River Watch 2020 # 1

RIVER WATCH 2020 # 1

While most of you are probably better aware of what is happening on the river than I am, I came across two news items that I felt warranted the early production of a River Watch article.

The first is the fact that, with the end of the shipping season on December 31, 2019, the International Lake Ontario – St. Lawrence Board has been granted approval by the IJC to deviate from Plan 2014 by increasing outflows from Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River to 10,700 cubic metres per second. This outflow is 300 cubic metres per second higher than what was maintained in the summer and early fall of 2019.

The high flows will continue for as long as possible and until ice formation resumes on the St. Lawrence River. During ice formation, flows are normally reduced until there is a solid ice sheet. Once that occurs, flows can be increased but not to the degree as it would be with an open water situation.

Secondly, the IJC’s Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Adaptive Management (GLAM) Committee seeks to document and better understand the impacts associated with the 2019 high-water levels. This is part of the committee’s long-term efforts to support the IJC’s International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board and International Lake Superior Board of Control in evaluating existing strategies for managing outflows from Lake Ontario and Lake Superior.

Information provided by shoreline properties owners is critical for ensuring that scientific and engineering tools used to evaluate regulation plans under a range of wet and dry conditions accurately reflect the high-water impacts that have been experienced.

The GLAM Committee has developed an online questionnaire for shoreline property owners. The questionnaire builds on the Committee’s 2017 efforts for the Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River shoreline, where more than 1,300 people responded.

Results from the 2017 survey:

I have been in touch with a GLAM member who indicated that the questionnaire will remain active until the end of January 2020. Take a look at the questionnaire and decide for yourself if you would like to take the time to provide the Committee with your information. Talk to your neighbours who might have experienced some effects from last year’s high-water to determine if they are interested in completing the questionnaire.

If you do not want to complete the questionnaire, I would still recommend going to the website indicated. The site contains a GLAM Committee report and factsheet relative to the 2017 survey.

The online questionnaire can be found at: https://ijc.org/en/glam/watershed/questionnaire/high-water-levels-2019

If anyone has any questions, please send a message to this email address.

Prepared: January 14, 2020