Residents Speak Out On Water Levels Plan


The north country has spoken. Water levels on the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario are too low and something needs to be done.

The International Joint Commission is proposing a new plan to fix the problem. It would essentially reverse regulations put into effect over 50 years ago.

Before it can do that, the commission needs feedback from the community.

"They'll go back and digest all the testimony they've gotten," said Save The River's Lee Willbanks, "and hopefully consider it in the most positive light."

The proposal is called Plan 2014. It would allow for so-called "trigger levels" based on seasonal fluctuations.

That could mean higher water levels, which many people support. 

"It's integral to the health of the river and we think that's vital to restoring the river and keeping it healthy," Willbanks said, "and it supports the local economy."

Those on the other side of the issue say they fear higher water levels could lead to more flooding.

"For many of us on the southern and eastern shore, that represented a significantly greater chance of flooding and shore damage and property damage," said Dave Youmans, who lives on the eastern shore of the lake.

"I think it could also hurt the economy, because the economy is highly driven by tourism in that area."

Nothing is final. The commission has two more hearings in Canada later this week, then it'll need approval from both the U.S. and Canadian governments.
Saturday, December 3, 2016
, Watertown, NY

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