* Plan 58DD regulated water levels in Lake Ontario for almost 60 years. Under Plan 58DD Lake Ontario water levels had a four-foot range above sea level: 243.3 to 247.3; Under the newly-enacted Plan 2014, approved by the International Joint Commission (IJC) that range was broadened to six foot or more above sea level.

The breach between Charles Point and Crescent Beach is growing.

A breach between Charles Point and Crescent Beach was created during a storm in April of 2016. It now connects Lake Ontario and Sodus Bay and is getting wider. This breach contributes to declining water quality in the bay.

As the water level in Lake Ontario rises, Save Our Sodus members and myself are frequently asked: “What is the difference between the old and the new plan that regulates water levels in Lake Ontario and is Plan 2014 to blame for the current high water?” 

As of this writing, Lake Ontario is 21 inches higher than its long-term April average water level. The IJC has been telling us that the water levels are nearly the same now as they would be under Plan 58DD.  They are correct; we have had a wet spring with a lot of rain.  The issue is the word nearly

A cottage on Charles Point, Sodus Bay, NY - photo by Nancy Dodge-King

A cottage on Charles Point. Photo by Nancy Dodge-King, April 2017

Under Plan 58DD, flows would have been increased starting in March, around the ice flows because under Plan 58DD IJC was able to adjust water levels in advance of a situation. Plan 2014 does not let them do that because they did not always accurately predict the changes in water levels. Instead, Plan 2014 introduced triggers. 

The Army Corps of Engineers said some of those triggers have already been met, and outflow has been increased multiple times. But that’s not enough.

Under 58DD by now flows from the Mt Morris dam would have been further reduced, and the water level would have been lower.

Under Plan 58DD, flows would have been increased starting in March, around the ice flows because under Plan 58DD IJC was able to adjust water levels in advance of a situation. Plan 2014 does not let them do that because they did not always accurately predict the changes in water levels. Instead, Plan 2014 introduced triggers. By now flows from the Mt Morris dam would have been further reduced, and the water level would have been lower.

A photo of a flood in Sodus Point 70 years ago. We hope to be spared of a repeat. 

How much lower is a debate that only the IJC has the information to figure out.  I’m sure they are not interested in telling us if they have spent the time to figure it out.  It is inches, not feet.

We are at the point where a few inches make a difference.  Just for the reference – when Lake Ontario is 10” higher, as it has been in April, it adds 1.6 trillion gallons of water to the lake. Even a light spring storm could cause a serious damage.

Arnies’ Marina. Photo by David Figura, newyorkupstate.com

Under Plan 58DD we would not be in quite the crisis we are in today.  And we would feel comfortable that the crisis would go away in a few weeks, not a few months.  The water would still be high and we may be starting to sandbag.  We would have had some of the erosion but not nearly what we have had.  Some areas have lost over 20 feet of lakefront property.  We are not forecast to be at normal June levels until mid-August.

"when Lake Ontario is 10” higher, it adds 1.6 trillion gallons of water to the lake; even a light spring storm could cause a serious damage."

Between climate change and Plan 2014, we need to have a plan how to mitigate our shorelines and infrastructure for higher water. 

The DEC is working with the county and local towns to better understand the issues and to develop a mitigation plan.  Nothing definitive yet but we should expect some direction soon. 

The next step will be finding the money to pay for the needed modifications and repairs.

Please send us your pictures

Please email SOS@saveoursodus.com any pictures and estimates you have of damaged areas.  We will ensure that they are broadly shared with those that may be able to help.  If you are a Facebook user, please post those pictures on our FB page https://www.facebook.com/saveoursodus . Please include the date the picture was taken. THANK YOU in advance.

Every chance you get, please let your local representatives know that Plan 2014 must be modified or repealed. We at Save Our Sodus are tirelessly working on it as well.

Charles Point, April 2017. A breach that now separates Charles Point from Crescent Beach could be seen in the upper middle.  Photo by Dave Pitts, FB

Featured image at the top of the post by Joanne Wetton VanEtten, FB

Plan 2014 Impact?

Have you noticed that the recent levels of Lake Ontario are 4 inches above the long-term average?

Is this the result of Plan 2014?

Supplies have certainly been higher than normal so this may all balance out.  But maybe not.

The high mean for the water level according to the Plan 2014 Compendium Document in January is 246.92 feet (IGLD 1985) and in February this level is 247.28 (IGLD 1985), just 2 one hundreds of a foot below the 1958DD maximum high level for Lake Ontario.

usace_logo

One of many places to keep track –  US Army Corps of Engineers site. 

 

Sodus Bay Yacht Club and Water Level Meter:

Save Our Sodus is a member of New York State Federation of Lake Associations, NYSFOLA, and participates in The Citizens Statewide Lake Assessment Program, CSLAP.

Sodus Bay and Lake Ontario

The CSLAP collects water samples from Sodus Bay but does so less frequently than Dr. Boyer and his team from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) who perform most of the water testing for SOS.  All the test results are forwarded to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) for a statewide picture.

NYSFOLA helps us have a stronger voice than ever before to protect our lakes

NYSFOLA has been a statewide voice for lakes since 1983, and remain committed to continuing to serve that function going forward.

NYSFOLA 2017 Plan:

  • Enhance CSLAP

    Enhance CSLAP by eliminating the rotation system and providing more opportunity for aquatic invasive species surveys, data interpretation, and communication with volunteers.  We continue to support DEC in the effort to detect, sample, and alert our members about Harmful Algal Blooms.

  • Upgrade the NYSFOLA Annual Conference

    Upgrade the NYSFOLA Annual Conference.  We are working on a new format this year.  We have moved the banquet to Friday night to increase attendance and will end the conference on Saturday afternoon to reduce costs and allow people to head home earlier.  We hope that the new format will also allow us to look for other venues around the state to increase participation by new members.

  • Support the Oneonta Foundation

    Continue to support the Oneonta Foundation to fund graduate students in their efforts to prepare lake management plans for lakes across the state.  They have provided valuable assistance to many of our members, and they are the future of lake management.

  • Develop Better Support Materials for Members

    Develop better materials on how to form and manage lake associations, fundraising activities, membership recruitment, etc.  In short, we need to do even more for our member lake associations!

  • Address Members' Concerns

    Continue to answer your questions and concerns even as more time constraints are put on our part-time manager, Nancy Mueller who is also charged with running the day-to-day CSLAP needs.  She continues to be the day-to-day voice of NYSFOLA and provides immeasurable service to lake advocates around the state.

  • Participate in Regional Activities and Be The Voice for NY Lakes

    Participate in regional activities and “be the voice for NY lakes” by having a greater statewide presence.  Increasingly, NYSFOLA is being asked to enter in collaborative projects with colleges, regional lake groups, and the PRISM activities.  This raises our profile and makes our “voice” louder than ever.

  • Influence Elected Officials to Protect Water Resources

    Continue to impress upon elected officials the need to protect water resources.  Continue dialogue with regulatory agencies about the need to prepare and implement thoughtful regulations and permit requirements.

Learn more at  www.nysfola.org.

 

2016 Summer Recap

With Summer over and most of the boats on Sodus Bay put away, it is a good time to look back and review 3 of the events initiated by Save Our Sodus that got the most traction in the Sodus Bay fans’ community.

EAST BREAK-WALL

"The good news is...

…the task (of starting a repair project on the Break Wall) appears to be getting off the ground which will help ensure that great Sodus Bay remains a Bay, and does not merge with Lake Ontario.”

Dave McDowell, President, Save Our Sodus

The break-wall videos that we made in the spring were viewed JUST ON FACEBOOK by nearly 12,000 people. In addition to building awareness about the poor state of the break-wall, we wrote follow-up letters and made phone calls to various agencies but particularly the Army Corps of Engineers. As a result, a Sodus Bay break-wall project has been placed on the ACE 2018 budget request. The request will be reviewed with the public in February, when they unveil their 2018 budget request to Congress.

From what I understand this will begin the process of planning the best way to repair the break-wall, so we will see some engineering designs and this process could take two or three years from what we’ve been told. It’s unlikely that we will see any shovel in the ground for four to five years. The good news is the task appears to be getting off the ground which will help ensure that great Sodus Bay remains a Bay, and does not merge with Lake Ontario.

WATER CHESTNUTS PULLS

We sponsored primarily one but really a couple of Chestnut pulls throughout the summer.

Several tons of water chestnut were pulled from Sodus Bay. 

Sodus Bay Improvement Association, an east side organization pulled chestnuts from Clark Creek. During three days of the chestnut pull 36 Volunteers in various boats and even a paddle board(!) did a great job of cleaning up areas prone to water chestnut growth – First and Second Creeks, Clark creek and others.

SODUS BAY WATER QUALITY WORK PARTY and EXPO

a.k.a. BEACH CLEANUP AND CELEBRATION

Last summer Sodus Bay and its fans were spared toxic blue-green algae blooms in spite of the relatively hot weather that usually brings toxic blooms. That was the initial reason to have a Celebration. We’ve all done our part – and could learn what else we can do to keep the water in our bay clean. Beach cleanup days are being held across the country to engage communities in cleaning beaches at the end of the beach season.

During the 2015 New York State Beach Cleanup 7,723 volunteers  in 26 counties removed 125,554 pounds of debris along 250.21 miles of shoreline.

In 2016 SOS decided to join this worthy movement.

On September 17th we held a SODUS BAY WATER QUALITY WORK PARTY and EXPO in conjunction with 31st Annual New York State Beach Cleanup.

84 volunteers showed up around 8-30 a.m. on a rainy Saturday morning, including many scouts and school kids.

They cleaned the public beach in Sodus Point, the areas along Wickham Boulevard, and the Margaretta Road boat launch, and several other areas within the village of Sodus Point.  Crescent Beach was also cleaned up.

A few barrels, tires, lots of plastic bags, beverage bottles and cans, cigarette butts, food wrappers, candy wrappers, straws and bottle caps were collected.