Lake St. Lawrence levels to be raised to assist with recreational boat removal

The Morrisburg Docks as they appeared earlier this month. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

LAKE ST. LAWRENCE — Water levels will be temporarily raised on Lake St. Lawrence during the first two weekends of October to help recreational boaters haul out their vessels for the season, reports the Canadian secretary of the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board.

The Board has flowed greater than usual volumes through the Moses-Saunders Dam at Cornwall this summer to help bring down historic high levels on Lake Ontario and reduce risk of flooding in the Great Lakes region — a remaining hangover of the wet year of 2017.

But that action produced a localized side effect on Lake St. Lawrence — the artificial lake on the St. Lawrence River between Iroquois and Cornwall — where water levels dropped to low levels rarely seen in summer, ruining the season for some recreational boaters this year.

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Rob Caldwell says the Board will help them remove their vessels over two 45-hour periods by restricting flows through the Dam to temporarily boost water levels on Lake St. Lawrence (from 7 p.m. on Oct. 5 through 4 p.m .on Oct. 7; and at the same times on Oct. 12 through Oct. 14).

“Thereafter, Lake St. Lawrence levels are generally expected to remain stable for several weeks, so it’s imperative that you plan to act during these limited opportunities,” Caldwell warns in a press release.

The upcoming temporary water-level rises will be greatest at the Moses-Saunders Dam (23 inches) and decline upstream from there: Long Sault (21 inches); Morrisburg (17 inches); Iroquois (13 inches); Cardinal (11 inches); and Ogdensburg (3 inches).

Adds Caldwell, “The Board wishes to remind everyone that weather and hydrologic conditions play a more predominant role than regulation in influencing water levels, and extreme conditions may occur at any time in any given year. Low water level impacts can occur during such periods of extreme conditions, so shoreline property and business owners, recreational boaters and local government officials, should always be prepared for the full range of water levels on both Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River in the future.

“Information on Plan 2014, hydrologic conditions, water levels and outflows are available on the Board’s website and posted to our Facebook page. Further details on our efforts to assist you can be found online. Please keep a close watch on the wind and weather forecasts and actual conditions. We wish you success in your haul-out efforts and please work safely in and around the water. Thank you for helping us spread the word to others.”

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