CLAYTON, N.Y. (WWNY) - The environmental group Save the River says it's time for shipping companies to share in the burden of record-high water levels on the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario.
“The businesses have two of the last three years have suffered from extremely high water and we are concerned if they can take another year of this,” said John Peach, executive director of Save the River.
Save the River wants Governor Cumo's support in urging the St. Lawrence Seaway to delay its 2020 shipping season until the Ottawa River thaws to allow greater water outflows from the dams in Massena.
"Right now the water levels are 18 inches above the seasonal averages. With all the water up in the Great Lakes and threat of another high perception winter we've got a way to get out of the system now," said Peach.
We reached out to the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation to hear its thoughts on delaying the season but we haven't heard back.
Save the River had previously asked the seaway to shut down shipping early and try an on again off again shipping pattern. Those requests went unanswered.
Peach says the request comes before this year's shipping season ends to "give the shippers and the suppliers and the people who need the product that comes through the seaway alternative plans."
The International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board says that water levels along the St. Lawrence River will be extremely high and low this winter. The board will use a winter deviation strategy to take advantage of opportunities to safely increase outflows.
"The reason for this is to try and use the influence of water regulation to reduce the probability of flooding next year," said Tony David, member of the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board.
As for this year’s shipping season, it will go until December 31.