Eastern Lake Ontario Environmental Research Group 2000 (cont'd from eloerg.tripod.com/waupoos)

Lake Ontario water level control plan, June 2013
Leon Redbone, RIP, June 2019
Ontario Endangered Species Act at risk, letter to Rod Phillips, April 2019
Slide to Extinction, Chris Humphrey, letter to Globe, October 31, 2018
Peter Galbraith, FRCP, obituary, October 2017
White Pines on Death Bed, Bruce Bell, Intelligencer, July 17,2018
Thucydides Trap, letter to Globe, May 2018
Great Lakes toxics down, SUNY Oswego/Clarkson U, April 2018
Machine subversion of democracy, letter to Globe, April 2018
Air Pollution overrides Ancestral Genes, Globe, March 2018
Olympian Cathal Kelly, letter to Globe, March 2018
Environmentalists seeking unemployment, letter to Globe, February 2018
Less is more on Bike Lanes, National Post, January 2018
Tramadol, 10 years on, Globe and Mail, November 2017
White Stripes: Belleville bicycle lanes, letters, November 2017
Occupational Cancers, CCO research results, Globe and Mail, October 2017
Big Pharmoney and Canadian Drug Use Guidelines, Globe and Mail, June 21, 2017, Kelly Grant
Oxycontin, 20 years on, letter to Globe, May 2017
Lake Ontario wind turbines to remain on hold? Feb 2017
Obituary, Raold Serebrin, September 2016
Sartorial slip or signal? letter to Globe editor, October 2016
Weapons of mass distraction, letter to Globe editor, Oct 2016
Point O turbines 99% Down the Drain, CCSAGE, July 7, 2016
Point O turbines Dead and Damned, PECFN, July 6, 2016
Rabid diplomat, letter to Globe, May, 2016
More on bats: rabid rocker? letter to Globe, January 2016
Lighthouses of eastern Lake Ontario, new book by Marc Seguin, March 2016
Continuing corporate windpower malfeasance: Windstream and Trillium Corp, Feb 2016
Amherst Island: the next fine mess, Feb 2016
Valerie Langer: Thirty years of effort pays off on the B.C. coast, Feb 1,2016
Trillium log, 6th annual ELO expedtion, September 2015
Trillium Wind Corp intent on Spoliation of eastern Lake Ontario and Main Duck Isle, June 2015
Turtles rule? Ontario Court of Appeal Decision: Turtlegate, April 2015
Obituaries, Mary Terrance (Luke) Hill, January 2015; Valerie Ingrid (Hill) Kaldes, July 2015
Ontario Court of Appeal turtle hearing, December 2014
Trillium Log, 5th annual ELO expedition, September 2014
Planetary public health manifesto, The Lancet, March 2014
Ostrander Bioblitz, butterfly inventory walk, August 10, 2014
Victory at Cape Vincent: British Petroleum withdraws turbine proposal, February 2014
Stay of execution granted by Ontario Court of Appeal, March 2014
Never say die: Will the Court of Appeal let the Ostrander Phoenix fly free again? March 2014
Divisional Court ruling in Ostrander: turtles belly up, Trojan horses win, February 2014
Lafarge 2020, pushing the air envelope again, Hazardous waste as cement kiln fuel proposal, Jan2014
Another fine mess in Port Hope: municipal waste incinerator proposal, January 2014
Ostrander: fiasco, or snafu? you decide, December 2013
Ostrander rises again, Noli illegitimi carborundum, December 2013
British Petroleum backing off Cape Vincent after a decade of aggression? December 2013
Turbines best Bald Eagles in U.S law, December 2013
SARStock 10 years after, letter to editor, August 2003
Trillium log September 2013: Surfin' USA: Hanging Ten in a Hughes 29
ERT Post mortem: Garth Manning lets it all hang out, August 2013
ERT post mortem: Cheryl Anderson lets it all hang out, August 2013
ERT Post Mortem: Ian Dubin lets it all hang out, August 2013
Great Lakes United turns thirty, goes down, RIP GLU, July 29, 2013
ERT decision, Ostrander turns turtle, goes down, July 3, 2013
PECFN Thankyou, and Appeal for funds, July 6, 2013
Minister of Env on Lake Ontario Off shore wind turbine status, June 2013
Lake Ontario water level control plan, June 2013
Play by Play, Part II, APPEC Ostrander ERT Appeal, June 2013
Ostrander ERT June 2013, Appendix VI, an indirect cause of human morbidity and mortality ?
ELOERG Presentation to Ostrander ERT, Part II, Human Health, May 2013
The Dirty E-Word, Terry Sprague, Picton Gazette, April 2013
Toxics in Great Lakes Plastic Pollution, April 2013
Bill Evans on Birds and Wind farms, April 2013
Mayday, Naval Marine Archive, April 2013
Experimental Lakes Area, Kenora, Closing by Federal Gov't, March 2013
Fishing Lease Phase out on Prince Edward Point, March 2013
Windstream makes $1/2 Billion NAFTA claim, March 2013
Play by Play, PECFN Ostrander ERT Appeal, March 2013
Offshore Wind turbine moratorium 2 years later, The Star, Feb 2013
ELOERG ERT submission on Ostrander: Appendix V: Pushing the Envelope of the MoE SEV, Feb 2013
Wente on Wind and Bald Eagle mugging, Globe and Mail, February 2, 2013
Sprague on Wind and Bald Eagle mugging, Picton Gazette, Jan 25, 2013
Cry Me a River over a Few Bats: Submission to Env Review Tribunal, ELOERG, January 2013
Lake Ontario's Troubled Waters: U of Michigan GLEAM, January 2013
Letter to Minister of Environment re: Ostrander, January 2013
No Balm in Gilead: Ostrander IWT's as Trojan Horses, January 2013
Ostrander Turbines: another Christmas gift by the MoE, Dec 2012
Occupational carcinogens: Ontario Blue Collar breast cancer study, November 2012
Fresh water fish Extinctions, Scientific American,November 2012
Great Lakes Toxics revisited, November 2012
Frack the What ? November 2012
$ 2 1/4 Billion Trillium Power lawsuit knockback Appeal, November 2012
Canada Centre for Inland Waters decimated, October 2012
Birds, Bats, Turbines, and the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, October 2012
Ecological public health, the 21st centurys big idea? British MedicalJournal Sept1,2012
Trillium log, Sept 2012
George Prevost, Saviour of the Canadas, 1812 - 1814. June 2012
The Victory at Picton: Bicentennial Conference on War of 1812-1814, Differing Perspectives, May 2012
Carleton Island and the 1812, letter to the Globe, October 2011
Queen's Fine Arts Department Succumbs, letter to Principal, December 2011
Mr. Kumar and the Super 30, November 2011
Letters, Articles and Projects from the Nineties
Alban Goddard Hill, web site manager

Enter subhead content here

Lake Ontario will rise higher and fall lower under joint U.S.-Canada plan

Joint Commission plans to return lake to more natural rhythm, worrying south shore residents too close to the edge.

Tys Theysmeyer, left, head of natural lands at the Royal Botanical Gardens, and John Hall, coordinator of the Hamilton Harbour Remedial Action Plan, were among those attending a public meeting in Jordan, Ont., to express support for a plan to adjust the way Lake Ontario levels are regulated.


Tys Theysmeyer, left, head of natural lands at the Royal Botanical Gardens, and John Hall, coordinator of the Hamilton Harbour Remedial Action Plan, were among those attending a public meeting in Jordan, Ont., to express support for a plan to adjust the way Lake Ontario levels are regulated.

It can come down to a matter of centimetres.

A few too low, and commercial shipping vessels must carry less cargo, losing their competitive advantage over road and rail — and the recreational boating season is cut short. A few too high, and homes are damaged and wetland plants killed.

So adjusting the regulations governing how the water levels of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River are managed is a tricky business to navigate — and one that has been done very slowly.

If you’d told John Hall, the co-ordinator of the Hamilton Harbour Remedial Action Plan, 14 years ago that he’d still be waiting for the change, he’d have scoffed.

But a $20 million, five-year study and $360,000 in public and technical hearings later, he is hopeful that the tide has finally turned.

After a 2008 plan was resoundingly rejected by stakeholders, a new plan is poised — barring some tweaking — to be recommended by the a new plan for federal approval by both the U.S. and Canada by early next year.

The International Joint Commission, a body of six Canadian and U.S. members, was created to handle issues in shared waters like the Great Lakes.

Conservation groups on both sides of the border, including Conservation Ontario and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, have given it their blessing. So has the Montreal Port Authority. Boating Ontario sees, as executive director Al Donaldson put it, “no need to panic.”

Robert Houze, who owns Iroquois Marine Services, says the new rules may allow the boating season for deep-keeled boats to go on a few weeks longer. The Canadian Shipping Association is concerned about the plan’s ability to allow quick changes when water levels are too low, says president Robert Lewis-Manning, but he’s optimistic that can be addressed.

But still beating ceaselessly against the current are property owners on the south shore of Lake Ontario — where the water is lapping almost at their front doors.

“We are disproportionately affected,” says Dan Barletta, a member of the Lake Ontario Riparian Alliance. It is their homes, their sewer systems and their flood insurance premiums that will suffer most under the new plan, he says.

Barletta has lived in Greece, N.Y., since 1985, in a lakeshore neighbourhood that has existed since 1887.

“The lake has come to us,” he says of the thousands of homes he says will be affected by the new plan. “We didn’t go to the lake.”

Lake Ontario levels are adjusted by controlling the amount of water released by the Moses-Saunders dam at Cornwall, Ont., and Massena, N.Y. The current system, in place since 1958, aims, despite the best efforts of Mother Nature, to keep lake levels within a 1.2-metre range, depending on time of year.

The new system intends to mimic the natural seasonal water levels of Lake Ontario, which means there will be both higher and lower water levels than now.

That means that homes on the Lake Ontario shoreline will face an increase in erosion and risk of flooding from the current plan — $2.22 million annually. Overall, there is a $3.12 million economic benefit to the new plan over the current one, due to $5.26 million in increased hydropower generation.

Barletta says most of that damage will be on the south lakeshore, and that the potential damage has been drastically undervalued.

“This plan is awful,” Barletta said at a recent public hearing organized by the commission. “It is beyond imagination that you are considering it.”

At the week of public hearings held in July, battle lines were drawn between property owners and the environmental groups.

It became, as the IJC commissioners observed in a technical hearing in Toronto, a matter of muskrats versus homes.

The new plan, with the periods of high and low water, does indeed benefit muskrats — a species used as an indicator of the healthiness of wetlands — as well as “vegetation, fish and other critters,” says Dick Hibma, the chair of Conservation Ontario. Without that variation in depth, you end up with marshes full of nothing but cattails.

John Hall, who sat on a public advisory committee during the five-year study, said he “wanted the south shore people to understand that those public agencies and private property owners that own wetlands are also property owners and have a major public investment in wetlands that have an economic value … A big reason people visit and spend tourism dollars is because of the natural lands like Cootes Paradise marsh, in the Royal Botanical Gardens.”

It’s easy to look to the south shore from Toronto “and say public safety should be first,” says Nancy Gaffney, a waterfront specialist with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.

The new plan hardly affects homes in Toronto and much of the Ontario side because shoreline development regulations put in place by the province after the devastation of Hurricane Hazel in the 1950s mean that homes are mostly well out of the hazard zones, she says.

“The coastal wetlands are our focus, and the south shore isn’t even close to that. But this issue isn’t about people versus muskrats at all, it’s about public safety ... I would hope these people have a sober second thought. If the waves are brushing against your window, it’s not the best place for your family to be, regardless of your rights.”

She hopes the plan’s much-touted “adaptive management strategy” will help find ways to provide people in vulnerable shoreline areas the assistance they need, whether it be moving houses entirely or providing some kind of protection.

The strategy boils down to monitoring the effects of changing water levels — something that could help the commission react more quickly to changing conditions caused by climate change, says Hall.

But as commission co-chair Lana Pollack notes, “monitoring isn’t sexy.”

And since no specific pilot programs have been listed and no provisions for funding have been made in the plan, there is concern that it will be a challenge to persuade various levels of government to sign off on it.

The commission is accepting public comments on the plan until the end of August. If stakeholders, including Ontario, Quebec and New York State, support the plan, it could go up for federal consideration next year.

Bluffer’s Park marina owner Ross Merikallio isn’t holding his breath, though. When it comes to water management issues, from Lake Ontario to the dangerously shallow Georgian Bay , he says waiting for change is “like waiting for the Scarborough subway.”

NPR Story
9:12 am
Fri June 14, 2013

New water management plan for Lake Ontario

Credit Some rights reserved by **Mary**

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 10:28 am

The body regulating water levels on Lake Ontario, the International Joint Commission (IJC), has released a proposal for a new management plan. Lake levels have a significant impact on the economic and environmental viability of harbors in upstate New York and Canada.

The last proposal, known commonly as plan Bv7, was highly controversial and received such backlash during the public comment period that the commission had to re-draft it.

The IJC’s new proposal aims to strike a compromise between the concerns of environmental groups and harbor residents.

For years management plans have focused on maintaining levels conducive to maximum economic benefit and minimal damage to shoreline property.

However, losses of ecosystem diversity and drops in bird and fish populations have raised concerns about the environmental impact of unnatural water levels. 

Plan Bv7 tried to correct this issue by introducing more extreme highs and lows to water levels more frequently. But, residents argued this plan would come at the price of recreational boating revenue and damage to shoreline property.

“There was a lot of support and a lot of opposition to plan Bv7. The new plan performs nearly as well for the environment as plan Bv7. So there’s a very small trade off that’s being made to provide greater protection to the shoreline communities,” says IJC spokesman Frank Bevacqua.

He says the new plan identifies a range of water level ‘trigger points’. If water rises above or drops below those levels, dams upstream will be used to adjust them.

He says this should protect shoreline properties and protect revenues for commercial and recreational boating.

The public comment period for the new plan is open until August 30th.


Click here to tell us what you think about this issue and the new plan.

Copyright 2013 WXXI Public Broadcasting. To see more, visit http://www.wxxi.org/.

Enter supporting content here

Eastern Lake Ontario Environmental Research Group