WXXI AM News

Lake Ontario outflows reduced

Aug 22, 2019

The International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board announced it’s reducing outflows. This means it’ll be letting less water from Lake Ontario through the Moses-Saunders Power Dam into the upper St. Lawrence River.

Andrew Kornacki, a communications officer for the board, said it’s been able to reduce outflows because the water is going down in the lake.

"This is the natural progression of water levels on Lake Ontario," he said via phone.

"You see them rise in the spring, level out in summer, declining in the fall and into the winter, so you’re seeing that seasonal decline."

Typically the board has to balance the needs of people upstream and downstream when deciding how much water to let out.

Kornacki said reducing the outflows will lower the velocity of water flowing through the channel, which he says is important.

"Not just for shipping," he said, "but also for recreational boaters, people using that waterway, people swimming in it. And the impacts that it would have to riparian shoreline owners to ensure that velocity wouldn’t do further damage downstream."

The board is reducing the outflows by about 10,000 cubic feet per second, which adds up to about a centimeter over the course of a week.