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)