Lake Erie-Niagara River Ice Boom to be Removed

February 27, 2012 Updated Feb 27, 2012 at 3:41 PM EDT

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Lake Erie-Niagara River Ice Boom to be Removed

February 27, 2012 Updated Feb 27, 2012 at 3:41 PM EDT

Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW release) -- Preparations are underway for removal of the Lake Erie - Niagara River Ice Boom.

Considering the lack of ice on Lake Erie, the absence of an ice build up in the Maid-of-the-Mist Pool below Niagara Falls, and the limited potential for significant ice to form in either location, preparations are underway for the removal of the Lake Erie – Niagara River Ice Boom.

With favorable weather conditions, a New York Power Authority crew will begin opening the boom’s 22 spans on Tuesday, February 28. If operations are able to proceed as planned, this year’s opening will be the earliest since the boom was first installed in the winter of 1964-65. Previously, the boom’s earliest opening date was March 5, 1998, while the latest date for opening was May 3, 1971. Last year, boom opening began on April 12 and was completed on April 22.

The boom is owned and operated by the New York Power Authority and Ontario Power Generation. It permits formation of a stable ice cover under which Niagara River flows can pass freely. The use of the boom is authorized by the International Joint Commission with its International Niagara Board of Control overseeing the installation, operation and removal.

During years when an ice cover forms on Lake Erie, the installation of the boom substantially reduces ice accumulation that interferes with hydro-electric power production and can cause flooding and damage to shore properties.