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GLIN==> Lake Ontario regulation

Posted on behalf of John W. Kangas <john.w.kangas@usace.army.mil>

Lake Ontario regulation
International St. Lawrence River Board of Control

March 27, 2002

While water levels on the upper Great Lakes (Lake Superior and Lakes
Michigan-Huron) remain below average, all of the Great Lakes are higher than
one year ago.  Lakes Ontario, Erie and Michigan-Huron are 15 cm (6 in.), 13
cm (5 in.), and 22 cm (9 in.), respectively, higher than one year ago.  Lake
Erie is at its long-term average and Lake Ontario is 12 cm (5 inches) above
long-term average.  Precipitation amounts on the Great Lakes basins in
February were above average, except for Lake Ontario basin which received
about one-quarter less than usual.

The water levels at most locations in the Thousand Islands area of the St.
Lawrence River are above average by an amount similar to that for Lake
Ontario.  Downstream, the Lake St. Louis and Montreal Harbour levels are
about 8 cm and 62 cm (3 in and 24 in.) respectively, lower than average.
Montreal Harbour levels in recent days have been between 80 cm and 90 cm (31
to 35 inches) above chart datum.  Flows from the Ottawa River into the
Montreal region of the St. Lawrence River are currently slightly above

At present, the amount of water retained on Lake Ontario is 7.9 cm (3.1
inches), a net result of all previous under-discharges and over-discharges
relative to the Regulation Plan 1958-D.

With the level of Lake Erie near its long-term average, the supply of water
to Lake Ontario from that lake is expected to remain near average during the
coming months.  If weather conditions on Lake Ontario basin are near average
for the next few months, its levels should continue to rise and peak this
coming June about 8 cm ( 3.1 in.) above its average of 75.04 m (246.2 ft.).

At a meeting on March 19-20, 2002, the Board considered these and other
relevant conditions and decided on the following regulation outflow

Generally, outflows specified by Plan 1958-D will be followed, except for
flow reductions (if needed) to prevent flooding in the Montreal region
during the Ottawa River freshet.  Lake St. Loius will be kept below its
flood alert level of 22.1 m (72.5 feet).  Any flow decreases for the freshet
will be offset as soon as opportunities arise.  The Board's intent is to
retain 7.9 cm (3.1 in.) of conserved water to meet critical navigation and
hydropower needs later this year.

The Board intends to review this strategy in April, or before if conditions

The International Joint commission was created under the Boundary Waters
Treaty of 1909 to help prevent and resolve disputes over the use of waters
along the Canada-United States boundary.  Its responsibilities include
approving certain projects that would change water levels on the other side
of the boundary, such as the international hydropower project at Massena,
New York and Cornwall, Ontario.  When it approves a project, the
Commission's Orders of Approval may require that flows through the project
meet certain conditions to protect interests in both countries.  For more
information, visit the Commission's website at www.ijc.org.

The International St. Lawrence River Board of Control was established by the
International Joint Commission, mainly to ensure that outflows from Lake
Ontario meet the requirements of the Commission's Orders of Approval.  For
more information, visit the Board's website at www.islrbc.org.

Reg Golding, Ottawa, Ontario (613) 998-1408
John Kangas, Chicago, Illinois (312) 353-4333

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