In this video SOS President Dave McDowell shares some good news (East Breakwall) and some not-so-good news (water level).

After the video was recorded, the US Army Corps of Engineers issued the latest water levels update and a warning:

HIGH AND POTENTIALLY RECORD HIGH WATER LEVELS ARE EXPECTED TO PERSIST FOR AT LEAST THE NEXT SIX MONTHS. FLOOD PRONE AREAS ARE EXPECTED TO REMAIN VULNERABLE.

Lake Ontario water level is 246.13′, which is an inch higher than it was a month ago (supposed to be going down), 16 inches higher than it was last year on November 22nd and 19 inches higher than its long-term average water level for that time of the year. The lake level is expected to drop ONLY 2 INCHES by December 22.

Sarah Delicate from United Shoreline Ontario (USO) shared with us this letter from Mike French, a licensed Professional Engineer:

Hi Sarah,

I’m a resident of the Toronto Islands and have been on the forefront of our battle with high lake levels and flooding. I have written a couple of mitigation reports for the City of Toronto and the Toronto Regional Conservation Authority specifically targeting the Toronto Islands. 

Your group might be interested in my most recent report (attached) that forecasts flooding next spring. I have been studying the lake data and have looked at 5 different forecast scenarios through to Dec 2020. Even if we have an average year next year, it looks like we will have more flooding, unless the IJC increases the outflows until Dec.

I’m starting to share this document with other groups and would love any feedback to pick apart or substantiate my findings.

Best Regards,

Mike French, P.Eng.

11 Channel Ave.

Toronto, ON

Great Lakes Forecast from Oct 2019 – Dec 2020 

Conclusion: All of the Great Lakes are experiencing higher RNBS due to climate conditions. The combined RNBS contribution to supply in the upper Great Lakes will keep a continuous high inflow into Lake Ontario at least through 2020.

The IJC is following the Plan 2014 regulation for Lake Ontario and have started to reduce outflow through the Moses-Saunders Dam to match the prescribed L-limit flow, but this flow will not drop Lake Ontario enough to compensate for the spring change in supply. If the upper Great Lakes levels were close to their historic average and next spring’s RNBS is somewhat average, then the system L-limits will work, but the current formula fails to take into consideration the flow potential of the upper Great Lakes.

From the Plan 2014 Compendium Document: “The Board may also use the information acquired through the adaptive management strategy to propose to the Commission modifications to the plan should it learn over time that conditions (climatic, socio-economic or environmental) have changed enough such that the plan is no longer meeting its intended objectives or improvements to the plan could realize increased benefits.”

This is a case where the Board must intervene and modify the flow limits to reduce the Lake Ontario levels down to ideally 74.5m before the next cycle begins, otherwise the lake will be faced with another catastrophic flood in spring 2020.

74.5 meters = 244.4226 feet , or 74.5 meters = 244.4 feet

It’s Not Just Weather: Plan 2014 e-learning Series

The following video series provides an excellent description of Plan 2014. It discusses how we got here and how it’s working. It also points out how the River Board and the IJC are not following the plan the way it is written. You will find these videos to be an easy watch and will help to bring some insight and facts into the discussions of high water.

Part 1. This 4 minute video gives a high level overview of the regulation of Lake Ontario, the International Joint Commission, and how outflows are set.

Part 2. This 8 minute episode shows the differences between Plan 1958DD and Plan 2014 while explaining the Higher Highs, the Lower Lows, and the Trigger levels that MUST be reached before they deviate from the plan.

Part 3. What is the The F Limit? Plan 2014 F-Limits are designed to provide “balanced” flooding upstream (Lake Ontario) and downstream (Montreal) of the Moses-Saunders dam, primarily in cases of high Ottawa River flow in Spring. It is responsible for 1.4 feet of the 2019 high water level. This is a technical presentation – please pause and review the graphs as helpful in understanding, as understanding the F-limit is critical.

Part 4. What is the The L Limit and Why is it important? Part 4 of the eLearning Series “It’s not just weather! Understanding Plan 2014” explains the “L-limit”. This is a technical presentation – please pause and review the graphs as helpful in understanding, as understanding the L-limit is critical.

In apparent violation of Plan 2014, the L-Limit provides relief to shipping by reducing the outflow at the dam. As the IJC reduces the outflow to accommodate shipping needs, it holds the lake level high through fall, thereby increasing the risk of severe flooding in the spring. This choice by the IJC appears to be in violation of their own rules, Criterion H14, which states that they must provide ALL possible relief to the RIPARIAN OWNERS upstream and downstream during high water levels.

Part 5. What was Known in Advance. This module explores the damning language of Plan 2014, where shoreline damage and flooding was fully expected and predicted, though grossly underestimated. It also looks at some of the media and government websites that acknowledge the probability of wide spread flooding under the new regulation Plan. Yet, despite knowing this in advance, Municipalities, Emergency Responders, Shoreline Businesses and Residents were NOT informed, putting them in harms way under a new risk paradigm. This risk has born out 2 out of 3 years since the implementation. The social, economic and environmental cost is immeasurable, yet there has been no protections or indemnities.

Part 6. This module focuses on The Treaty of 1909 and the legal framework supporting the implementation of Plan 2014, and questions several apparent violations that injure the riparian homeowner, shoreline municipalities and business owners.

Part 7. Frank Sciremammano’s testimony. In 2017, the New York Senate held a hearing regarding the devastating flooding of 2017, and Frank Sciremammano was called to testify. Frank was the longest serving American member of the IJC board, serving since 1995. Frank was also an original member for the whole lifetime of IJC study group tasked with proposing a new regulation plan for Lake Ontario. Frank was dismissed from the board in 2018. (25 mins)

In order to cause the IJC to REPEAL or MODIFY PLAN 2014, many things need to happen.

THE LEAST WE ALL CAN DO, if we are not happy with the current plan, is to spend a little time and contact our representatives that, in turn, could vote to make the changes or influence the IJC in other ways so that they stop flooding us.

Sodus Point Federal & State Representatives to Contact:

Here’s a Sample Letter to Write to Your Representatives

THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP. TOGETHER WE’LL MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

Help to Fight the IJC in Court

DONATE to Legal Fund

Just like you, SOS has been frustrated with the flooding made worse by the IJC.

SOS supports legal action against the IJC to Repeal or Replace PLAN 2014 to prevent future flooding.

We are raising $100,000 to fight the IJC. Please come to the Action Meeting on October 6, from 2 to 4 p.m. at Marlins’ Restaurant in Sodus Point, NY.

Please CLICK on the image below to learn more and to help us raise the money for the fight. Your donation is Tax Deductible to you.

President of Save Our Sodus Dave McDowell discusses pressing issues for SOS:
– Water Level in Lake Ontario and Plan 2014
– East Breakwall separating Lake Ontario from Sodus Bay repair status
– Water quality in Sodus Bay

What’s the status of Breakwall repair? Will we be flooded in 2018? What’s going on on the South end of the Bay?

Watch the video below where SOS President Dave McDowell answers all of those questions.

Sodus Bay East Breakwall Damage – Photo Gallery

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How did the flood of 2017 affected waterfront real estate around Sodus Bay?

Now that the water levels are down, and most of the waterfront property owners around Sodus Bay have recovered from the initial shock (but still trying to asses the damage) of the recent flood, it is a good time to evaluate the steps moving forward.

Water quality of Sodus Bay, water level fluctuations – and our ability to handle both, is directly related to the values of the properties and businesses around Sodus Bay and determine whether we could enjoy boating, fishing, sailing, swimming and relaxing on the bay.

The scope of the effort to keep water quality and aquatic life healthy and water levels under control is very broad.

How to keep water levels under control and who is to blame is still debated.

The questions I have is what can a waterfront home owner do to stack the odds in his favor that the next flood won’t cause a devastation to the property.

And, looking beyond the floods, what can we all do to help keep the bay healthy for generations to come.

I have decided to interview different experts who can shed light on those questions from very different perspectives.

The first interview was with Tom Yale, a Realtor with Howard Hanna, an owner of a waterfront property on Sodus Bay and a board member of Save Our Sodus.

What should the buyers look for when looking at waterfront properties?

What can the sellers do to make their property more desirable for the buyers?

Were there any “winners” after the flood?

What is one, often overlooked, strategy that can significantly lower monthly mortgage payments for waterfront property owners?

Watch this video to get the answers to these and more questions.

Stay tuned for more videos to get trusted insights for Smart Waterfront Living around Sodus Bay.

Updated September 15, 2017

Three ingredients necessary for the blue-green algae blooms:

  • Nitrogen and Phosphorous flowing into Lake and the Bay

    We got plenty of it flushed from the flooded lawns, in addition to the rain-caused run-offs

  • Lots of Sun and Heat

    We had some, but as the summer is “still young”, and we will be getting lots of both

  • Lack of Wind

    The jury is out on that one, but the No Wake zone in the bay prevents the water from being stirred by boaters (and disrupting the algae growth)

Greg Boyer, a biochemistry professor at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, and his team have been monitoring water quality in Sodus Bay for a few years. This recent report card gives you a quick summary of state of Blue-Green Algae on Sodus Bay.

We will be sharing the new reports as they become available.

Blue-green algal toxins level in Sodus Bay is back to NON-DETECT

A couple of reasons Blue-Green Algal Toxins are down. One is the windy weather we had recently, which allowed to stir up the bay,  and the second –  the temperature was below 80F, for the most part.

September 13th, 2017 Report Summary

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August 18th, 2017 Report Summary

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Blue-green algal toxins level in Sodus Bay now registers at a LOW level, UP from non-detect.

August 11th, 2017 Report Summary

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What Can You Do To Reduce Algal Blooms?

Even though a lot of measures were taken over the years to reduce the flow of nutrients from farmlands to Sodus Bay watershed, the higher-than-normal rainfall in the spring and early summer of 2017 washed a lot of nutrients from the lawns and farms into the Bay, making it conducive to algal blooms.

Blue-green algal toxins level in Sodus Bay now registers at a LOW level, UP from non-detect.

The situation is always worse around the tributaries and in stagnant places around the bay.

If you or your business is on the waterfront, installing and continuously running a submerged aeration systems (bubblers) helps prevent accumulation of nutrients that could lead to excessive algae growth.

Aerators increase diffused oxygen in the water, which in turn supports and encourages the growth of beneficial aerobic bacteria. This beneficial bacteria break down organic matter and consume excess nutrients and that helps to balance and improve water quality and reduce algae blooms. The benefits of aeration are higher at night, so running your aeration continuously is highly recommended.

The benefits of aeration are higher at night, so running your aeration continuously is highly recommended.

Important Things to Know sbout Harmful Algal Blooms

  • If you see it – avoid it and report it!
  • People, pets, and livestock should avoid contact with water that is discolored or has algae scums on the surface. Colors can include shades of green, blue-green, yellow, brown or red. If contact does occur, rinse thoroughly with clean water to remove algae.
  • Never drink untreated surface water, whether or not algae blooms are present. Untreated surface water may contain other bacteria, parasites or viruses, as well as cyanotoxins that could cause illness if consumed.
  • People not on public water supplies should not drink surface water during an algal bloom, even if it is treated, because in-home treatments such as boiling, disinfecting water with chlorine or ultraviolet (UV), and water filtration units do not protect people from HABs toxins.
  • Stop using water and seek medical attention immediately if symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, skin, eye or throat irritation, allergic reactions or breathing difficulties occur after drinking or having contact with blooms or untreated surface water.
  • Please report any health symptoms to your physician and NYS Department of Health at harmfulalgae@health.ny.gov orWayne County Health Department contact person (as listed on the DEC site, not verified by SOS) is Diane M. Devlin,(315) 946-5749 ddevlin@co.wayne.ny.us Wayne County Public Health Service 1519 Nye Road, Suite 200 Lyons, NY 14489
  • For answers to other frequently asked questions go to the DEC HABs FAQ page.
  • If you suspect that you have seen a HAB or you, your family, or pet has been in contact with a bloom, please report the bloom to the DEC. Fill out and submit a Suspicious Algal Bloom Report
  • Form (PDF, 764 KB). Email the completed form and, if possible, attach digital photos (close-up and landscape to show extent and location) of the suspected bloom to HABsInfo@dec.ny.gov.

The Good News – We aren’t on the DEC Harmful Algal Blooms list as of 8.7.2017

The Good News – We aren’t on a Harmful Algal Blooms list yet.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (the DEC) keeps a list of water bodies that have registered Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs). Sodus Bay is not on that list.

Wayne County Health Department contact person (as listed on the DEC site, not verified by SOS) is Diane M. Devlin,

(315) 946-5749 ddevlin@co.wayne.ny.us Wayne County Public Health Service 1519 Nye Road, Suite 200 Lyons, NY 14489

August 2nd, 2017 Report Summary

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July 19th, 2017 Report Summary

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July 6th, 2017 Report Summary

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June 15th, 2017 Report Summary

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Blue-green algae in Sodus Bay as of 6-15-2017