IJC to help Lake St. Lawrence boaters for second season

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By Nick Seebruch
IJC to help Lake St. Lawrence boaters for second season
Cornwall's Moses-Saunders Dam during a summer month (Nick Seebruch/ Seaway News).

SOUTH STORMONT, Ontario – The International Lake Ontario – St. Lawrence River Board, a division of the International Joint Commission (IJC) has announced plans to assist boaters in getting their craft out of Lake St. Lawrence for the second year running.

The Moses-Saunders Dam in Cornwall has seen historically high outflows all season, but due to declining water levels in Lake Ontario, this has also meant unseasonably low water levels west of the dam in South Stormont and South Dundas.

To help boat owners with shore-side docks get their craft out of the water, the Board will be reducing the outflow of the Moses Saunders Dam by 1,000 m3/s or 35,300 cubic feet per second, which is intended to raise water levels west of the dam by 65 cm or 25.6 “. This reduced outflow and subsequently rising water level will only be for a short window from Oct. 12 to 13.

“The Board carefully considered the full range of impacts of this operation, including the significant impact that high 2019 Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River water levels have had, and in some cases continue to have, on people who live and work along the shoreline.  The Board also considered the relief it would provide to the recreational boaters on Lake St. Lawrence, following a third consecutive year that low levels here have presented challenges to this other area of the Lake Ontario – St. Lawrence River system.  There are approximately 700 marina and boat club slips around Lake St. Lawrence and hundreds of private docks that are impacted. Without raising water levels here, many boats would be left on the bed of Lake St. Lawrence and vulnerable to significant damage from winter conditions,” reads a statement from the IJC.

The IJC conducted a similar exercise in 2018 where they offered to increase water levels from Oct. 4 to 5. At that time, South Stormont residents circulated a petition asking the IJC to address low water levels in Hoople Bay. The IJC held a public information meeting in Long Sault, and chose to increase water levels for two days in October shortly after.

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