Lake Erie – Niagara River Ice Boom 21 of 22 Sections Installed for the 2022-2023 Ice Season
Installation for the 2022-2023 ice season began on December 16, 2022 and ended on December 21, 2022. In accordance with the International Joint Commission (IJC) 1999 Supplementary Order of Approval, the New York Power Authority (NYPA) installs a 22-span ice boom each winter near the outlet of Lake Erie to reduce the amount of ice entering the Niagara River.
This year, NYPA has informed the Board that shallow water depths will prevent safe installation of all spans of the ice boom, due to lower Lake Erie water levels and accumulation of sediment on the lake bottom and the associated risks of vessels hitting lake bottom. The IJC issued a Temporary Order of Approval on December 20, 2022, to allow for installation of 21 of the 22 sections of the Niagara River ice boom. As a result, NYPA installed 21 spans of the ice boom this ice season leaving out the last span of the ice boom located nearest to the Canadian shore.
The NYPA and Ontario Power Generation (OPG), who are responsible for ownership and cost of operating and maintaining the ice boom, expects that this modification will have minimal impact to the integrity of the ice boom and the stable ice cover formation behind the ice boom. The Power Entities will develop and implement a monitoring plan for this ice season that will focus on:
- Changes to ice formation behind the boom, and continuation of promotion of the formation and strengthening of a naturally occurring ice arch to reduce the amount of ice entering the Niagara River.
- Allowance for ice movement over the boom in a natural flow pattern that ensures that riparian interests along the shores of Lake Erie and Niagara River are maintained with the changes in the ice boom installation.
Public Comment Period - Amended Installation Plan
The International Niagara Board of Control is currently soliciting public comment related to the amended installation plan for the 2022-2023 ice season. Comments related to the installation of 21 spans versus 22 spans should be submitted to the Board using the online comment form. The ‘subject’ should be titled ‘2022-2023 ice season – 21 spans’. The comment period closes on Friday, January 20, 2023.
The Board will document any comments and concerns received to the IJC in the spring 2023 semi-annual report.
For more information on installation, operation and removal of the ice boom contact Louis Paonessa, NYPA at (716) 286-6651, Louis.Paonessa@nypa.gov
In USA contact Lynn Greer, Public Involvement Specialist to the International Niagara Board of Control at (716) 866-3417 or Lynn.M.Greer@usace.army.mil
In Canada contact Hafiz Ahmad, Canadian Secretary to the International Niagara Board of Control at (905) 220-8181 or Hafiz.Ahmad@ec.gc.ca