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Video: How Do Low Lake St. Lawrence Water Levels Affect Fish Habitat?

Picture of Frank Bevacqua
Frank Bevacqua
July 13, 2020
A screenshot from the video

Lake St. Lawrence is the portion of the St. Lawrence River above the Moses-Saunders Dam that was made artificially wider and deeper when the dam was built. The area is a destination for sport fishing, including an annual Bassmaster tournament. High flows through the dam in recent years to remove water from Lake Ontario have resulted in historically low water levels in this portion of the river. 

Ontario and New York shoreline residents and anglers of Lake St. Lawrence have concerns that very low water levels and more exposed river bottom may have short- and long-term impacts to fish populations and the health of the ecosystem.

In response to these concerns, the IJC’s Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board asked the St. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental Sciences to conduct a comprehensive scientific review of the life histories and critical habitat of all known fish species inhabiting Lake St. Lawrence.

The report concludes in part that: “… the available evidence suggests that existing fish communities of (Lake St. Lawrence) have not been substantially impacted by recent low water levels, at least compared to conditions that have been present for the past 40 years.”

The findings are highlighted in an informative 12-minute video, “Water Levels and the Fish Communities of Lake St. Lawrence.”   

 

Picture of Frank Bevacqua
Frank Bevacqua