Flood watch issued: St. Lawrence River may rise “a bit more” as precursor to expected drop

Lake St. Lawrence. Nation Valley News file photo

Township of South Dundas makes sand available as SNC issues “flood watch”

SOUTH DUNDAS — The water level on the St. Lawrence River between Augusta Township and Cornwall may rise “a bit” more before settling down as gates at the Moses-Saunders Dam in Cornwall are opened wider to allow faster drainage of Lake Ontario.

Authorities have begun flowing more water through the dam in a bid to reduce historically high water levels on the Great Lake.

Rob Caldwell, Manager of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Regulation Office, explained in a press release that Environment and Climate Change Canada and Ontario Power Generation have begun to increase the outflows of the Moses-Saunders Dam.

“This will help lower levels on the river over the next few days, especially as one gets closer to the dam,” said Caldwell, in the release issued by South Nation Conservation, which has jurisdiction down to the river’s edge between Augusta and South Dundas.

“Levels may be slow to drop initially, and may in fact rise a bit more at first,” says Caldwell.

Environment and Climate Change Canada does not forecast significant rain for this week, and Caldwell notes that Lake Ontario “should peak within centimetres of the current level.”

Still, SNC has issued a “flood watch” — one notch down from a “flood warning” — for Augusta to South Dundas. The local watershed authority cautions  residents of low-lying areas along its portion of the St. Lawrence River that levels “may increase significantly.” It also suggests that “wind may cause higher waves, further aggravating water levels which may affect structures closer to the shore.”

The Township of South Dundas isn’t taking any chances and is making free sand available in the event that Lake St. Lawrence — the Cornwall-to-Iroquois portion of the St. Lawrence River — spills out of its artificial banks and causes flooding. Bags are not offered, however.

It is expected that St. Lawrence River water levels will remain high over the next few weeks while water control structures are being operated, according to SNC.

The water levels along the St. Lawrence River will depend on the level of Lake Ontario and the outflow of the Moses-Saunders Dam at Cornwall.

Visit www.nation.on.ca to report changes in water-related conditions, soil stress fractures (i.e. cracks in soil), abrupt changes in streambanks, or sudden leaning of trees in their local areas. All feedback and photos canbe sent to waterwatch@nation.on.ca, posted on the watershed authority’s Facebook page (/SouthNationConservation), or Tweeted to (@SouthNationCA).


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