LAKE ST. LAWRENCE, N.Y. (WWNY) - We’ve constantly been hearing about high water levels on the St. Lawrence River, but we go to an area on the river where the opposite is true. As water goes over the dams in Massena, this area drains quicker than others. In fact levels are so low, people are seeing things they haven’t seen before.
Ice fishermen are scarce on the St. Lawrence these days. An extreme effort to draw down lake Ontario has a unique effect at Lake St. Lawrence, where water drains quicker, leaving this area of the river high and dry. So much in fact, the Louisville Fire Department's Northern Pike Challenge won't happen this weekend.
“We actually are postponing it to the end of February. Just with the ice and then the water depth it just became not safe for us to have everybody on the ice,” said Corey Snyder, Louisville fire chief.
Lake Ontario is 16 inches above its average right now, prompting record winter dam outflows. The International Joint Commission, which controls governs water levels, hopes to stave off another another summer of flooding in 2020.
“People primarily believe that this is the lowest that they have ever seen the water levels – at this time of year,” said Nancy Foster, Wilson Hill Association secretary.
People there are seeing things that have mainly existed underwater for 60 years, like a portion of Whalen Road. It's just below the weekend's ice and snow buildup. People are walking to the “lost village” of Louisville Landing.
“Finding little treasures on their way out and just venturing out to see the cool sites,” said Snyder.
It's been said this is the new normal on the St. Lawrence River. But people say the new normal is hard to get used to when it keeps changing.
People are worried about the impact on wildlife and what this portends for the summer.
“Our economy in St. Lawrence County is very tied into tourism and fishing. So it is a tough balancing act,” said Foster.
The international commission governing water levels has told people to be ready for both extreme high and extreme low water levels this winter. The new normal.