, benefiting power generators and bowing to the preferences of environmentalists....
“The health of 64,000 acres of coastal wetlands is very significant and is expected to have a major role in the health of the ecosystem,” Bevacqua said. “Muskrats are one of the indicators, but it’s not an endangered species.”
Sciremammano said the up-and-down water may help the wetlands, but the high water schedule also will correspond to periods of high electricity demand.
Thus, he said, the New York Power Authority and Ontario and Quebec hydroelectric plants will be able to produce more power when the price is highest. He estimated they will reap an annual total of $5 million in additional income.
The Rochester professor said Quebec demanded less water level fluctuation in the St. Lawrence to protect its land from erosion, but keeping high water in the lake will produce more damage on the south shore during winter storms with primarily north winds.
Read the entire article in The Buffalo News

I live not far from Matchedash Bay - part of Severn Sound, and entering into the lowly Georgian Bay: lowly partly because of the dedging of the St. Clair river to facilitate shipping past Detroit and into Lake Erie (thus gutting much of the businss done, prior to the 1960's, on Georgian Bay).
The same commission has finally admitted to the impact on the Georgian Bay/Huron/Michigan water level and has recently confirmed plans to slow the flow through the St. Clair river.

Wetland habitat loss remains a concern of environmentalists in the Georgian Bay region.

No comments:

Post a Comment