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Lake Ontario

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.

Max Schulte / WXXI News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced state funding for 63 projects across four counties along the Lake Ontario shoreline on Wednesday. It’s part of the Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative, or REDI.

Cuomo said flooding along the lakeshore is the new reality, and plans to rebuild should account for higher water levels. Severe floods damaged homes and businesses in 2017, and again this year. 

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 Wednesday that the state will be suing the International Joint Commission for failing to properly manage water levels on Lake Ontario.

The governor addressed reporters and local public officials on the deck of Silk O’Loughlin’s in Irondequoit, overlooking the water.

"The facts of the matter are plain and simple," Cuomo said. "The IJC's function is to manage the lake level. That is their job, to manage the lake level. They have failed to manage the lake level. Period."

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 / WXXI News

Governor Andrew  Cuomo has announced eligibility requirements for the 2019 Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Flood Relief and Recovery Program that will help homeowners directly impacted by this year's Lake Ontario flooding.

First announced in early August,  the program will allocate up to $20 million to expand the home repair program assist homeowners affected by the flooding.

WXXI photo

Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo has lifted the ‘state of emergency’ put into place on May 9 along Lake Ontario, Irondequoit Bay, Braddock’s Bay, the Genesee River and other waterways.

That means the previous 5-mph speed limit for all boat traffic within 500 feet of the shoreline is no longer in effect. The boating restrictions were put in place due to high water levels.

Dinolfo says the decision to lift the restrictions came after consultation with the  Monroe County Sheriff’s Department and other law enforcement agencies. 

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.

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