The International Joint Commission, which regulates levels in the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River system has announced water level adjustments for the winter season.
The IJC's International St. Lawrence River Board of Control recently reviewed conditions in the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River system and noted a rapid onset of winter. With the arrival of cold temperatures has comes the formation of ice in the St. Lawrence River. As a result the board has directed changes in the lake levels to influence levels downstream in the river system.
The board plays an active role in ensuring the formation of a stable ice cover. This is essential to minimize the risk of ice-related issues, such as flooding and to ensure that water levels and flows can continue to be managed in accordance with the IJC's Orders of Approval for the regulation of Lake Ontario. Therefore, the board will typically reduce outflows as the ice formation begins.
Reduced outflows result in reduced water velocity; this aids in forming a solid ice cover that can withstand flow increases later. The reduced flows for ice formation may result in some temporary storing of water compared to strictly following the IJC regulation plan. The water stored during ice formation is typically offset by increased outflows when the ice cover is sufficiently stable.