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

APRIL 2016 STORM

The combination of the storms on Sunday and Monday, April 3 – 4, 2016 and the higher than normal water levels (approximately 246.3) have caused a break in a few barrier bars along the South Shore of Lake Ontario, including the Port Bay east barrier bar and Charles Point/Crescent Beach connection on Sodus Bay.

Thankfully no action has been taken on Plan 2014.


If Lake Ontario was under Plan 2014 control, the water level would be approximately 7.5 inches higher and the trigger to increase the outflow would not have been reached.
The IJC has been working to release water at a higher than normal rate for most of 2016. Water levels historically rise through June so we need to hope for no more storms.

During this storm, Sodus Bay also suffered damage.

The east break wall was pounded for over a day, Crescent Beach reportedly over topped and definitely suffered damage over the winter, a boat house has floated several properties away from its home and docks and other items have broken free from the shores of the bay.

Sodus Point April 2016 storm

A boat house that floated away after heavy storm pounding is getting pulled back home.

 

The following was posted on the Sodus Point, NY Facebook page by Rosa Fox:

Charles Point can now again be called Charles Island… The photos below were taken on April 9, 2016 on the stretch of – what used to be the board walk connecting Crescent Beach to Charles Point. The board walk is gone. The breach is about 75 feet wide. Deep spots – so not crossable today. A plume of mud from the break goes 1/4 to 1/2 mile south out into the bay. We expect that the break will widen, as the waves have already started to wash away bushes and beach into the bay. Location is west of the Bloomer cottage.”

April 2016 Storm Damage Sodus Point, NY

Photo by Rosa Fox: Huge hole in Crescent Beach located near Charles Point

 

Photo by Rosa Fox: 70 ft + Breech of Crescent Beach located near Charles Point caused by April 5-6, 2016 Storm on Lake Ontario near Sodus Bay

Photo by Rosa Fox: 70 ft + Breach of Crescent Beach located near Charles Point caused by April 3-4, 2016 Storm on Lake Ontario near Sodus Bay

 

Photo by Rosa Fox: 70 ft + Breech of Crescent Beach located near Charles Point caused by April 5-6, 2016 Storm on Lake Ontario near Sodus Bay

Photo by Rosa Fox: 70 ft + Breach of Crescent Beach located near Charles Point caused by April 3-4, 2016 Storm on Lake Ontario near Sodus Bay

 

Charles Point, Aerial Photo from Cornell Library, Circa 1938

Charles Point, Aerial Photo from Cornell Library, Circa 1938 – Charles Point and Crescent Beach aren’t connected

 

CLAYTON — In two months, Plan 2014 will be celebrating the second anniversary of its inception. There is no set date, however, for its official implementation. Plan 2014 seeks to update half-decade-old lake and river water level regulations so the St. Lawrence River can return to more natural flowing patterns. Last weekend’s Clayton boat show held at the Cerow Recreation Park Arena featured a Plan 2014 presentation by Dereth B. Glance, a commissioner with the International Joint Commission. Plan 2014 was devised by the IJC, a partnership between the United States and Canada to help resolve issues concerning water resources bordering the two countries. Ms. Glance summarized the plan’s goals and gave an update on its progress. She said the plan is essentially in a holding pattern until the IJC receives word from the United States and Canadian governments. Once both governments and the IJC have officially agreed upon the plan, implementation can begin. The plan would update Plan 1958-DD, which has not been changed in more than 50 years. The problem, Ms. Glance said, is that the current plan does not take natural occurrences into account, such as changes in temperature and ice cover over a number of years. Ms. Glance said the current regulations have “compressed” water flow that lies between high and low levels of the lake and seaway. As a result, wetland ecosystems have been harmed significantly, and northern pike populations have plummeted. One of the most important aspects of the plan, Ms. Glance said, is that it’s designed to improve all interests in the lakes and seaway, including the environment, hydropower, sanitation, recreation and navigation. She noted, however, that there have been concerns that new water levels under Plan 2014 regulations could affect dock placement. “We understand that you can’t regulate water levels to make everybody happy, because everybody wants the level at the right level where their dock is,” she said. “That’s important for us to hear ... but we have to do what’s best for the entire system.” Ms. Glance was joined by former Department of Conservation Regional Director Thomas E. Brown, who said the plan would also utilize “adaptive management,” which would analyze the effects of the plan once it’s put into action. Plan 2014 has been supported by U.S. Rep. Elise M. Stefanik, R-Willsboro, who has said she is building support in Congress to help speed up the plan’s launch.

An April 3-4 Storm of 2016 Outcome – a 75 feet breach in Charles Point which is now separating Charles Island from Crescent Beach. Photo by Charles Boogaard

 

This April Storm just gave us a glimpse of what high water levels and a relatively minor storm can do. Arney’s Marina in Sodus Point is barely above water.

As if the storm didn’t send a strong message for us to keep applying pressure and making sure the Plan 2014 doesn’t move forward, a recent article published in Watertown Daily  just added the proverbial fuel to the fire.

It reminded us that in two months, Plan 2014 would be celebrating the second anniversary of its inception.   Dereth B. Glance, a commissioner with the International Joint Commission made a presentation about Plan 2014 at a recent boat show in Clayton, NY.

According to the article, Ms. Glance summarized the plan’s goals and gave an update on its progress. She said the plan is essentially in a holding pattern until the IJC receives word from the United States and Canadian governments. Once both governments and the IJC have officially agreed upon the plan, implementation can begin.

“The plan would update Plan 1958-DD, which has not been changed in more than 50 years. The problem, Ms. Glance said, is that the current plan does not take natural occurrences into account, {INDEED, INCLUDING STORMS SIMILAR TO THE ONE WE JUST HAD – admin} such as changes in temperature and ice cover over a number of years. Ms. Glance said the current regulations have “compressed” water flow that lies between high and low levels of the lake and seaway. As a result, wetland ecosystems have been harmed significantly, and northern pike populations have plummeted.

One of the most important aspects of the plan, Ms. Glance said, is that it’s designed to improve all interests in the lakes and seaway, including the environment, hydropower, sanitation, recreation and navigation. She noted, however, that there have been concerns that new water levels under Plan 2014 regulations could affect dock placement. {A major understatement from our perspective – admin} 

“We understand that you can’t regulate water levels to make everybody happy, because everybody wants the level at the right level where their dock is,” she said. “That’s important for us to hear … but we have to do what’s best for the entire system.” {We also want our shoreline to stay where it is. What’s wrong with that?- admin}

Plan 2014 has been supported by U.S. Rep. Elise M. Stefanik, R-Willsboro, who has said she is building support in Congress to help speed up the plan’s launch.”

Below is a photo (by Chris Trine) of the protection for the parking lot at Sodus Point Park, owned by Wayne County. The damage would be greater under Plan 2014, since water levels would be much higher than at the present time.  Additionally, and more importantly, the damage to public infrastructure like this was never added as a cost during Plan 2014 assessments.

Parking-Lot-Protection-Chri

 

The message that this storm brought was loud and clear: We need to do all we can to prevent Plan 2014 from going into effect. We are reaching out to our community for support – please support us financially so that we can facilitate the restoration of the barrier bar, make the necessary trips, collect more data and once again deliver our message to the decision makers BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE.  

DONATE NOW

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Help us Preserve and Protect Great Sodus Bay from Plan 2014 – make a one-time or a recurring tax-deductible contribution to SOS. Just click on the button to DONATE NOW! (Secure donations are processed through Network For Good)

When the time comes, we’ll call on you to sign petitions and get involved in other ways. We are in it together.

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