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)

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

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.

The worst of the Flood of 2017 is over for Sodus Bay and its community. The residents and businesses still have a lot of issues to deal with. Save Our Sodus’ President Dave McDowell, a local resident, answers some of the frequently asked questions in the videos below.

“When is the water going to go down in Sodus Bay?”

“Are we going to have a blue-green algae bloom this year?”

“When is Idle Only restriction on Sodus Bay will be removed?”

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.

Have you seen buoys around Sodus Bay? They help predict toxic algae blooms. SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) monitors water quality of the Bay. Watch this video to learn more.


A crisp, clear spring morning when sunlight sparkles off the water might seem like an odd time to think about toxic algal blooms that coat the water in a thick blue-green film, but it’s precisely when researchers start water monitoring.

Toxic blue-green algal blooms in the northeastern United States typically form during the hot days of August. By keeping an eye on the water chemistry throughout the summer, researchers might be able to predict when a potential bloom is coming.

Michael Satchwell, senior research support specialist at ESF, and undergraduate Matt Blake deployed three buoys in Sodus Bay in early May to monitor water conditions in the bay. The solar-powered buoys measure the basic water chemistry, including temperature, pH, conductivity and dissolved oxygen levels, chlorophyll and phycocyanin, a pigment specific to blue-green algae. The central buoy houses a complete weather station and also records water levels. This data is being used to produce models of water movement within the bay.

“If we see a spike in phycocyanin levels we know a potential bloom may be coming,” said Satchwell. Data from the buoys is transmitted in near-real time to the Great Lakes Research Consortium’s website where anyone can access the data. It is also being used by researchers at the University of Buffalo to build a better predictive model for the occurrence of harmful algal blooms.

“If we get them (blue-green algal blooms), we get them typically in the late summer,” said Ed Leroux, a resident of Sodus Bay who assists the ESF team.

The bay experienced a major bloom in 2010 that shut down businesses two weeks before Labor Day, delivering a blow to the popular tourist area. “No one was in the water, no one was in the restaurants,” Leroux said. “It woke the community up. We had to find out why it happened and how it happened because it had a serious economic impact on the community.”

Blue-green algae blooms, or cyanobacteria, can be harmful to humans and fatal to pets. Exposure to the algae can result in diarrhea, nausea or vomiting; skin, eye or throat irritation; and allergic reactions or breathing difficulties.

Save Our Sodus, a group dedicated to addressing challenges to the quality of Sodus Bay, asked Dr. Greg Boyer of the ESF Department of Chemistry to look into the matter. Boyer, director of the Great Lakes Research Consortium and member of Save Our Sodus, has studied algal blooms in numerous water bodies in the Northeast and China for more than three decades.

Boyer began random water sampling in the bay in 2011 and has been collecting data, sometimes on a weekly basis every since. This information forms the basis of a weekly report that appears on the Save our Sodus website to inform the general public about conditions on the bay. The buoys were installed in 2011 to automate the process with funding from a number of sources, including a grant with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through the Great Lakes Restoration initiative, New York Sea Grant and funding from the Great Lakes Observing System.

“To date, data shows chlorophyll has dropped off while phosphorus levels vary up and down, and toxicity is down; but that doesn’t necessarily mean things are getting better. Phosphorus levels have to be in check and we have to be able to predict the toxicity levels,” said Boyer.

Blooms are known to form in tight corners and areas with little water circulation, such as marinas, so the town installed blowers – normally used to keep ice from forming – to help keep the water moving in the summer, Leroux said.

So far, researchers have not identified a “smoking gun” that identifies what precisely triggers the toxic blooms. However work with the University of Buffalo strongly suggests that water movement in and out of the bay may be an important contributor.

Fortunately for the merchants and tourists in Sodus Bay, algal blooms have not been troublesome over the last few years. “There hasn’t been a significant bloom since 2010,” noted Satchwell.
“If you keep studying it, it won’t come back,” Leroux said, somewhat tongue in cheek. “So we’re going to study it to death.”

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