The following is a reprint of an editorial from Richard L. Henry of Pulaski, NY. It appeared in the Watertown Daily Times on April 8th.
I am a Lake Ontario shore property owner, and my family has been on the lakeshore for 80-plus years, four generations. We’ve been here long before manipulations of lake levels began, and long before 1958DD’s unintended consequences began, habitat-wise with annual property losses.
Contrary to political expediency, misconceptions and disinformation, the lake shoreline was brought to our residences (not vice versa), by 1958DD’s effects. On the lakeshore the primary threat will be that Bv7 will raise the lake level at precisely the worst time of the year; i.e. the spring gales coming across the 180-mile fetch of the lake.
The 4- to 8-foot storm waves/surges, on top of routine high spring levels (above the International Joint Commission’s own 246.7 foot “danger level”, 1973) is the 800-pound gorilla in our lives.
In a rare bipartisan agreement, both Rep. BIll Owens and challenger Matt Doheny and the Jefferson County Legislature seem to have forgotten they represent, or will, the lakeshore stakeholder/taxpayer/citizens, too. They represent the highest assessed, considerable tax revenue and spenders in the local economies.
Besides such common- sense concerns, they should be concerned about the basic constitutional rights (USA and New York) protecting their constituents’ property rights. This oblivious, expedient, callous and casual dismissal of our concerns should be a concern to all of us. The IJC’s own guesstimates of $3 million to $5 million annual damages to the lakeshore properties, if ratified, are in effect a condemnation of those properties.
The agreement Bv7 does not include meaningful plans for mitigation or compensation nor any provisions for flood insurance protections/guarantees.
While most everyone wants, and expects, a better habitat situation around our own human habitats, Jennifer Caddick, head of Save the River, et al. has been disingenuous and seems to have a bad case of tunnel vision. On the merry way to their goals, she has been oblivious to the concerns of hundreds of property owners, business and private, along the lakeshore.
Why are our properties any less important or valuable than those on the St. Lawrence River? Higher lake levels in the spring mean that many outlets will be blocked by debris as is happening now.
This will thwart natural flushing of those marshes regularly and blocks the all- important increases in diversification of species, cattail population control, and desired muskrat habitat improvement.
Bv7 is not balanced, is proposed by appointed bureaucracies free of responsibility for their actions, and completely minimizes or ignores the concerns of thousands of citizens and taxpayers around the lake’s shore.
Richard L. Henry