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Board Follows Plan Flow


International St. Lawrence River Board of Control

                                  April 2, 2014

Board follows Plan flow

The International St. Lawrence River Board of Control (Board) recently reviewed conditions in the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River system and has decided to continue to follow Plan flows. The Board will also continue to permit additional under- or over-discharges that may be necessary to address unforeseen critical conditions in the river.

During the winter months, the Board did deviate from Plan flows to assist in ice management. By February 21, 2014, Lake Ontario level was back to Plan level. However, over-discharges were again made to assist ships in the Port of Montreal, resulting in the Lake Ontario level 3 mm (0.1 in) lower than they would have been under continuous Plan flows. This water is expected to be restored either prior to or during the Ottawa River freshet, which is likely to begin in the coming weeks.

After starting the year slightly above average, Lake Ontario is currently below its normal seasonal rise. Continue Reading →

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Recent Waterfowl Deaths Explained

March 16, 2014

Here on Sodus Bay and in many other locations throughout the Great Lakes,  people have been finding the frozen carcasses of waterfowl in the water, on the ice, on docks and on shore.  The official determination, through necropsies, is starvation.  Although this has hit the live minnow eating species the hardest, it has also taken a toll on the herbivores.  In each case the waterfowl are being deprived access to adequate open water by ice cover.

The cause of this natural phenomenon is the prolonged, bitterly cold winter season and the resultant ice cover.  Earlier this month 92.2 percent of the Great Lakes surface area was ice covered.  That is just short of the record 94.7 percent that was set in 1979.  The hold out lake has been Lake Ontario at somewhere around 50 percent ice cover.  Lake Ontario has the smallest surface area of the Great Lakes, is the third deepest at 802 feet and is roughly four times deeper than Lake Erie.


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Money found for Dredging of port, bay

March 5, 2014Money found for Dredging of port, bay

Original story by Steve Orr, staff writer, appeared in the March 5th issue of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

U.S. Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-Fairport announced additional funds for dredging along the south shore of Lake Ontario.  “She is still fighting to establish a regular schedule of dredging,” said Eric Walker, a spokesman for Slaughter.  [This was first proposed in 2000 and that plan is in the process of being updated.]  $1.61 million had been proposed this round for Sandy-related work.  Slaughter and U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. were able to successfully argue for an additional $2.55 million to permit fully dredging both the Port of Rochester and the Irondequoit Bay channel, $4,160,000 and $700,000 respectively.  The Port of Rochester dredging will span two years.

“At least four other New York ports on Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, including Oak Orchard harbor in Orleans County and Little Sodus [Fair Haven] harbor in Cayuga County, have been scheduled for removal of Sandy-related siltation,” Orr reported.

Great Sodus Bay is not included in this round.

To read the entire article:

Dave Scudder, SOS President

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IJC Plan 2014

March  2, 2014

February has come and gone and not a word from the IJC.  No press release, no announcement, not even a good rumor regarding Plan 2014 or any of its attendant changes.  It’s been so long that maybe I should remind you of the five parts that constitute, “the proposal.”

  1. A regulation plan [plan 2014] (replaces 1958 DD)
  2. An Order of Approval (replaces the present Order of Approval)
  3. An International Lake Ontario – St. Lawrence River Board (10 people to replace the current 6 that make up the Board of Control)
  4. A policy for deviating from regulation plan flows (includes the rules for deviating from the high and low water trigger points)
  5. An adaptive management strategy (a new committee that will evaluate the impacts and effectiveness of the plan and make changes to it to accommodate climate change and other factors) The IJC has never gone into much detail regarding adaptive management.

Stay tuned.


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Mute Swan Management Plan Revision

The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation has issued the following press release:



While the initial public comment period on the draft “Management Plan for Mute Swans in New York State” closed February 21, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is already considering changes to the draft plan, including an additional opportunity for public comment, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens announced today.

Over the past five weeks, DEC received more than 1,500 comments on the plan from individuals and organizations as well as more than 16,000 form letters and 30,000 signatures on various petitions. Continue Reading →

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DEC Reports the Return of Type E Botulism in Lake Ontario Waterbirds

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced that Type E botulism has again struck the eastern basin of Lake Ontario this fall resulting in sizable mortality in migrating waterbirds. Reports from the public and field investigations by DEC crews indicate that at least 200-300 common loons have washed ashore along Jefferson and northern Oswego County shorelines. The loon deaths were all attributable to type E botulism. Long-tailed ducks, grebes and gulls have also been found. A mortality event involving this many loons has not been seen on Lake Ontario since 2006. Continue Reading →

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DEC Summer Camps


dec camp picRegistration for DEC’s four summer environmental education camps is now open!

What could be better than enjoying the outdoors in the Adirondacks, southern Catskills or Western New York? Kids aged 11 to 17 yrs old can attend a fun-filled week at camp where they learn about the environment and engage in various outdoor activities such as shooting sports, fishing, hiking and canoeing. Campers can even take Hunter Education or Bowhunter Education courses during their stay to qualify for their sporting license.

For the first time, we are offering the Trapper Education course during Week 7 (8/10 – 8/16) at Camp Rushford (Western NY) and Week 5 (7/27-8/2) at Camp Colby (Adirondacks).

Do you know a kid interested in spending time outdoors this summer? For only $350, a week at camp will become a lifetime of memories.

Learn more and register at

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DEC Reminds Anglers to Put Safety First When Enjoying Ice Fishing

The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation has issued the following press release:

A Minimum of Three To Four Inches of Solid Ice Is Usually Safe For Anglers on Foot

Ice thickness can be difficult to predict, however, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today reminded ice anglers to enjoy the ice responsibly. With the early cold weather that New York has experienced this year, anglers will likely be headed out on the ice earlier than they have in the past few years. DEC cautions that the presence of snowmobile tracks or footprints on the ice should not be taken as evidence of safe ice conditions. Individuals are strongly encouraged to check ice conditions for themselves and avoid situations that appear to present even a remote risk.

[In the continuation of this article you will find links to information regarding "special regulations by county" for the use of bait fish and to an interactive map with recommendations on waters open to ice fishing.] Continue Reading →

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Comment Period for Draft 2014 303(d) List

The Draft New York State Section 303(d) List of Impaired/TMDL Waters is available for public comment. The Division of Water will accept comments until close of business on March 14, 2014. The 303(d) List identifies waterbodies that do not support their designated best use. The list is updated every two years and DEC must submit a new list to EPA by April 1, 2014.
New York is also revising its Consolidated Assessment and Listing Methodology and will accept comments on the revisions. The Assessment Methodology outlines how waterbodies are evaluated by DEC to determine the degree of use support and the Listing Methodology outlines the criteria DEC uses to determine which waterbodies are to be included in the 303(d) List.
Instructions for submitting comments are in the January 29 Environmental Notice Bulletin. Scroll down to the header “Draft 2014 New York State Section 303(d) List of Impaired/TMDL Waters.”

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Potential Wetland Restoration Project for Sodus Bay

The topic of alternative methods for wetland restoration began several months ago, when we were in the throes of the water level controversy with the IJC.  One of the points we made in opposition to Plan 2014 was the lack of consideration of alternatives for wetland restoration.  From the beginning, SOS has expressed complete agreement that wetlands are a critical component of water quality as well as habitat quality.  On that point, we have consistently agreed with the Nature Conservancy and others that wetland preservation and restoration are goals that should be pursued.  Our issue was with the proposed method of using Lake Ontario water levels as the sole solution under consideration to achieve that end.  Our testimony presented at the IJC Technical Hearing at Oswego in July, made this specific point and further requested that alternatives to wetland restoration be made a part of their overall report to the public. Continue Reading →

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