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IJC Commissioners tour shoreline as flooding impacts lakeside communities

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IJC Commissioners tour shoreline as flooding impacts lakeside communities 6pm

Greece Town Supervisor Bill Reilich hosted a listening session for the new commissioners of the International Joint Commission on Tuesday. They made their first site visit to the Lake Ontario shoreline, hoping to better understand the concerns of elected officials and the community. 

Some residents along the shoreline say the waves were crashing higher than the houses. Fish are swimming in the grass of homes along the lake, and people have been out pumping water out of yards and back into the lake.

Representative Chris Collins says we are dealing with 2017 all over again, and people on the lakeshore are already saying things are worse than they were two years ago. The IJC says lake levels in most of the basin are at a maximum. Pierre Beland, new to the IJC, says there is no solid plan other than what was drawn up in 2014, which outlines outflows for Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.

Beland says with the levels of rain and snow received over the past number of months, and the flow from Lake Erie, there’s no way to get more water out without causing more flooding. 

“There is no plan that would have relieved better than plan 2014. Is it ideal? No. It’s not an ideal situation,” he says. “Do we like this? No. We don’t. But there is no way to get more water out of the system faster during April or May without flooding other people.”

Beland says they are balancing what is happening in all affected waterways and doing what is best for both the US and Canada. He says sometimes Mother Nature sends more water while trying to get rid of water. He’s called the past few years a climate phenomenon. 

Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo declared an expansion for the State of Emergency that is in effect for the county, which will allow the county and local municipalities to initiate and maintain road closures.

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