Lake Ontario’s rising waters imperil shoreline properties


ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Communities along the Lake Ontario shoreline have swung into action by filling and stacking walls of sandbags as the lake’s water level continues to rise.

Silent waters run deep

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Detroit District’ website listed Ontario’s water level at 248.34 feet as of Friday, May 17. Lake Ontario hit a record level of 248.64 feet in April 2017 with widespread flood damage.

More sandbags and pumps

Governor Andrew Cuomo visited shoreline areas at the beginning of May and authorized additional sandbags and water pumps to be shipped to flood prone communities.

He also mentioned the need for more New York representation on the IJC and expressed frustration with  the delay in hiring Jane Corwin.

Cuomo encouraged local leaders of the eight counties that border Lake Ontario to work with their county emergency managers to submit any resource needs directly to NY Responds — the state’s web based system that receives and resources requests from city and county governments.

Remembering the floods of 2017

Lakeshore residents blamed  the International Joint Commission for its failure to prevent flooding in 2017. This U.S.-Canadian agency controls the flow of water into and out of Lake Ontario. In recent weeks, the IJC has walked a tightrope, balancing competing water needs between American and Canadian property owners.

Flooding damage in 2017 was estimated at $100 million. Many lakeside residents are still recovering from the effects of the flooding from two years ago and also the financial drain it created with costs.

Newly appointed commissioner from New York

Just this week, the IJC announced the appointment of news commissioners: three Canadian and two Americans.

The IJC swore in Jane Corwin, former member of the New York Assembly from 2009 to 2016, as U.S. Section Chair.

Frustration of many towns and property owners grew over the IJC’s adherence to Plan 2014.

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer commented that communities are “prepared to handle a repeat of 2017’s historic flooding.”

It will be interesting to see how Corwin approaches Plan 2014 and works to protect New Yorkers’ property.

White sandbags and pumps are a common sight out on Edgemere Drive in the neighboring town of Greece.