Moses Saunders dam

Direct from the IJC: “Last updated more than 50 years ago, the plan for managing flow operations at the Moses Saunders dam at Cornwall, Ontario and Massena, NY has provided flood control benefits for upstream and downstream communities, more stable water levels for shipping, recreational boating and drinking water intakes, and dependable flows for hydropower production. However, the flow manangement practices have also degraded the environment of Lake Ontario and the Upper St. Lawrence River.

The International Joint Commission’s (IJC) proposal will restore more natural patterns of water-level fluctuation and improve conditions in wetlands and aquatic habitat for fish, birds and other animals in the coastal and nearshore zones of the lake and upper river. It will also continue to manage levels for shoreline communities and other interests on Lake Ontario by reducing the occurrence of high and low water levels to nearly the same degree as the 1950s plan. The proposal will provide for a small increase in the generation of clean hydroelectric power and maintains the current benefits for downstream communities and economic activities in Quebec. The proposal includes an adaptive management strategy which will be implemented over time to provide systematic monitoring and performance assessment, and help communities adapt to changing conditions.

The Lake Ontario –St. Lawrence River proposal for regulation includes five elementsis that are described in detail in accompanying pages: Order Criteria and Conditions; Regulation Plan; Deviations Directive; Board Directive; and Adaptive Management. 

The International Joint Commission may further revise the proposal, including the new regulation plan, based on comments received during the public review process, and will then seek the concurrence of the federal governments of Canada and the United States prior to implementation.”

Controversy continues between stakeholders. Go to IJC WEBSITE to down load Plan 2014.

Feds should pursue stronger EA on Ring of Fire | Sudbury Star

Proceeding with mining development is beung questioned in Northwest Ontario, Ring of Fire, Sudbury. Bullying not way to bring diverse stakeholders together. Excerpt from The Sudbury Star:


The extraction of mineral resources in the remote Ring of Fire represents a multibillion-dollar enterprise, potentially creating thousands of jobs throughout the North. The challenges are significant –but the boost to the North’s economy (and the province) may be worth the investment of public dollars on capital projects, such as a rail or road access.

With comparisons being made between the Ring of Fire and Alberta’s oil sands, it’s no wonder that environmentalists and First Nations communities are wary of runaway development decisions being made by governments without due consideration of future impacts. While bitumen mining in northern Alberta has brought economic growth, it has also created significant social and environmental issues that will likely remain for centuries. To avoid similar negative impacts, a truly comprehensive and consultative environmental assessment process needs to be priority number one.

However, until now, the Conservative government has seemed content to put itself at odds with environmental organizations and First Nations. As a result, the government has needlessly contributed to the delaying development in the Ring of Fire.

winner & losers on low water levels

In response to the Another Voice column by Jim Howe of the Nature Conservancy, impact of

Excerpt form Buffalo News article by Dan Barletta.

Another round of discussion on impact of low water levels on Lake Ontario.

”   Further in his essay, Howe cites dollar values that seem to say that this aberrant plan would provide millions of dollars in benefits. What he fails to state is that the low water periods would be devastating to the $94 million-per-year sports fishing industry along the south shore, or that the estimates for property damage along this shore have been shown to be two-to-three times greater than the plan states.

Most private property damage is undervalued and damage to public lands and infrastructure is not even evaluated. Water intakes, sewer systems, roads, bridges, power lines and other sensitive infrastructure might be at risk from drastic man-made level changes on both the high and low side.

An example of the failure of the commission to properly evaluate the potential economic losses is in the Town of Somerset. This town has more than $400 million in public assets that were not included in the damage estimates in the original study by the IJC.

This plan was created behind closed doors with the environmental interests and no other interest allowed in. We commend the elected representatives of the province of Quebec for standing up to the IJC and stating that they would not accept any more damage than what occurs to their part of the system under the current plan. But we are dismayed that New York State representatives would allow this damage to occur to their citizens. The IJC needs to return to the drawing board and come back with a more represented plan.

Dan Barletta is Monroe County director of the Lake Ontario Riparian Alliance. He was a member of the International Joint Commission’s Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Study.”

By Dan Barletta