ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board (ILOSLR) will be reducing outflow through the Moses-Saunders dam this weekend to give boaters on Lake St. Lawrence an opportunity to remove their boats from the water.
The lake has been hovering at record-low levels all summer, making boating difficult. It sits directly at the mouth of the Moses-Saunders dam, where outflow along St. Lawrence is regulated.
Lake St. Lawrence varies dramatically with outflow, rainfall, runoff and even wind direction. According to the United States Army Corps of Engineers, water levels over the past week have dropped over a foot because of persistent northeast winds. This four-day reduction will bring the water levels back up.
The board expects water levels toward Montreal to drop nearly a foot (11.8 in) during this period.
They also expect water levels to go up on Lake Ontario less than a third of an inch. Considering its current level sits at 244ft, almost 8 inches below average, this should not make any significant difference in long-term water levels.
The International Joint Commission has been deviating from its outflow strategy set in Plan 2014 since September 24. They’ve been able to based on the low water level set in Criterion H14. According to the IJC’s directive on deviations:
“In the event that Lake Ontario levels reach or fall below extremely low levels, the works in the International Rapids Section shall be operated to provide all possible relief to municipal water intakes, navigation and power purposes, upstream and downstream.”
Even as this deviation occurs, the IJC says they plan on adjusting the flow back to what it was before the weekend temporary deviation per their directive on adjustments. This falls under the category of “minor deviation” within Plan 2014. Forecast water levels for Lake Ontario remain below average, unless a prolonged wet pattern occurs over the Lake Ontario water basin.
Lake Ontario water levels have been below average since mid-June, which correlates with the prolonged rain deficit that Rochester has felt since late spring.