In this video Save Our Sodus’ President Dave McDowell talks about the likely flood, the Coalition Fight Plan 2014, East Breakwall, and urges all waterfront property owners to prepare…

Water Level of the Great Lakes on January 17, 2020

On January 17, Lake Ontario water level is 246.19′, which is 1 inch higher than a month ago, 9 inches higher than a year ago at that time and 19 inches higher than a long-term average for that time of the year. By February 17 the lake level will go up 4 inches.

Source: The US Army Corps of engineers.

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Your Photos and Videos of the Flood Damage are Requested for the FLOODING DOCUMENTARY

In collaboration with the Lake Ontario St. Lawrence River Alliance, Solon Quinn Studios, is producing a documentary video on the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence River, flooding affecting our region, community, and homes.

PLEASE SUBMIT YOUR PHOTOS AND VIDEO of damage from the flooding and be sure to let us know the location of your images and videos in the naming of your files. (for example, name your image or video file of the damage to Arney’s Marina in Sodus Bay in 2019 “SodusBayArneys2019”)

What is happening and what has happened is ethically wrong, criminal in nature and heartbreaking.

It’s time for everyone who has experienced this nightmare to be given a voice, a platform from which to be heard and space in which to share their stories.

We plead for anyone and everyone who has been affected by this disaster to reach out and share their photos, videos, and thoughts (video and cell phone video preferred) to help us let the world know the wrong that is being done.

Your submissions are greatly appreciated and this production will hopefully be released for all to share and see sometime in Spring 2020.

Thank you for your time and contribution to this cause.

Thank you,

Dave McDowell

Fight Plan 2014 Campaign Progress Report


“JOINING FORCES, FIGHT PLAN 2014” CAMPAIGN – launched December 19,2019

On December 19, the presidents of United Shoreline Ontario and Lake Ontario St. Lawrence River Alliance as well as Ed Leroux of Save our Sodus, began a media campaign aimed at raising awareness and further donations for the efforts all three are undertaking to take the fight to Washington and Ottawa. They held a press call with 10 press outlets and began doing interviews in print, online, radio, and TV to elevate the publicity around their effort.


They have partnered together in this effort, and intend to pursue a strategy of supporting each other in all efforts to fight plan 2014 going forward. 
They now have a growing media list which is being maintained, a gmail address:, and are actively soliciting new members and donations to fund the next steps of their cause.

Their efforts are being facilitated by Jessica Stone, a former White House correspondent from Washington, D.C. who is also advising on media and lobbying/litigation strategy. 


Three ways you can help:
  1. Share the information with all your friends that care about Lake Levels and the health of Sodus Bay. Email, Facebook, Twitter.
  2. Contact your representatives NOW, because thousands of letters and emails received in one week have more “punch”. Click on the “Addresses and Sample Letter” button below.
  3. Donate to the Legal Fund. Click on “Donate to Legal Fund” button below.

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DECEMBER 19, 2019

LAKE ONTARIO — It could all happen again — only worse.

Decimated property, damaged homes and businesses, lost income, a reduction in tourism and business revenues, destroyed habitats for wild and protected species, and reduced public recreational space along the water.

Now, three lake-based community groups are joining forces to fight back:

** Lake Ontario St. Lawrence River Alliance (LOSLRA)

** United Shoreline Ontario (USO)

** Save our Sodus (SOS)


• We have formed a technical working group of engineers on both sides of Lake Ontario to examine, vet and
challenge the data which the International Joint Commission relies on to make its decisions about water levels.

• We are joining together for a series of rallies in the new year across the Province of Ontario and the State of
New York.

• We are working together to fund-raise and recruit additional members to our cause.

• We distribute news updates, and chances to participate in activism on both sides of the lake to our members
and interested parties.


“While climate has brought the water into the lake, it is the unbalanced policies of Plan 2014 that keeps it in the lake,” said USO president Sarah Delicate. “These policies favor ‘downstream’ over ‘upstream’ and industry over the shoreline. The result is ongoing damage and severe risk to families, businesses, communities, and the environment.”

“Plan 2014 was sold by the International Joint Commission (IJC) as “protecting against extreme water levels, restoring wetlands, and preparing for climate change,” said LOSLRA president, Jim Shea. “Water level management is the job of the IJC, and it has failed to protect those along the shoreline and river banks.”

”During the past year, tourist activity was down and boating traffic was down by more than 50%; which endangers both our economic vitality and quality of life — and bodes ill for another upcoming year,” said Village of Sodus Point Mayor and SOS President, David McDowell.


Write to your elected representative: Please check our post for letters you can send via email or snail mail.

DONATE. We need funds to fight the big commercial and political interests behind Plan 2014:


SOS: (tax deductible) or SOS LEGAL FUND to challenge IJC in court.


United Shoreline Ontario’s (USO) objective is to engage governments and private home owners towards the protection of lakeshore homes, families, businesses, emergency responders and municipalities from violent or wide-spread lake surge flooding. This flooding is predicted with the implementation of Plan 2014 and the implications of climate change.

Lake Ontario St. Lawrence River Alliance (LOSLRA) is dedicated to fighting for the legal rights of landowners, homeowners, and small businesses along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. We are a 501C4.
Save our Sodus (SOS) is a non-profit with a mission to Protect, Preserve and Improve Great Sodus Bay. We are a 501C3.


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Help Fight IJC in Court

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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:


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.

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

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

Hover over images to preview in color. Click on any image to enlarge. Once you click on an image to enlarge it, a gallery window will open.  The requested album cannot be loaded at this time. Error: OAuthException Code: 200, (#200) Missing Permissions

Story first appeared on USA Today Network on May 30, 2017; by Steve Orr, Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle

LAKE ONTARIO FLOODING 2017Home atop eroding cliff is hanging on by a thread.

A family in Sodus Point, New York was forced to move out of their home after Lake Ontario erosion completely wiped out their backyard.

GREECE, N.Y. — Homeowners dealing with the highest water levels on Lake Ontario in 100 years of record keeping will receive $7 million in help from the state and boulders from the federal government, according to New York’s governor.

Waves already have destroyed public and private breakwalls along the shores of both Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, countless structures have been flooded and roads have been closed at times.

Lake Ontario is at the end of the five Great Lakes, and a dam near Massena, N.Y., regulates its flow into the St. Lawrence. Officials can’t open its gates all the way because extremely strong currents affect shipping, could damage turbines in two hydroelectric plants along the river and create flooding in the Montreal area.

Experts say it likely will be several months before Lake Ontario’s level drops appreciably. Upstream, Lake Erie also is seeing higher water levels because of a wet spring and flows from the other lakes; erosion is a worry.

“People here have lived through this for weeks now. God bless their stamina,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said here Monday in announcing the assistance.

New York’s $7 million will be parceled out after homeowners’ insurance pays out to help repair homes in eight counties along Lake Ontario’s and the St. Lawrence River’s shore where Cuomo declared a state of emergency May 2. Residents could obtain up to $40,000 depending on their income, and senior citizens could receive more.

A week ago, Cuomo’s administration announced $10 million to repair public infrastructure and $5 million in grants for small businesses. Cuomo said he had asked federal officials to install large boulders, or riprap, along the shoreline.

“It’s a start, but it’s not going to be enough,” said Virginia Meier, who lives on a street where homes to the north abut Lake Ontario. Flooding has taken away some backyards temporarily and erosion has removed some land forever.

Just shy of 15 inches of rain have fallen since March 1 in Rochester, N.Y., nearly double of normal. Northern New York, Ohio and nearby portions of the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec also have had heavy precipitation.

Sodus Point on May 21, 2017, Aerial Photos

Please see the photos below to get a better idea of the impact of the recent flooding on Sodus Point. Hover over images to preview in color. Click on any image to enlarge. Make a note of the submerged docks, the sandbags that are “highlighting” the perimeter of Sodus Point, standing water on the lawns, pumps pumping water back to the bay, the absence of boats in the water, the docks still sitting in the parking lots… what else do you notice in these pictures? Note, once you click on the image to enlarge it, a gallery window will open and you can browse through 50 images of Sodus Point.

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* Plan 58DD regulated water levels in Lake Ontario for almost 60 years. Under Plan 58DD Lake Ontario water levels had a four-foot range above sea level: 243.3 to 247.3; Under the newly-enacted Plan 2014, approved by the International Joint Commission (IJC) that range was broadened to six foot or more above sea level.

The breach between Charles Point and Crescent Beach is growing.

A breach between Charles Point and Crescent Beach was created during a storm in April of 2016. It now connects Lake Ontario and Sodus Bay and is getting wider. This breach contributes to declining water quality in the bay.

As the water level in Lake Ontario rises, Save Our Sodus members and myself are frequently asked: “What is the difference between the old and the new plan that regulates water levels in Lake Ontario and is Plan 2014 to blame for the current high water?” 

As of this writing, Lake Ontario is 21 inches higher than its long-term April average water level. The IJC has been telling us that the water levels are nearly the same now as they would be under Plan 58DD.  They are correct; we have had a wet spring with a lot of rain.  The issue is the word nearly

A cottage on Charles Point, Sodus Bay, NY - photo by Nancy Dodge-King

A cottage on Charles Point. Photo by Nancy Dodge-King, April 2017

Under Plan 58DD, flows would have been increased starting in March, around the ice flows because under Plan 58DD IJC was able to adjust water levels in advance of a situation. Plan 2014 does not let them do that because they did not always accurately predict the changes in water levels. Instead, Plan 2014 introduced triggers. 

The Army Corps of Engineers said some of those triggers have already been met, and outflow has been increased multiple times. But that’s not enough.

Under 58DD by now flows from the Mt Morris dam would have been further reduced, and the water level would have been lower.

Under Plan 58DD, flows would have been increased starting in March, around the ice flows because under Plan 58DD IJC was able to adjust water levels in advance of a situation. Plan 2014 does not let them do that because they did not always accurately predict the changes in water levels. Instead, Plan 2014 introduced triggers. By now flows from the Mt Morris dam would have been further reduced, and the water level would have been lower.

A photo of a flood in Sodus Point 70 years ago. We hope to be spared of a repeat. 

How much lower is a debate that only the IJC has the information to figure out.  I’m sure they are not interested in telling us if they have spent the time to figure it out.  It is inches, not feet.

We are at the point where a few inches make a difference.  Just for the reference – when Lake Ontario is 10” higher, as it has been in April, it adds 1.6 trillion gallons of water to the lake. Even a light spring storm could cause a serious damage.

Arnies’ Marina. Photo by David Figura,

Under Plan 58DD we would not be in quite the crisis we are in today.  And we would feel comfortable that the crisis would go away in a few weeks, not a few months.  The water would still be high and we may be starting to sandbag.  We would have had some of the erosion but not nearly what we have had.  Some areas have lost over 20 feet of lakefront property.  We are not forecast to be at normal June levels until mid-August.

{cbt-quote}when Lake Ontario is 10” higher, it adds 1.6 trillion gallons of water to the lake; even a light spring storm could cause a serious damage.{cbt-quote}

Between climate change and Plan 2014, we need to have a plan how to mitigate our shorelines and infrastructure for higher water. 

The DEC is working with the county and local towns to better understand the issues and to develop a mitigation plan.  Nothing definitive yet but we should expect some direction soon. 

The next step will be finding the money to pay for the needed modifications and repairs.

Please send us your pictures

Please email any pictures and estimates you have of damaged areas.  We will ensure that they are broadly shared with those that may be able to help.  If you are a Facebook user, please post those pictures on our FB page . Please include the date the picture was taken. THANK YOU in advance.

Every chance you get, please let your local representatives know that Plan 2014 must be modified or repealed. We at Save Our Sodus are tirelessly working on it as well.

Charles Point, April 2017. A breach that now separates Charles Point from Crescent Beach could be seen in the upper middle.  Photo by Dave Pitts, FB

Featured image at the top of the post by Joanne Wetton VanEtten, FB