To Support Endorsement of New Water Regulation Plan for Lake Ontario
The International Joint Commission (IJC), the bi-national commission that manages the waters of the U.S.-Canada border, is holding public hearings in Olcott, Alexandria Bay, Massena, Greece, and Oswego, N.Y. in June to discuss options for managing the future water levels of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.
Leading state and national environmental organizations, including The Nature Conservancy, Save the River, Ducks Unlimited, Sierra Club, Audubon New York, and Citizens Campaign for the Environment, encourage the public to attend these public hearings and to endorse Plan B+, a water regulation plan that offers significant benefits for the environment, tourism, recreation, commercial navigation, low-cost hydroelectric power and the local economy. For more information on Plan B+, a new website has been formed, http://www.nature.org/planb
The purpose of the new website is to provide background information on the IJC process, and on the two regulation plans under consideration, Plan 2007 and Plan B+. The web site also provides information on how the public can participate in the hearing process.
“We commend the IJC for realizing the need to update a 50-year old water management plan for Lake Ontario,” said Jim Howe, Executive Director of The Nature Conservancy’s Central and Western New York Chapter.“It’s time for a new plan, and Plan B+ is clearly the best option.”
Plan B+ offers significant benefits. From an environmental perspective, it mimics Lake Ontario’s natural 30-year cycles by allowing for a more natural water level variation on a seasonal and long-term basis, restoring the wetlands and coastal habitats of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.“Plan B+ controls extreme high and low water levels which can cause economic damage and also supports a greater diversity of species, including species at risk like the northern pike and black tern” said Sean Mahar, Associate Director of Conservation for Audubon New York..
“Plan B+ also offers significant economic benefits, said David Klein, Senior Field Representative for The Nature Conservancy.“It improves fishing conditions, and extends the boating season by increasing the number of days a shoreline business can remain open”. Fishing and recreational boating are multi-million dollar industries for Lake Ontario.“The plan improves revenue for hydropower production by more than $6 million per year, Klein continued.