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GLIN==> Lake Ontario Regulation Strategy

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

Lake Ontario Regulation Strategy
International St. Lawrence River Board of Control

April 15, 2002

Water levels on all of the Great Lakes, except Lake Ontario, remain below
average, but all of the lakes are higher than one year ago.  Lakes Ontario
and Erie are 13 cm (5 in.) higher than one year ago, while Lakes
Michigan-Huron are 21 cm (8.3 in) higher.  Lakes Erie and Michigan-Huron are
5 cm (2 in.) and 39 cm (15 in.), respectively, below long-term average while
Lake Ontario is 6 cm (2.4 in.) above its long-term average.  Precipitation
amounts on all of the Great Lakes basins in March were above average.

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 48 cm and 95 cm (19 in. and 37 in.) respectively, lower than average.
Montreal Harbour is about one meter (3 ft.) above chart datum.  Since March
31, flows from the Ottawa River into the Montreal region of the St. Lawrence
River are slowly increasing due to snowmelt on the lower Ottawa River basin.
However, no reductions in the Lake Ontario outflow have been necessary to
date as water levels in the Montreal region remain below flood stage.

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 outflows specified by Regulation Plan 1958-D.

With the level of Lake Erie slightly below its long-term average, the supply
of water to Lake Ontario from that lake is expected to remain near to
slightly below average during the coming months.  If weather conditions are
near average for the next few months, Lake Ontario's level should continue
to rise and peak this June about 6 cm ( 2.4 in.) above its average of 75.04
m (246.2 ft.).  Levels in the Montreal region are expected to peak later
this month, or in May, about 0.6 meter (2 ft.) below average, with summer
and fall levels below average and similar to last year.

At a meeting on April 9, 2002, the Board considered these and other relevant
conditions and decided to continue the regulation outflow strategy announced
3 weeks ago:

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 spring runoff.  Lake St. Louis will be kept below
its flood alert level of 22.1 m (72.5 feet).  Any such flow decrease 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 July, 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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