We Want to Hear from You About Record High Water Levels

By Wendy Leger and Arun Heer

survey glam
The survey is online. Credit: Tungilik

2017 has been a challenging year for property owners and businesses located along the shoreline of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. An extremely wet spring led to record high water levels on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, which resulted in flood and erosion damage to a number of shoreline properties.

The IJC’s Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Adaptive Management (GLAM) Committee is responsible for gathering information that will support the IJC in its review of the plan for managing the flow of water from Lake Ontario to the St. Lawrence River as undertaken at Cornwall, Ontario, and Massena, New York. Given the extremely high water levels on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River in 2017, the GLAM Committee is seeking input from shoreline property owners and businesses to better understand what happened out there, who and what was impacted, where impacts occurred, and how much damage was caused.

To do this, we are gathering information from a variety of sources. This includes seeking direct input from shoreline property owners. The GLAM Committee is working with Conservation Ontario to conduct an online survey to ensure all impacted shoreline residents and businesses have an opportunity to describe what happened to their properties.

This will complement results from an earlier survey conducted this summer by Cornell University and New York Sea Grant of shoreline properties along the US side of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. While the focus of the GLAM survey is to capture missing Ontario and Quebec information, owners of New York state properties who did not get an opportunity to respond to the earlier Cornell-Sea Grant survey, or who have more to tell, are welcome to respond. If you have property on Lake Ontario or the St. Lawrence River and you suffered damage as a result of the high water levels this year, we want to hear from you.

The GLAM survey asks a variety of questions on the extent of flooding, erosion, damage to shoreline structures, and related damage to residential and business shoreline properties. There is also an opportunity to upload pictures to document the extent of flooding/erosion impacts on shoreline properties. Adding pictures is optional, but encouraged.

The GLAM Committee will use the survey results along with other information from federal, provincial, state and local sources to summarize the impacts and challenges caused by this year’s record-high water levels on the shores of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River and report the results to the IJC. The information also will be used to improve estimates of potential impacts should similar conditions occur in the future.

The survey is available in English and French at this link.  There are about 15-40 questions depending on extent of damage being reported, and the survey should take about 10-25 minutes to complete.  Please share this article with anyone you know who has property along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. The more that people share and contribute, the more we can learn.

The deadline to take the survey is Dec. 1, 2017.

Wendy Leger and Arun Heer are co-chairs of the GLAM Committee.

4 thoughts on “We Want to Hear from You About Record High Water Levels”

  1. I own 160 feet of shoreline in the Olcott – Wilson NY area along lake Ontario’s south shore. My shoreline was reinforced by the original owner of my property back in the early 1990’s. It has held up very well with hardy vegetation, trees, and shrub brush growing steadfastly over the years. It was excellent habitat for birds and waterfowl to nest, reproduce and find protection from the dangers of the wild.
    On occasion one could see a fish lurch out of the water to catch an stray insect hovering near the overhanging shoreline vegetation.
    Since the massive erosion of this past year this habitat just mentioned, is no longer there along with several feet of soil. Large boulders and rock that once protected all of this, have been undermined and shifted away as to render very little protection. In fact the movement of the large boulders appears to have enhanced the destructive wave action against the now exposed shoreline bank soil on windy days.
    My comment to you is “shame on a system and it’s decision makers for being so reckless and indifferent to it’s responsible taxpaying citizens. Who’s pocket is your agency in?”

  2. Thanks for your good work Wendy and Arun. I will have our appropriate officer reply to your request.

    Howard Franklin
    Commodore ABYC

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