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great lakes

Office of NY Gov. Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo toured a portion of the Lake Ontario shoreline on Saturday morning, stopping by to check on potential flooding and talk about the situation with local and state officials.

He said that the NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services has deployed 70,000 sandbags and two six-inch pumps directly to Monroe County. 

Hoping to avoid a repeat of the flooding which caused extensive property damage and forced an economically important beach to close two years ago, Governor Andrew Cuomo joined state and local officials in Niagara County Wednesday morning to discuss the strategy for holding back the rising waters of Lake Ontario.


Office of NY Governor Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo says that state agencies are offering additional resources to help protect communities along the Lake Ontario shoreline. He made the comment during a news conference in Sodus Point on Monday afternoon

With the lake about a foot above historic levels, Cuomo noted it’s hard to say just what should be an average level for the lake in recent years.

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

With concerns about rising levels on Lake Ontario, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Sunday that he has directed state agencies to begin deploying resources to protect communities along the lakeshore.

He notes that following severe flooding in Canada, the International Joint Commission has continued to reduce outflows of water from the Moses-Saunders Dam on the St. Lawrence River in an effort to minimize impacts, and the lake's water level currently sits at more than one foot above average.

International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board/Facebook

People who live along the Lake Ontario shoreline in the Rochester area are nervously watching lake levels.

The level of Lake Ontario currently is about a foot above its long term historic average, and while high, it’s not all that unusual.

That’s according to Bryce Carmichael, he is the U.S. Secretary of the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board which helps manage lake levels.

Conversations about plastic pollution often center around their impact on the world’s oceans, but what’s happening in our own backyard? Plastics and microplastics are imposing environmental pressures on the Great Lakes. From organic and inorganic pollution, to the threat of invasive species, to climate change, plastics are threatening the fresh water demands of many communities that rely on the lake system.

This hour, we’re joined by scientists who help us understand the current state and health of the Great Lakes and what’s at stake. We also preview Earth Day events happening at the College at Brockport. In studio:

  • Sherri "Sam" Mason, sustainability coordinator for Penn State Behrend
  • Jim Haynes, professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Ecology at the College at Brockport
  • Jamie Spiller, professor of modern U.S. history and environmental history at the College at Brockport
  • Tammy Bleier, graduate student at the College at Brockport studying microplastics in the Great Lakes. and founder of Plastic Lakes Project

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

The south shore of Lake Ontario might become a national marine sanctuary.

Ellen Brody is the Great Lakes regional coordinator for NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.

"In many ways," she said via phone, "sanctuaries are like national parks in that our mission is to protect a resource."

She said this effort was spearheaded by the counties along the shore of Lake Ontario, which pushed for recognition and protection of the lake’s shipwrecks.

There are 13 other marine sanctuaries in the U.S. – but only one in the Great Lakes.

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

A study from a group of Midwestern and Canadian scientists shows the Great Lakes Basin is warming at a quicker rate than the rest of the U.S.

The researchers conclude that because of rapid effects of climate change, the Great Lakes are vulnerable to more flooding, heat waves, and drought.

With Lake Ontario's water levels about a foot above average, communities along its shoreline are trying to get help in preventing the flooding that devastated the area in 2017.

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

President Donald Trump’s budget proposal includes major cuts to Great Lakes restoration efforts.

The administration's 2020 budget proposal would cut funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative by more than 90 percent.

This initiative funds projects from habitat restoration to shoreline improvement programs, and is usually fully funded at $300 million a year. This budget would knock that down to $10 million.

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