The rising water levels on Lake Ontario are causing serious problems for local infrastructure, property and business owners.

Mayor of Sodus Point Chris Tertinek, Sodus Town Supervisor Steve Leroy, Heron Town Supervisor Laurie Crane, and Greece Town Supervisor Bill Reilich are part of the group of Lake Ontario towns that are planning to go to Washington to lobby against recently enacted Plan 2014 that regulates water levels in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.

If Lake Ontario water levels continue to go up as experts are predicting, evacuations could result along the shoreline in coming weeks, officials said.

Sodus Point resident Ann Hayslip is pictured here in front of her house. The village is providing sand bags for those residents who request them, but it's their responsibility to put them in place. (David Figura l NYup.com)

Sodus Point resident Ann Hayslip is pictured here in front of her house. The village is providing sand bags for those residents who request them, but it’s their responsibility to put them in place. (David Figura l NYup.com)

“Lake Ontario and Wayne County bays and harbors are reported to be at, or above flooding level (247.3 feet), ” according to a press release Wednesday from the Wayne County Sheriff’s office.

Frank Bevacqua, a spokesman for the International Joint Commission (IJC) that recently approved Plan 2014, said the new policy has had a negligible impact on the current high water situation. “Plan 2014 took effect on January 7, and it has contributed a very small amount to the situation we’re seeing now, and things would only be marginally better if the old plan were being followed; it’s just a couple of inches difference,” Bevacqua said. According to him, the main issue has been all the rain.

“The rainfall in April has been extremely high,” he said. “We’ve had 50 percent above average on the Lake Ontario basin and 150 percent above average in the Ottawa River basin which contributes to flooding on the St. Lawrence River downstream.”

Bevacqua said dramatic swings in temperatures from January through March also contributed to situations that led to the higher than usual lake levels.

But the flooding is not just because of recent rain.

Plan 2014 clearly exacerbates the situation because it not only allows for the water levels to get higher (and lower) than before, but it also extends the duration when the water levels can remain higher. A spring storm which otherwise would not be a disaster, could quickly turn the situation into one. Even if get lucky and the storms will pass us by, the daily erosion is likely to cause damage to the shoreline properties.

The ground around Sodus Bay and Lake Ontario shoreline is mostly sand which makes it next to impossible to prevent the flooding. Residents and boaters are encouraged to minimize the wave action on Sodus Bay. Shoreline residents are encouraged to protect their property with sand bags that are provided by municipalities.

Elected leaders from the lakeside communities including Monroe, Wayne, Orleans, Erie and Niagara counties are turning to President Trump and the state department for help.

“We’re going to go down to Washington and we’re going to lobby. We’re going to raise our voices on behalf of our citizens to try and get some change. We’re not going to sit back and say, ‘Okay they have made their decision, we have to accept it,” says Greece Town Supervisor Bill Reilich.

“We’re asking that our federal representatives take action, to immediately lower the water levels and to also provide the necessary resources so that our infrastructure, our businesses and our property owners, including our homeowners are protected along the shorelines of Lake Ontario, ” stated Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo.

Hopefully, the White House will hear these calls for help.

 

NO WAKE ZONE within 500 feet from shore is in effect in Sodus Bay.

NO WAKE ZONE within 500 feet from shore is in effect in Sodus Bay.

An article by Beth Adams, WXXI:

Sodus residents are trying to protect their shoreline property from potential flooding as water levels continue to rise on Lake Ontario.
Town supervisor Steve LeRoy says sandbags are being made available to homeowners so they can create a breakwall to protect their property from surges that might be created by passing boat traffic or high winds.

Photo Apr 12, 10 01 20 AM

Sandbags being filled at the village of Sodus Point, NY

“If we are at flood stage, and the water is just beginning to seep up into people’s lawns, and we get a 60 mile an hour north wind, it’ll be devastating. And the water is continuing to rise now, so we’re really in trouble.”

LeRoy is a vocal critic of the joint plan between the U.S. and Canada to allow for more frequent variations in the water levels of the lake. After years of heated debate and revisions, the plan went into effect several months ago.

“The effects of that plan are evident,” LeRoy said. “We’re already seeing a very possible flood. We know at 247 feet above sea level we’ll begin to flood. I believe we’re within two inches of that now, and the water’s still coming up.”

But Keith Korawlewski, chief of hydrology for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Buffalo, says the Lake Ontario water levels are likely just as high as they would have been before Plan 2014 was enacted.

The biggest factor has been the wet spring that we had; including the rainfall we have had in the last couple of weeks has certainly impacted water levels on Lake Ontario.”

As of late Sunday morning, the water level on Lake Ontario was at just over 247 feet, a nearly 11 inch rise since April 1 and 19 inches higher than the long-term average between 1918 and 2016. The Army Corps of Engineers is predicting an additional 11 inch rise by May 14.

In Monroe County, the sheriff’s office is advising boaters and vessel operators to keep speeds and wakes down within 1,000 feet of the shoreline, saying that given the higher water levels, wake caused by boats and other vessels could cause significant damage to residents and boaters along the shoreline.

Deputies are also reminding boaters to be aware of significant debris in Lake Ontario and the surrounding waterways including trees and floating objects that could cause significant damage to boats and vessels.

Docks and other objects that are normally visible close to shore may be partially submerged and difficult to see because of the unusually high water level.

Article was originally published at http://wxxinews.org/post/sodus-property-owners-prepare-rising-lake-levels

Water levels in Lake Ontario are 18 inches above average for this time of year. Charles Point Docks in Sodus Point, NY. Photo by @CostichEngineering, Instagram.

Water levels in Lake Ontario are 18 inches above average for this time of year. Charles Point Docks in Sodus Point, NY. Photo by @CostichEngineering, Instagram.

 

 

March 2nd winds kept a lot of Sodus Bay residents awake at night.

Many lost electricity around 4 a.m., which was restored by 8 a.m.
However, some damage will take longer to recover from.

Crescent Beach / Charles Point Breach now connecting Lake Ontario and Sodus Point

Crescent Beach / Charles Point Breach now connecting Lake Ontario and Sodus Point. Photo taken from Lake Bluff by Paul Morgan shows Waves pumping through the breach after a night of high winds.

Electric pole on Crescent Beach which is right to the breach caused by last year April’s winds is almost in the water. Take a look:

Breach-electric-pole

Elizabeth Fox shared a photo of that same spot taken from the East.

Lizzie-Fox-(click on the image to enlarge)

Plan 2014 is already in effect.

Water levels in Lake Ontario and in Sodus Bay are about 9″ higher than usual.
The LEVELER, Lake Ontario Riparian Alliance Newsletter (Issue 64) has a chart that shows both normal and heavy precipitation outlooks. We are in trouble if we get near heavy.

Lake-Ontario-Monthly-Mean-Levels

Please click on the image to enlarge.

Lake-Ontario-Monthly-Mean-Levels.2jpg

The recent storm was another reminder for Sodus Bay and South Shore of Lake Ontario residents why we resisted Plan 2014. Although the Plan has been enacted, our fight isn’t over.

Please stay tuned and support SOS.

Thank you!

Michael-Pope-Lighthouse

On Thursday, December 8th, Commissioners of the U.S.- Canada International Joint Commission signed an updated order of approval for the regulation of water levels and flows in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.

The original Plan was adopted by  IJC, which oversees Great Lakes issues, in mid-2014 . Adoption of the plan came after more than a decade of study and updating the existing 1950s-era regulatory plan.

To be enacted, Plan 2014 must be approved by the federal governments of both the United States and Canada. The updated order makes it possible for the IJC to approve Plan 2014.

The news of the Plan’s approval drew a lot of comments.

Save Our Sodus along with residents of the South Shore of Lake Ontario opposes Plan 2014.

SOS is communicating with our various governmental leaders to determine the most effective strategy forward. Please stay tuned for the updates.

Reactions

These reactions were compiled  by and shared on Democrat and Chronicle site.  

“May leave our lakeshore vulnerable.” 

“With the approval of Plan 2014 comes great risk to many of our community’s home and business owners. Under Plan 2014, the higher lake levels may leave our lakeshore vulnerable to substantial flooding and increased erosion, resulting in significant damages to both private properties and public infrastructure. Relying on the last 50 years of lake-level standards, homeowners and businesses along the shore of Lake Ontario have invested their time and money into protecting their properties and Plan 2014 jeopardizes those investments.” — Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo.

Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo. (Photo: OLIVIA LOPEZ / @OLOPEZ4 /file photo)

Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo. (Photo: OLIVIA LOPEZ / @OLOPEZ4 /file photo)

Dave McDowell, President of the Board of Directors of Save Our Sodus, Inc.

“Absolutely do harm.” 

“I’m very disappointed in our state and federal representatives and our senators for allowing this to happen. This will absolutely do harm to five or six of the counties on the south shore of Lake Ontario at some point. And doing harm to any stakeholder … was specifically prohibited by the IJC charter.” — Dave McDowell, president of Save Our Sodus.

“The Challenge To This Should Be A Legal One”

“Incredibly disappointed.”

“I am incredibly disappointed with today’s announcement that Plan 2014 will move forward. Despite the last-ditch actions taken by the administration today, I will continue to work with all levels of government — including the incoming administration — as well as stakeholders and community members to pursue every possible course to ensure that our shoreline is protected and to mitigate the impact of this decision.”U.S. Rep. John Katko, R-Camillus, Onondaga County.

Republican Rep. John Katko, D&C Staff photo

Republican Rep. John Katko, D&C Staff photo

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro, Essex County, New York

“Critical to our economic growth.”

“Plan 2014 is critical to our local economic growth in addition to good environmental policy, and I applaud this important decision. Better regulating the water levels of the St. Lawrence will ensure that users — from boaters to commercial fisherman — can continue to enjoy the river. Lowering the impact of invasive species will ensure that outdoor recreationists can enjoy the river for decades to come. — U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro, Essex County.

“Bureaucratic disaster.”

“If the International Joint Commission thinks for a second that Plan 2014 will ever be fully implemented, they are sorely mistaken. I can guarantee you that I will do everything in my power to protect the taxpayers, homeowners and small businesses along the Lake Ontario shoreline that are set to be devastated by this bureaucratic disaster.”  — U.S. Rep. Chris Collins, R-Clarence, Erie County.

Republican Rep. Chris Collins

Republican Rep. Chris Collins

Jim Howe of the Nature Conservancy

“Revitalize our environment.” 

“Plan 2014 will protect and preserve some of upstate New York’s greatest assets — Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River and hundreds of miles of shoreline. We are grateful for this international, bipartisan decision to revitalize our environment and enhance the quality of life for all the people who live along the lake and river.” — Jim Howe, director, Nature Conservancy of Western and Central New York.

“Potential to endanger” 

“This plan has extreme potential to endanger the homes and livelihood of the thousands of residents within the town of Greece. I fear for our residents and businesses along the lakeshore not only in Greece but along the entire shoreline. Since the introduction of the proposed Plan 2014, I have been outspoken against its passage.”Greece Town Supervisor Bill Reilich.

Monroe County GOP Chairman Bill Reilich

November 15, 2016 nature-conservancy

Contact: Kate Frazer
Communications Manager
kfrazer@tnc.org
cell: 339-222-2014

The Nature Conservancy and Partners to Restore Sodus Bay Wetlands for People and Nature 

Sustain Our Great Lakes grant will help revitalize more than 115 acres of coastal wetland habitat along Sodus Bay


ROCHESTER, N.Y.The Nature Conservancy has been awarded a $193,521 grant from the Sustain Our Great Lakes program to restore and enhance more than 115 acres of wetland habitat in Sodus Bay by reconnecting floodplain habitat and assessing road-stream crossings that prevent fish from reaching spawning habitats.

The effort is a partnership among  Save our Sodus, the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF), the Wayne County Soil and Water Conservation District the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) and The Nature Conservancy.  With contributions from partners and private funders,  the total budget for the project amounts to more than $362,000.

“Sustain Our Great Lakes and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) have been critical partners in protecting wetlands,” said Jim Howe, executive director of The Nature Conservancy’s Central and Western New York Chapter. “Healthy wetlands filter our water, absorb storm surges and provide critical habitat for fish and wildlife. They’re vital to maintaining a healthy Bay and the benefits it provides―recreational boating, fishing, swimming and tourism―to our local economy.

The Nature Conservancy will first assess the effectiveness of 10 existing road stream crossings in improving passage for fish to upstream spawning habitat. Then, beginning in winter 2017 when the wetland mat is still frozen, an excavator will be used to create a more natural wetland with a meandering stream corridor, at least two acres of backwater potholes and new channels that connect streams to their floodplains. The revitalized wetland will offer new and improved habitat for species like northern pike, black ducks, green winged teal, least bitterns and potentially even black terns, a NYS-threatened species that hasn’t been observed breeding in the area in 10 years.

“The southern Sodus Bay wetland is one of only a few remaining coastal wetland complexes in the Lake Ontario basin,” said Gregg Sargis, director of ecological management for The Nature Conservancy. In addition to restoring wetland habitats for fish and wildlife, this project will make the shoreline of Lake Ontario more resilient for people by absorbing storm surge, increasing flood storage and reducing the amount of nutrients and pollutants entering Sodus Bay.”

“This wetland restoration project will be a great benefit to the entire watershed community, economically and environmentally,” said Save Our Sodus Board Member Edward Leroux. “Not only will the project benefit fish and wildlife, but the improved functioning of the wetland will significantly reduce nutrient loading from tributaries flowing to the Bay. Projects such as this one are an important contribution to the preservation of our recreation- and tourism-based economy as well as shore owners.”

“This project will also build upon invasive species management efforts currently underway across Sodus Bay while helping to deepen partnership for the benefit of the region,” said Lindsay Gerstenslager, District Manager for the Wayne County Soil and Water Conservation District. “The District is glad to have worked with many partners to improve water quality and invasive species management over the years, and adding The Nature Conservancy to these efforts will broaden our scope and expertise.”

“We are excited to work with The Nature Conservancy on this important project,” added Gregory Boyer, Director of Great Lakes Research and Professor of Biochemistry at SUNY-ESF. “While this project will improve fish habitat in the wetlands, we are hoping it will have an equally important role in limiting the nutrients entering Sodus Bay via Sodus Creek. This should lead to long-term benefits such as improved water quality and a reduction in harmful algal blooms that have plagued the Bay in past years.”

Additional private funds will be needed to complete this vital environmental restoration initiative. The Helen & Ritter Shumway Foundation has provided a grant in support of the effort, and The Nature Conservancy will be looking to raise additional funds over the next year.

Sustain Our Great Lakes is a public–private partnership that supports habitat restoration in the Great Lakes basin. Administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, a significant portion of program funding is provided by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), a federal program designed to protect, restore and enhance the Great Lakes ecosystem. In 2016, the Sustain Our Great Lakes program awarded The Nature Conservancy $1.19 million for Great Lakes coastal wetland conservation projects in Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and New York.

Learn more about Nature Conservancy projects across the Great Lakes basin that received Sustain Our Great Lakes funding this year.

###

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. The Nature Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. In Central and Western New York, The Nature Conservancy has protected nearly 100,000 acres for people and nature and owns and manages preserves totaling 30,000 acres. www.nature.org

CLICK THIS LINK to see A PDF version of this Press Release

Want to Learn About the Status of Lake Ontario Fisheries and Provide Input on Future Trout and Salmon Management?

Come to September DEC Meetings!

The public will have the opportunity to learn about the status of Lake Ontario fisheries and provide input on future trout and salmon management at public meetings in Oswego, Niagara, and Monroe counties this September, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today.

“Lake Ontario and its tributaries provide world-class angling opportunities,” Commissioner Seggos said. “Under Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, salmon and trout fishing in Lake Ontario have never been better. New York is committed to ensuring the ecological, recreational and economic benefits of Lake Ontario’s sport fisheries are sustained for generations to come.”

Recent studies have shown that Chinook salmon raised by sportsmen in “net pens” for three weeks prior to stocking survive twice as well as those stocked by traditional, direct stocking methods. In addition, approximately half of the Chinook salmon in Lake Ontario are naturally reproduced, “wild” fish. In addition, New York and the Province of Ontario stock a combined 2.36 million Chinook salmon each year. Improved survival of pen-reared fish and the contribution of wild fish resulted in an additional six million Chinook salmon per year over the yearly average. While the high numbers of Chinook salmon have produced record-breaking angling, the population is increasing demand on Chinook salmon’s primary prey, the alewife.

While the impact of relatively poor alewife survival in two successive winters was not apparent in 2016, DEC experts are concerned with its impact on the size of the adult alewife population in 2017 and beyond, as well as the adult alewife population’s ability to sustain the large numbers of trout and salmon in the lake.

Alewife, which have limited tolerance to cold temperatures, are not native to the Great Lakes. The extremely cold winters of 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 resulted in poor survival of alewife produced in those years.

The meeting dates and locations to discuss the issues are as follows:

Monday, September 19: 6:30 – 9 p.m. at the Cornell Cooperative Extension Building, 4487 Lake Avenue, Lockport, Niagara County.

The meeting is co-hosted by Niagara County Cooperative Extension and the Niagara County Sportfishery Development Board.

Tuesday, September 20: 6:30 – 9 p.m. at the Sandy Creek High School auditorium, 124 Salisbury Street, Oswego County.

The meeting is co-hosted by the Eastern Lake Ontario Salmon and Trout Association.

Tuesday, September 27: 6:30 – 9 p.m. at the Town of Greece Town Hall, 1 Vince Tofany Blvd., Monroe County.

The meeting is co-hosted by the Monroe County Fishery Advisory Board.

Staff from DEC will present information, and the audience will have ample time to ask questions and provide input on potential management actions. Background information for these meetings can be found at DEC’s website. Those who cannot attend a meeting can provide comments at fwfishlo@dec.ny.gov through October 14, 2016. For further information contact Steven LaPan, New York Great Lakes Fisheries Section Head at Cape Vincent Fisheries Research Station, (315) 654-2147.

http://www.dec.ny.gov/press/press.html

Sodus Bay Has Enjoyed the Cleanest Water in a Decade!

TO CELEBRATE, Save Our Sodus Invites You and Yours to a Work Party & Expo

on September 17th, from 8-30 a.m. till 1 p.m. at the Sodus Point Beach

We are organizing this Work Party in conjunction with the 31st Annual New York State Beach Cleanup Day. 

The volunteer participants will clean the Sodus Point beach that so many of our residents and guests love and enjoy.

All Beach Cleanup participants in exchange for bags filled with the trash collected on the beach will be given tickets to a FREE meal. 

The meal will include Pulled Pork, Cole Slaw, Baked Beans, Mac Salad, Salt Potatoes, Soda and water, is sponsored by Save Our Sodus and provided by Captain Jack’s.

Work Party and Expo Itinerary

  • Beach Cleanup - From 8-30 a.m. till. 11-30 a.m.

    Beach Cleanup Volunteers (you?!) will be given special bags to be filled with trash collected on the beach. These filled bags will be turned in for an exchange to a FREE delicious lunch.

  • Expo - 8-30 a.m. till 11-30 a.m.

    This is where you can learn What Worked, and What Else We Can Do to make sure Sodus Bay’s water stays clean.

  • Lunch and Party

    Pulled Pork, Cole Slaw, Baked Beans, Mac Salad, Salt Potatoes, Soda and water will be FREE to the Beach Cleanup participants. Captain Jack’s will be providing and serving it.

IF you enjoyed your summer on Sodus Bay, YOU WILL FEEL GREAT joining our Work Party and Expo!

Please COME, BRING YOUR FRIENDS AND KIDS. 

Hot, dry summers, like the one we are having here in the Upstate New York, often come with toxic blue-green algae blooms.

Dr. Greg Boyer from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) and his team monitor water quality of Sodus Bay weekly. Here’s what he shared with us during his resent sample collection around the bay.

Save Our Sodus (SOS) 2016 Annual Fundraising Campaign

Our Mission Statement:

To Preserve, Protect and Improve Great Sodus Bay

SOS is a non-profit organization. Members of the board of directors, listed below, serve on a voluntary basis:

 Dave McDowell (president) Dave Parker, Chris Tertinek, Mike Virts, Dave Scudder, Sue Bassage, Tom Yale, Jim Gocker, Ed Leroux, Kevin Mullaney, Dan McCullough

Our Accomplishments:

  • Purchased stream instrumentation to monitor harmful contaminants entering the Bay

  • On-going data gathering from Bay buoys to anticipate the emergence of blue/green algae

  • Participate in wetland restoration of Sodus Bay tributaries to minimize contaminants entering the Bay

  • Continue to strongly oppose the International Joint Commission Plan 2014;

  • Coordinate annual water chestnut pull and identification of other invasive species;

  • Facilitate shoreline restoration repairs to the east-west breakwater that protects Sodus Bay

  • Partner with SUNY ESF, Wayne County Soil and Water, Nature Conservancy and others

In order to continue with our mission, your financial help would be appreciated. SOS is a 501C3 organization. Contributions are tax deductible to the extent allowable by law.

YES, I WANT TO SUPPORT SOS NOW

TO DONATE BY CHECK,

Please make the check payable to Save Our Sodus and send it to:

Save Our Sodus PO Box 424 Alton, N.Y. 14413