WXXI AM News

Local officials demand action on rising Lake Ontario water levels

Apr 21, 2017

Gas dock at Mayer's Marina is already underwater
Credit Alex Crichton

The rising water levels on Lake Ontario are causing serious problems for local infrastructure, property and business owners.

That's the word from Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo, who spoke Friday morning at Mayer's Marine, part of it already submerged because of high water levels.

Dinolfo called on the International Joint Commission to take immediate action.

She says she has sent an official request for assistance from both state and federal elected officials.

"We're asking that our federal representatives take action, to immediately lower the water levels and to also provide the necessary resources so that our infrastructure, our businesses and our property owners, including our homeowners are protected along the shorelines of Lake Ontario, " she said.

Some local officials are blaming Plan 2014 from the International Joint Commission for the rising water levels.

County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo joins town supervisors from Irondequoit and Webster, and Monroe County Sheriff Patrick O'Flynn at Mayer's Marina

But an IJC spokesman told WXXI the plan has contributed very little to the situation, and the main issue has been all the rain we've received.

Irondequoit Town Supervisor Dave Seeley says the plan only acknowledged there would be an impact on the south shore of Lake Ontario.

"Making that decision without having some mechanism in place to provide assistance and mitigation help for homeowners. I think that was irresponsible, and I think it was almost insulting to the homeowners they would do that without having some sort of remedy in place," he said.

Allison Mayer's family runs the marina on the Webster side of the Irondequoit Bay Outlet Bridge.

She says the continually rising water levels, puts her livelihood at risk.

"Instead of fixing our docks, we're filling sandbags because we've got land that's covered in water, a gas dock covered in water, and it's coming up on our sea walls and into our yards," she said.

Mayer points out that the water level is the ground level there.

Meanwhile, county officials are asking boaters to stay 500 feet from shore, and operate with no wake.

Sandbags are available to town governments on an as needed basis, and the County has received a sandbag filling machine to expedite the process.

Monroe County Sheriff Patrik O'Flynn says he's allowing inmates to help fill sandbags to protect the community and reduce the workload on local departments of public works.

Here's Allison Mayer from Mayer's Marina, talking about the flooding problems from the high lake levels: