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Great Lakes Today

Alex Crichton / WXXI News

A new report attempts to explain the causes of last year’s flooding along the south shore of Lake Ontario.

After floods in the spring of 2017 hurt businesses and drove families from their homes along the shore of Lake Ontario, many homeowners and business owners and even some public officials blamed a new lake water regulation plan.

The Lake Guardian is in Rochester

Jun 18, 2018
iiseagrant.org/lakeguardian

The largest surveillance and monitoring vessel on the Great Lakes is in Rochester.

The “Lake Guardian” is spending all of 2018 on Lake Ontario, to monitor activities in the water, sediment, air and fish using state-of-the-art equipment on board the 180-foot vessel, according to the EPA’s public affairs officer, Michael Basile.

Veronica Volk/Great Lakes Today / WXXI News

It looks like Lake Ontario may have already reached its peak high for the season, which is good news for lakefront home owners and business owners.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is expected to soon release its management plans to combat harmful algal blooms in 12 lakes, some in central and northern New York. The Great Lakes Research Consortium is also commissioning five projects to address the outbreaks and other environmental issues.

Greg Boyer is a SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry professor and the director of the consortium.

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

A board that helps oversee the level of Lake Ontario says that while water levels across the lake and the St. Lawrence River have begun their typical spring rise, conditions are a lot better than they were a year ago. There were months of very high lake levels and shoreline damage in 2017.

Tom Brown is a member of the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board.  He says Lake Ontario is about 16 inches lower than it was at this time last year, although the lake level is about 8 inches higher than its long term average.

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Nearly $3 million in additional relief funding is going to communities in five upstate New York counties along Lake Ontario to help them recover from last year's flooding.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that the state had awarded $2.9 million in flood relief funds to local governments in Wayne, Orleans, Niagara, Cayuga and Jefferson counties.

Cuomo says the funding will be used for ongoing restoration and recovery efforts and to protect communities from future storms.

Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

As the invasive species the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid continues to spread across New York, our neighbors to the North are trying to get ahead of the problem.

A coach bus brought a group of landowners and resource managers from Ontario to Durand Eastman Park in Rochester, to learn more about the spread and management of the insect.

The small bug poses a huge risk to Hemlock trees in New York, and has been spotted in Nova Scotia and the Ontario side of the Niagara River.

Tianna Manon/WXXI News

While many in Monroe County are hoping for warm spring-like weather soon, county officials are preparing for rain and flooding. County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo met with several local agencies on Thursday to discuss flooding preparedness and Lake Ontario's high lake levels. 

She says they have more than 40,000 sandbags stockpiled and are working out how to utilize aqua dams, giant refillable tubes that block water when laid down.

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

Governor Andrew Cuomo is asking the International Joint Commission to maximize outflows of water from Lake Ontario.

He sent a letter to the U.S. Chair of the IJC  in advance of the commission’s scheduled decrease in outflows, which happened on Thursday.

Cuomo said that, "After the disastrous flooding situations on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River last year, it is critical that we remain vigilant and take whatever measures are necessary for ensuring that history does not repeat itself."

Key federal funding for the Great Lakes has survived again thanks to Congress.

This is the second time President Trump proposed a big cut to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. And Congress restored it full: $300 million for the 2019 budget year. 

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