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Lake level plan formally unveiled
Rochester, N.Y. The governments of the United States and Canada have a choice to make: should action be taken to restore the health of Lake Ontario or not.
The International Joint Commission submitted its recommendation for Plan 2014, a water management program that would alter the way outflows are managed. The previous management plan is more than 50 years old.
Were not going to let the lake go as high as it used to go when it was unregulated, explained Jim Howe of The Nature Conservancy.
Were not going to let the lake go as low as it was when it was unregulated. Were going to honor highs and lows but we are not going to increase fluctuation in the middle of that range, said Howe of the IJCs proposal.
In 2013, the IJC held multiple public meetings to gain comments from shoreline homeowners.
We have considered not only the advice of scientists and engineers, but also listened to a great deal of public input from home owners, boaters, shippers and the people who live on and use these waters, said U.S. Section Chair Pollack of the IJC.
The IJCs Plan 2014 could mean a rise in the water level of as much as two inches or as low as nine inches below what is allowed under the current plan, said Frank Bevacqua, Public Information Officer for the IJC. He added that the highs and lows could be above or below those figures depending on extreme weather trends.
It comes down to trust, said Cheri Riley of Edgemere Drive.
There is no timetable for a response by the governments of Canada and the United States, according to the IJC.
Messages left for Republican Congressman Tom Reed and Democratic Senator Charles Schumer were not returned.
Representative Louise Slaughter offered the following statement:
For over a decade, I have supported replacing the outdated Plan 1958DD with a plan that strikes a balance between the ecological needs of the lake and the concerns of homeowners along the lake shore. I commend the IJC on their 14 years of hard work on solving this problem, which involved the release of numerous proposals and engagement with stakeholders and residents in the community. I look forward to reviewing the final report and recommendation of Plan 2014, and to hearing from my constituents and experts in the field. The Great Lakes represent 90 percent of the surface fresh water in the United States and 20 percent of the worlds fresh water, and are responsible for 1.5 million jobs and $62 billion in wages its vital that we get this plan right for the future of the Great Lakes and the communities that rely on them.