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Great Lakes Today

The war of words between N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the International Joint Commission is continuing,  as residents along Lake Ontario deal with weeks of flooding.

In a letter to Cuomo, the IJC says flooding was triggered by heavy spring rains. And it rejects his suggestion that preventive counter-measures -- like releasing more water through a downstream dam -- should have been made.

Veronica Volk/Great Lakes Today / WXXI News

Two area state lawmakers say that they are introducing bipartisan legislation to provide some financial relief for people living along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River seaway.

State Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle of Irondequoit, a Democrat, and State Senator Pam Helming of Canandaigua, a Republican, say they have reached agreement on a $90 million dollar package to help with flood recovery.

It would include $15 million for residential property owners, $25 million for small businesses, farms and some other categories, and $25 million for municipalities.

There will be more water flowing out of Lake Ontario in an effort to help ease the recent flooding conditions along the south shore.

The International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board agreed this week to increase the water flowing out of the lake at a greater rate. Secretary for the board, Arun Heer says this will be the highest outflow ever released from the lake on a sustained basis.

Because of that, Heer says officials will closely monitor the situation for a few days to see if there are any major adverse impacts.

OLD FORT NIAGARA / FRENCH CASTLE

YOUNGSTOWN, N.Y. (AP)  A reinforced concrete and masonry seawall protecting the oldest building in the Great Lakes Basin has to be repaired after Lake Ontario's pounding waves punched holes in the barrier.

Robert Emerson, executive director at Old Fort Niagara in western New York, says Friday that a structural engineer has inspected the seawall along the shoreline at the state-owned historic site. 

IJC to maintain outflow from Lake Ontario

Jun 8, 2017
ijc.org

The bi-national organization that regulates shared water between the United States and Canada has decided to maintain outflows from Lake Ontario, which are already near a record high, for at least another week.

The International Joint Commission made that announcement this afternoon.

A spokesman for the IJC, Frank Bevacqua, says the board was debating increasing the outflows, which could have serious consequences.

The Paris Climate Accord is designed to have a worldwide reach -- all the way to Paris Township, Mich., near the shore of Lake Huron.

And now that President Trump has pulled the United States out of the Paris agreement, we offer a summary of some climate-related issues in the Great Lakes region.

Jim Levulis / WAMC

The comeback of the American bald eagle is a success story across the Great Lakes region, and keeping them safe is a high priority for many environmental professionals. But one serious threat to the great raptor is lead poisoning.

In New York, environmental officials are closely monitoring the problem. Biologists and researchers have noticed a disturbing trend: an increase in lead-related deaths.

“It’s definitely something we should keep an eye on,” said Kevin Hynes, a biologist with the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Randy Gorbman / WXXI News

Governor Andrew Cuomo made a stop in the Town of Greece on Monday, at a house on Edgemere Drive, one of the areas that was hardest hit by the recent flooding along the Lake Ontario shoreline.

Cuomo came to the home of Joe and Charlie Burgio, one of the many houses where water has poured over decks, washed out docks and caused basement flooding.

The governor previously pledged $10 million in state aid for eligible municipalities and up to $5 million in grants for small businesses.

On Monday, Cuomo announced new funding of $7 million dollars to help homeowners.

The International Lake Ontario – St. Lawrence River Board meets on Monday to talk about the release of water throughout the system and the recent flooding along the river and the south shore of the lake.

The board issued a statement late last week saying that months of precipitation produced the highest recorded water levels on Lake Ontario since records were kept over the last 100 years.

Veronica Volk / WXXI News/Great Lakes Today

Spring flooding along Lake Ontario is damaging many homes along the shoreline, and it’s hurting people who have businesses there. Now, business owners say it will take a long time to recover -- even after the floodwaters go away.

Marge’s is a little bungalow bar in Rochester. Inside, there's a small wooden bar and a few games, but you don't go to Marge’s to stay inside.

Out back is a big stretch of beach looking out over Lake Ontario. There's a tiki hut, and frozen drink machine, and live music on the weekends.

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