IJC reduces lake outflows citing declining Lake Ontario water level

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) – The international commission that governs how much water is released from Lake Ontario announced Friday it had reduced outflows.

On August 21, The International Joint Commission or IJC decreased outflows by 10,270 cubic feet per second to 357,000.

Between June 13 and August 20, lake outflows were maintained at 367,270 cubic feet per second to try and combat record high water levels and devastating damage for the second Spring in three years.

At its peak, Lake Ontario’s water level reached 249.07 feet. Currently, the lake’s water level is 247.7 feet according to Army Corps of Engineers, still 23-inches higher than the same time in 2018.

In a Facebook post the commission stated:

“The Board recognizes the need to address persistent elevated levels on Lake Ontario and the Board remains committed to providing the highest achievable relief to Lake Ontario in consideration of the impacts of that relief on the St. Lawrence River interests.”

International Lake Ontario – St. Lawrence River Board

The new outflow rate flow represents a 3% reduction and remains a record-high value for this time of the year, stated the IJC.

The commission said their goal is to continue lowering Lake Ontario’s water levels through the end of the year and ensure safe conditions for all boaters and property owners alike.

Despite requests to increase outflows the commission states, this action could cause unsafe river conditions in the St. Lawrence and increase erosion along the shoreline.

Many lawmakers and neighbors along the southern shoreline have blamed the IJC for the flooding and erosion near their homes and properties; both direct results of the high water level. The IJC, however, has maintained that inconsistent weather patterns are more to blame.

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