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Lake levels already above normal, Reilich says let water out

Local News

GREECE, N.Y. (WROC) — Lake Ontario is heading into winter with levels higher than normal, increasing the chances of more flooding in the spring.

This while the debate over whether the current management plan is doing more harm than good is raging, even among local representatives.

“I think we can debate all day what the cause is,” says Bill Reilich, Greece Town Supervisor and Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board member. He still blames Plan 2014 for the recent shoreline flooding, despite US Chair on the International Joint Commission and fellow Republican Jane Corwin saying it was historic rain, not the much-maligned management plan.

“I don’t think the issue is what causes the waters to rise, the issue is we’ve got to lower the water,” he adds.

Reilich says lake levels are already a foot and a half above normal. Now is the time to adjust. 

“That’s what I’m lobbying for and I think the board agrees with that. The residents are almost living with this day to day, not knowing what’s coming and fearful of what might come,” says Reilich.

Plan 2014 replaced the management plan that was in place since 1958, regulating water levels. While Corwin doesn’t blame 2014 for the flooding, she is calling for a review of it. She’s also encouraging residents and municipalities to prepare. That’s exactly what Wayne Knox, President of the Beattie Beach Association, says they’ve been doing.

“We’re very much better coordinated than we were two years ago,” says Knox.

“…Now, next year’s water level is being predicted to be higher than the last three years,” says Steve Klaassen, a concerned lake shore resident.

Relich says he’s also looking at regulating some shipping, and trying to find a balance between lake levels, living, and commerce.

“If we offend some shipping interests, then so be it. We’ve got to get this under control,” says Reilich.

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