Tensions rise with lake levels

Posted at 11:52 PM, Apr 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-24 23:52:35-04

Flood waters are rising on Lake Ontario, and many property owners don’t believe they’re dealing with a natural disaster, rather a man-made-disaster.

“They better get a lot more sand bags or something down here, because it's going to get worse,” said David Hedley. He and the Oclott Fire Department were to sandbag buildings at his uncle’s business.

More than 300 miles away from the Hamlet of Olcott is the Moses-Saunders Dam on the St. Lawrence River. It controls water levels on Lake Ontario. Plan 2014 is the newly adopted strategy by the International Joint Commission to manage water levels on the lake. The IJC says extensive studies show plan 2014 will revitalize endangered eco-systems. They also say, this year's flooding has very little to do with Plan 2014.

Frank Bevacqua, a spokesperson for the IJC says:

"The high water level on Lake Ontario was caused by the extremely heavy rainfall experienced this spring."

"The implementation of plan 2014 added a couple of inches to the spring rise on Lake Ontario, but water levels would have been very similar under the previous plan."

Many in the communities along the lake disagree.

“Their ruler must be off. They don't know what two inches and two feet are,” said Hedley.

The water is expected to rise before additional releases at the dam. The supervisor of Newfane says towns along the shore may take legal action to lower the levels.


Congressman Chris Collins is expected to tour the flooding on Tuesday.