Public Advisory Group Hears About Progress on Plan 2014 Evaluation During Spring Workshop

Public Advisory Group
lake ontario shoreline clayton ny

A workshop on May 1 and 2 in Clayton, New York, brought the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Adaptive Management (GLAM) Committee and its Public Advisory Group (PAG) together for a second time to discuss progress on the Expedited Review of Plan 2014, the regulation plan for managing outflows from Lake Ontario into the St. Lawrence River. 

The GLAM Committee met with PAG members to provide updates and seek further input during Phase 2 of the review. The review of Plan 2014 is earlier than originally anticipated due to record floods and public concerns about extraordinarily high water levels in 2017 and 2019.

The PAG’s purpose is to share feedback on the review as well as information about communities that members represent and that are impacted by water levels and flows of the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River system. These include municipalities, Indigenous communities, agricultural and environmental groups, landowners, shoreline associations, boating and tourism groups, commercial navigation and hydropower companies. An earlier PAG workshop was held in October 2023.

PAG members said they found the recent workshop productive, and that commendable progress was made toward evaluating the regulation plan after receiving updates on plan modeling and how the process is moving forward. 

Public Advisory Group members spring workshop

Public Advisory Group members at the spring workshop. Credit: IJC

The GLAM Committee’s ISEE Technical Team delivered a comprehensive presentation of the Integrated Social, Economic, and Environmental (ISEE) model. The model will be used to support the evaluation of regulation plans and assess how any revisions could impact shoreline properties and infrastructure, communities, shipping, ecosystems, hydropower production, and recreation throughout the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River system.

GLAM Committee and PAG members held extensive discussions regarding the progress of the expedited review. Topics included modelling processes, key performance indicators to be used during the evaluation of potential changes to the regulation plan and the importance of a communication plan. 

The uncertainty of climate change impacts also was discussed, and PAG members reached a consensus on the need to be adaptive and responsive in the face of climate change. 

In-person meetings between GLAM Committee and PAG members, which complement more frequent virtual meetings, allow the PAG to provide first-hand feedback. Workshops provide PAG members an opportunity to learn more about different experiences and geographies across the multiple communities in the Lake Ontario–St. Lawrence River area. These communities embrace a collective responsibility to be the community caretakers of shared waters and shared ecosystems, and to be attentive to local community differences.

In February 2024, the GLAM Committee and technical team members met to practice a full evaluation of Plan 2014, applying an evaluation strategy, identifying critical next steps and assessing preliminary revisions to Plan 2014 using a draft model to assess potential impacts.

The committee will meet again in June with improved model results and information to continue testing the process. Draft improvements to Plan 2014 or potential new regulation plans will then be discussed between the GLAM Committee and International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board, which is ultimately responsible for making recommendations to the IJC.

The expedited review’s technical teams are diligently working to achieve their deliverables within expected timeframes. The International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board will present recommendations for changes to the regulation plan for IJC’s review and consideration in a full report expected in spring 2025. 

phase 2 expedited review plan 2014 schedule

This schedule illustrates ongoing collaboration between the GLAM Committee and PAG. Credit: IJC

Public Advisory Group