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Experts with the board that helps regulate Lake Ontario sound cautiously optimistic that shoreline property owners won't face the kinds of flooding problems this year, that they’ve seen in recent years.

Water levels throughout the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River System are expected to peak below the record-high levels seen in 2019 and also in 2017.

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

After pressure from lawmakers and residents of the shoreline, the International Joint Commission is reviewing Lake Ontario regulation Plan 2014.

The plan has been controversial since its implementation. It is a set of guidelines for how high and low water levels in Lake Ontario and the Saint Lawrence are allowed to get before intervention. One way to mitigate these levels is letting water through a large dam across the Saint Lawrence River -- called the Moses-Saunders Power Dam.

Veronica Volk / Great Lakes Today/WXXI News

The start of the shipping season on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River will be delayed by at least 12 days. It’s due to the efforts to try and deal with the possibility of flooding along the lakeshore.

The International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board, which helps regulate the level of Lake Ontario to some extent through a hydroelectric dam on the St. Lawrence, recently voted to continue maximizing the water that flows out of Lake Ontario. That decision means that the start of the shipping season will be delayed until April 1.

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

The board that helps regulate the level of Lake Ontario says it will continue to have some flexibility in taking steps that may help ease potential flooding along the shoreline.

The International Lake Ontario – St. Lawrence River Board helps control the level of the waterways through a dam on the St. Lawrence.

The board has been allowed to let out more water from Lake Ontario than regulations call for in recent months, because of the high level of the lake. The International Joint Commission is allowing that variance to continue until June of 2020.

Veronica Volk / Great Lakes Today/WXXI News

Governor Andrew Cuomo and NYS Attorney General Letitia James have announced an expanded lawsuit against the International Joint Commission, for “failing to implement its flood protocol for the Moses-Saunders Power Dam.”  That’s the dam that can be used to help regulate the level of water in Lake Ontario.

The IJC is the joint U.S.-Canadian agency that helps address issues concerning bodies of water that involves both countries.

The amount of water that officials on the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board are releasing from Lake Ontario into the St. Lawrence River continues to be above the usual outflows for this time of year. That's due to the fact that lake levels are still over the so-called trigger levels in the government's water management, called Plan 2014. When those levels are exceeded, the Board can deviate from the Plan, allowing for more water to be pushed into the river.

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced some changes this week to his plan to build back the southern shore of Lake Ontario.

The state's Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative -- or REDI -- Commission has been meeting with people from municipalities all along the shoreline.

The state is putting aside $300 million to fund resiliency projects in these communities, which have seen major flooding in recent years.

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

Greece Supervisor Bill Reilich will have a new role in overseeing Lake Ontario.

Earlier this year, the International Joint Commission decided to add two new members to the board that oversees lake level management for Lake Ontario.

Frank Bevacqua, the IJC's public information officer, says they chose Reilich to be the representative for the U.S. side because of the way he’s handled flooding along the shoreline.

Veronica Volk / Great Lakes Today/WXXI News

Despite reduced outflows, water levels on Lake Ontario continue to decline. 

A report Friday from the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board says Lake Ontario sits at 247.67 feet.  

For context, that’s about a foot lower than this time last month, and nearly a foot and a half lower than its peak this season.

This week, the board decreased the outflows at the Moses-Saunders Power Dam, but a spokesperson says they expect to continue to see the water decrease gradually as we move into the fall.

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.

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