Plan 2014 is the plan for regulating outflows from Lake Ontario into the St. Lawrence River that went into effect in 2017. In two of the first three years after the plan was adopted, extremely wet conditions caused record floods on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. In response to public concerns about these extraordinarily high water levels, the International Joint Commission (IJC) asked its Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Adaptive Management (GLAM) Committee to launch an expedited review of Plan 2014.
Why is it called an “expedited review”? When Plan 2014 was implemented in 2017, a requirement was included for the GLAM to conduct a full review of the plan following 15 years of operation. The current review by the GLAM Committee is considered “expedited” since it was initiated only 3 years after the plan was put in place and will be completed well before the 15-year review requirement.
The GLAM Committee prioritized activities in a two-phase approach that formally began in February 2020. The first phase of the expedited review focused on providing information to the IJC’s International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board (ILOSLRB) during this ongoing period of near-record high inflows from Lake Erie. Results from Phase 1 are included on the Phase 1 web page and in the Phase 1 report.
Phase 2 of the Expedited Review commenced when Phase 1 concluded. It looks at how Plan 2014 addresses extreme high and low water levels over the longer term. The GLAM Committee will advise the ILOSLRB by the end of 2024 on whether adjustments to the plan might make sense, not just for the current conditions, but overall. The ILOSLRB will review the findings from Phase 2 of the expedited review and make recommendations to the IJC in the spring of 2025 if it is determined that changes to Plan 2014 should be considered. Any changes to Plan 2014 would need to be approved by the IJC and agreed to by the Governments of Canada and the United States.