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IJC to study ongoing Lake Ontario outflow problem

Sat, Mar 14th 2020 07:00 am

News from the International Joint Commission finds it is now beginning the process to investigate how possible improvements could be made to Plan 2014 and regulate Lake Ontario outflow regulation activities.

The announcement of an expedited review of Plan 2014 comes following the awarding of $1.5 million from the U.S., plus $1.5 million from Canada, to address the continuing water outflow problem that exists in the lake, according to the IJC Great Lakes Connection monthly newsletter.

Extremely wet conditions over the past several years have driven record-high water levels and river flows in the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River system.

According to the IJC March Great Lakes Connection monthly newsletter, the 18- to 24-month investigation will focus on gathering information to help inform interests on both the U.S. and Canadian shores of Lake Ontario on the critical decisions needed to best manage these extreme conditions. It will provide information that may lead to long-term improvements to the regulation plan.

The review will be managed by the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Adaptive Management (GLAM) Committee, a subcommittee to the IJC’s International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board, International Niagara Board of Control, and the International Lake Superior Board of Control. The GLAM Committee provides all of the Great Lakes control boards, including the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board, with the scientific data and analysis required to review the performance of regulation plans so the boards can evaluate potential changes to those plans.

The GLAM Committee has already started executing tasks in support of this expedited review to help the board with key decisions for this spring.

“The IJC is committed to making this an open and transparent review and is in the process of creating a special advisory group to support the GLAM Committee through this process,” said Jane Corwin of Clarence, U.S. co-chair of the IJC.

The advisory group is said to be made up of people representing a wide range of interests throughout the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River system.

“The advisory group will create an invaluable, direct connection between the review and those impacted by water levels and flows throughout the system,” said Pierre Béland, Canadian co-chair of the IJC.

IJC said no regulation plan would be able to prevent the extremely high water levels and flows experienced during these periods of record-setting water supplies. However, the IJC said it remains fully committed to finding the best solutions possible for managing levels and flows, especially during these periods of extreme conditions.

For more information, contact Frank Bevacqua at the IJC Washington, D.C., office at 202-736-9024, or [email protected].

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