Ice Boom Information
Ice Boom Opening Update
(posted April 30, 2019)
Thick ice conditions have hampered Lake Erie – Niagara River Ice Boom removal efforts by New York Power Authority (NYPA) since they began on April 22. Dense ice around the Buffalo breakwall has blocked removal of any ice boom spans from Lake Erie as of end of day April 29, 2019. However, a number of spans have been opened, with one end remaining attached to an anchor buoy in the lake. This allows for a controlled release of ice into the Niagara River, minimizing potential downstream impacts due to ice boom removal, and will allow for retrieval of spans, as the ice recedes. NYPA is continuing removal efforts today (April 30, 2019) and will continue removal of the boom this coming week, as conditions allow.
Dense Lake Erie ice encasing ice boom April 29, 2019 (Photo Credit: New York Power Authority)
Ice Boom Opening Update
(posted April 22, 2019)
Opening of the Lake Erie- Niagara River Ice Boom for the 2018-19 ice season commenced on April 22nd, 2019. New York Power Authority (NYPA) crews were on the water today to begin removal of the Ice Boom.
Ice Boom Opening
(posted April 18, 2019)
Opening of the Lake Erie - Niagara River Ice Boom for the 2018-19 ice season is planned to begin as early as April 22, 2019.
More information can be found in the Lake Erie - Niagara River Ice Boom Opening media advisory for the 2018-19 ice season.
Ice Remains on Lake Erie
(posted April 16, 2019)
The area of ice in the eastern basin of Lake Erie was calculated as 963 km2 (372 mi2) on April 16, 2019. Although the ice is steadily melting, this remains above the 650 km2 (250 mi2) criteria for removal of the ice boom. The ice is relatively thick estimated to be from 15 cm (6 in) to 70 cm (28 in) thick. The International Niagara Working Committee, on behalf of the Niagara Board, will continue to monitor the area of ice to ensure that the operation of the ice boom by New York Power Authority meets the conditions in the Ice Boom’s Order of Approval.
Ice Boom to Remain in Place April 1, 2019
(posted April 1, 2019)
Representatives for the International Niagara Board of Control examined the latest Lake Erie MODIS imagery and determined that ice cover remains well above the 650 km2 (250 mi2) limit at which the ice boom is removed. Ice conditions on Lake Erie will continue to be monitored.
Lake Erie MODIS image taken April 1, 2019 (NOAA CoastWatch) showing ice in the eastern basin of Lake Erie.
Ice Boom to be Opened After April 1, 2019
(posted March 28, 2019)
Based on the present heavy ice cover remaining on eastern Lake Erie, removal of the Lake Erie-Niagara River ice boom has not started. The International Joint Commission’s International Niagara Board of Control has determined that the Lake Erie-Niagara River ice boom will not likely be open beforeEdit April 1. Representatives for the International Niagara Board of Control will continue to monitor the ice cover closely over the coming days.
More information can be found in the March 28, 2019 Lake Erie - Niagara River Ice Boom media advisory.
Ice Pushes Past Ice Boom - Update February, 2019
Strong westerly winds across Lake Erie on February 24 and 25 pushed large quantities of ice over the Lake Erie – Niagara River Ice Boom. The boom is designed to reduce the amount of ice entering the Niagara River by aiding in the formation of a naturally occurring ice arch. However, the boom is not able to hold back the large quantities of ice seen pushed into the Niagara River by the high westerly winds. Ideally under these conditions, the boom, which is made up of a series of floating pontoons, is pushed under water and the ice passes over it, without harming it. The New York Power Authority has identified some damage to the boom due to the strong winds and the large forces of the ice pushing up against it. The full extent of the damage has not been determined due to the strong winds and heavy ice conditions limiting the ability to observe the boom. As of February 27, the New York Power Authority reports that, despite damage to the ice boom, the natural ice arch shows signs of reforming. New York Power Authority’s assessment is ongoing as conditions allow.
Photograph showing the natural ice arch reforming on Lake Erie at the entrance to the Niagara River despite damage to the boom. (Photo credit: New York Power Authority)
Ice Boom Update December 18, 2018
New York Power Authority crews completed installation of the ice boom for the 2018-19 ice season on December 18.
Ice Boom Update December 13, 2018
Installation of the ice boom began this morning, with New York Power Authority crews towing the first strand of pontoons out to attach to the anchor cables in Lake Erie.
Ice Boom Update December 12, 2018
Installation of the Lake Erie - Niagara River Ice Boom for the 2018-19 ice season is planned to begin as early as December 13, 2018. The New York Power Authority may begin installation when the Lake Erie water temperature as measured at the Buffalo Water Intake reaches 4oC (39oF) or on December 16, whichever occurs first. The temperature of Lake Erie on December 12, 2018 was 4oC (39oF).
More information can be found in the Lake Erie - Niagara River Ice Boom media advisory for the 2018-19 ice season.
Ice Boom Reports can be found here.
The Ice Boom is operated by the New York Power Authority to reduce the potential for ice jams in the Niagara River. For further information, see Frequently Asked Questions on the Ice Boom.
The New York Power Authority Ice Boom camera shows current images of the boom.
This video from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers describes the boom and how it is monitored in cooperation with the International Niagara Board of Control and other agencies.