Outflows from Lake Ontario further reduced

Gradually decreasing inflows from Lake Erie, drier weather and record-setting outflows on the St. Lawrence River have resulted in a steadily declining Lake Ontario, down 45 cm (17.7 in.) below the peak. The International Lake Ontario St. Lawrence River Board has met to assess current conditions and hydrologic forecasts, and to review the ongoing impacts of high water levels and flows throughout the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River system.

Outflows were reduced from Lake Ontario to 9,620 cubic meters per second on August 26. High outflows remain necessary to provide relief to those affected by this year’s high water levels on Lake Ontario, but the decrease is necessary to balance the impacts to navigation and other interests in the St. Lawrence River.

Ottawa River flows into the St. Lawrence River have decreased and, while levels of Lake St. Louis (near Montreal) continue near record highs for this time of year, they are now below flood levels. However, the unprecedented outflow from the Moses-Saunders Dam has resulted in the lowest water levels experienced on Lake St. Lawrence (near Cornwall, Ontario and Massena, New York) since 1998. Falling water levels will result in increased currents and potentially hazardous navigation conditions for all in the international section of the St. Lawrence River.

Thus, the board will continue to maximize outflows in consideration of impacts to public water uses, riparian landowners and businesses, commercial shipping and recreational boating. Water levels are expected to continue to decline rapidly into the fall throughout the system. The board, in conjunction with its staff, continues to monitor and reassess conditions on an ongoing basis.

Information on hydrologic conditions, water levels and outflows are posted to the board’s Facebook page here. Additional information is available here.

Maritime Editorial