To the editor,

We read with interest the article “Schumer visits lake as anger, waves crest,” published on June 18 on in The Palladium-Times, which touches on the question of whether Plan 2014 contributed to the record floods on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River this year and in 2017. To place the article in context, the flooding was caused by persistent and at times exceptionally wet weather across the Great Lakes basin along with extremely high inflows to Lake Ontario and the St Lawrence River.

At present, Plan 2014 has responded to high water supplies with high Lake Ontario outflows, as the previous plan would have. Furthermore, throughout the late summer and fall of 2018, flows under Plan 2014 were almost certainly higher than they would have been under the previous plan. During the late summer and fall of 2018, the rules and provisions of Plan 2014 enabled us to set and maintain record or near-record flows, which helped to reduce the flooding impacts that we are experiencing in 2019.

During the spring of 2019, high outflows from Lake Ontario were somewhat constrained by conditions in the St. Lawrence River, including the need to avoid the formation of ice jams, the extent of downstream flooding as the Ottawa River was flowing into the St. Lawrence River at record volumes, the need for navigational safety, and the need to protect water intakes. We would have faced these same conditions and constraints under the previous plan.

In recognition of the limited ability of the any regulation plan to prevent flooding, it is vital that all coastal communities make high and low water levels a part of everyday planning and practice. Building for resilience is the most reliable way to reduce damages and impacts in the future.


Dr. Geneviève Béchard Canadian Co-chair

Stephen Durrett

Alternate US Co-chair

International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board

(2) comments


The record flood event on lake Ontario is caused largely by the need to save Montreal from record flood event at the last moment The record snow packs this year were probably known by February, still there was no urgent measures until mid April when Ontario outflows had to be drastically cut to save the city Now it would help to do something drastic to reduce the lake from record highs (possibly at the expense of other interests) Lake flooding is different from river flooding, it is mostly devastating at record levels coupled with storm events. If we have a really strong storm, we will have a new plan and a new commission the next year, if not, we will try our luck again in the future


2 million people live in Montreal, an island in the St. Lawrence River. The river rises 11 inches for every inch Lake Ontario rises.

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