IJC to hold emergency meeting & possibly suspend ‘Plan 2014’, newspaper says

IJC to hold emergency meeting & possibly suspend ‘Plan 2014’, newspaper says
The International Joint Commission controls the flow of water through dams in Massena. (Source: WWNY)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WWNY) - There are several reports which say the body that regulates water levels on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River is considering is suspending Plan 2014.

It’s something one local group does not want to see happen.

Many have blamed the International Joint Commission and Plan 2014 for flooding on the lake and river this year and in 2017.

As yards turn into ponds and docks get swallowed up, the IJC may consider suspending its controversial water regulation plan.

IJC spokesperson Frank Bevacqua says the group plans to meet sometime this week to discuss if there are additional measures it can take to reduce flooding and to discuss the performance of Plan 2014.

Newly confirmed U.S. Chairwoman Jane Corwin told the Buffalo News that she would raise the possibility of suspending Plan 2014 at the emergency meeting.

Suspending Plan 2014 is something Save the River in Clayton does not want to see happen.

“We think it’s got tremendous environmental benefits, we think it’s got benefits from the recreational boating community, which is critical to us up here in the Thousand Islands and the upper St. Lawrence River,” said John Peach, executive director of Save the River.

Peach says he was disappointed to hear Corwin’s proposal. He says 17 or 18 years of work went into formulating Plan 2014.

The plan, which was put in place in January of 2017, allows for higher highs and lower lows when it comes to water levels. Members of the IJC’s Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board have said the new plan deviates slightly from the previous plan by only a few inches during the high water and low water period.

“Just to hear that one commissioner would propose that she could get rid of it I think that’s very disappointing,” said Peach.

Many along the lake and river have blamed Plan 2014 for this year’s record high water. But Peach says he doesn’t think Plan 2014 has anything to do with it.

“The causes are pretty obvious, you got 4 of the 5 Great Lakes at record heights. I think the other one is at record height today so all that water is coming down from Lake Erie, there’s no control on Lake Erie. You’ve got the waters coming down from Canada. The Muskoka River, the Ottawa River are at historic highs, you have the snow melt coming down from Canada,” he said.

On top of that, Peach says we’ve had a lot of rain and Montreal has been flooded downriver.

To suspend the plan, board members would need a consensus and then have it approved by the United States and Canadian governments.

Meanwhile, the IJC’s Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board plans to meet Friday to consider increasing dam outflows.

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