Public Meeting: Lake St. Lawrence Low Water Levels

Published on 31 August 2018

Public Meeting - Low Water Levels 1

On September 11, 2018, at 7:00 PM, a public meeting will be held to discuss the issue of low water levels affecting residents, businesses, and wildlife along Lake St. Lawrence. Representatives from the International Joint Commission and the International Lake Ontario - St. Lawrence River Board will be in attendance to discuss and answer questions. The meeting will be held at South Stormont Town Hall, 2 Mille Roches Road, Long Sault. All are welcome to attend.

Residents living along Lake St. Lawrence and those trying to enjoy its beaches, wetlands, ponds, and recreational boating are well aware of its extremely low water levels. This is not due to hot and dry weather. It is as a result of the International Joint Commission (IJC) controlling the water level on Lake St. Lawrence.

According to the IJC, the reason Lake St. Lawrence is low is because Lake Ontario is high, and they are trying to lower the water level on Lake Ontario. The water levels of Lake St. Lawrence and Lake Ontario are controlled by the Cornwall Dam. When water flow is increased at the dam, it acts as a vacuum, pulling down the water level of Lake St. Lawrence. This happens because Lake St. Lawrence is a much smaller body of water compared to Lake Ontario. Many external factors also affect the system, including the Great Lakes, rainfall, snowfall, wind conditions, and global warming, among others.

Approved by the IJC, Plan 2014 is a regulation plan for determining the flows through the Moses-Saunders Dam located on the St. Lawrence River between Cornwall, Ontario and Massena, New York, and is supposed to manage water levels and flows in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. Plan 2014 was supposed to offer people living along Lake St. Lawrence, Lake Ontario, and Lake Erie a more natural flow of water.

Due to excessive rain fall last year—which caused very high water levels, resulting in flooding of homes along Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, and surrounding areas—Plan 2014 has been altered to address the high water in Lake Ontario. According to the IJC, water levels are still high in Lake Ontario, which is why Lake St. Lawrence is experiencing low water levels again this year. For every inch Lake Ontario is lowered, water levels on Lake St Lawrence are lowered by approximately 20 inches.

Attend the public meeting on September 11th to let the International Joint Commission and the International Lake Ontario - St. Lawrence River Board know how the low water levels of Lake St. Lawrence are affecting you.