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Lakeshore community against water level plan
by Jennifer Lee
Orleans County, N.Y. - People living along the shore of Lake Ontario rallied together Wednesday, along with lawmakers, to speak out against a new proposal that would change the lake's water level.
Called Plan 2014, the International Joint Commission plans on controlling lake levels to benefit the ecosystem.
"The plan is to raise the higher levels by a foot and a half and to let the lower levels go down by a foot and a half," said Congressman Chris Collins (R-NY) 27th District. "The higher levels will destroy our shoreline the lower levels will destroy our boating industry."
Congressman Collins is standing behind lakeshore homeowners who have spent thousands to maintain their homes.
One of them is Peggy Eckardt who has lived on the lake since 1946. Throughout the years, she said she has lost 35 feet from erosion.
"We lose land when they decided to up and down, up and down [lake levels]. We still have to pay the taxes even though the land is in the water," said Eckardt.
The IJC estimates 64,000 acres of wetlands and aquatic life would improve under Plan 2014.
But it'll cost homeowners 13 percent more each year to protect the lakeshore, and hit the boating industry during low water level periods.
"In this situation, there is no money, no plans of the devastating impact of Monroe, Wayne, Orleans and Niagra counties and for that reason alone it should be stopped," said Collins.
For Eckardt and her lakeshore neighbor, they simply want the government to be hands off.
"For the government to come in and say we want to decide instead of Mother Nature when the water level is going to go up and the water level is going to go down, it's devastating on us," said Eckardt.
The IJC said the plan is under review by the U.S. and Canadian governments. No action will be taken until the IJC hears back from them.