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)

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

If you live or have business around Sodus Bay, on the waterfront OR NOT, we know that you understand the importance of having our beautiful Sodus Bay clean, free of harmful invaders, be it fish, vegetation, and even some human visitors. Your your ability to enjoy the bay and the property and business values around the bay are directly affected by the conditions of the bay.

We also know that you do try to do your best to keep the Bay clean and your property protected in a way that doesn’t damage the bay.

This Sodus Bay Waterfront Owners’ Guide was put together to remind you of different practices, some are obvious, others aren’t, that you can do to keep our Bay clean, and the shorelines protected.

Please download it to your device, read, and apply the recommendations. If you think of someone else that might benefit of the suggestions in this guide, please share.

Thank you so much for doing your part.

Small hinges swing big doors.

Small efforts by everyone around the Bay make a Big Difference!

Please click on the image below to download the guide:

Sodus Bay Waterfront Owners Guide

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.

In this video President of Save Our Sodus Dave McDowell summarizes SOS’ activities, accomplishments, and challenges that require attention, and effort.

Our Accomplishments and Challenges Summary

  • The number of Save Our Sodus donors has grown

    Thank you to all our supporters! Your financial support allows us to do more to keep Sodus Bay clean and the waters from rising (that last part is a forward-looking statement)

  • Progress on a Wetland Restoration joint project with the Nature Conservancy

    Progress on a joint project with the Nature Conservancy to restore the wetland in Sodus Creek. The Planning and the Permitting for that project is now complete. We expect the construction schedule to be announced later this fall.

  • The Army Corps of Engineers confirmed the plans to dredge the Channel in September of 2018

  • Crescent Beach to be nourished with the spoils from dredging Sodus Bay Channel

    Save Our Sodus successfully advocated to use the spoils from dredging Sodus Bay Channel to be placed along Crescent Beach

  • SOS continued to participate in the CSLAP

    SOS continued to participate in the Citizens Statewide Lake Assessment Program and collected water samples in Sodus Bay to monitor water quality. The samples were collected from several locations around the Bay every week. Results were shared with our supporters on our site and through social media. All equipment has been operational.

  • Blue-Green Algae monitoring was conducted as well

    Blue-Green Algae monitoring was conducted as well, and SOS was happy to report that most of the weeks the level of toxic blue-green algae blooms was non-detect. A couple of weeks when we had low levels of blooms near some tributaries, we alerted residents on steps to prevent getting poisoned.

  • Conducted E-Coli testing twice

    We conducted E-Coli testing since the danger was higher of E-Coli bacteria growth from some not-fully-treated sewage due to the flood in the spring.

  • No progress on Chales Point/Crescent Beach Breach repair

SOS Dave Scudder attends a meeting with Senator Pamela Helming at the Finger Lakes Regional Watershed Alliance in Geneva, NY.

Image and story credit Finger Lakes Daily News Greg Cotterill

Senator Pamela A. Helming (R,C,I-Canandaigua) stands with members of the Finger Lakes Regional Watershed Alliance following the group’s Monday, July 17, 2017 meeting at the Finger Lakes Institute in Geneva. As well as listening to reports about the efforts of the FLRWA and its individual lake associations around the Finger Lakes region, Senator Helming had the opportunity to address the work that she is doing to protect bodies of water and drinking water sources around the region.

The Finger Lakes Regional Watershed Alliance (FLRWA) represents the interests and concerns of residents around nine of New York State’s Finger Lakes, with member organizations from Honeoye, Seneca, Otisco, Canandaigua, Conesus, Keuka, Cayuga, Owasco, and Skaneateles lakes. Save Our Sodus, the New York State Federation of Lake Associations, the City of Rochester’s Water and Lighting Bureau, Cornell Cooperative Extension Yates County, and the Finger Lakes Institute are Partners of FLRWA and do not have a vote in its decisions.

SOS representatives attend many educational events hosted by FLRWA, enjoy access to academic and other resources of the Alliance and coordinate interactions with politicians when the joint effort is beneficial to both organizations and its constituents.