While State Sen. Joe Robach’s Feb. 22 letter correctly calls for better protection of the south shore of Lake Ontario, three critical facts must be recognized.
First, 2017 flooding was caused by unprecedented rainfall in the region. Plan 2014’s contribution, if any, was not significant.
Second, as the lake rose, Plan 2014 increased the outflow. Flows were limited only by severe flooding downstream, not by lack of human control. Once the lake reached its high water trigger level, the IJC’s board was required to provide all possible relief to communities downstream as well as on the lake, just as it would have been in the past. At times this meant reducing outflows.
Finally, the present flows required by Plan 2014 are extremely high and will set a historic record for February. Higher outflows would not be possible, under any regulation plan, without causing flooding downstream.
While some believe that changing the regulation plan is the solution, the truth is that no regulation plan can prevent flooding under the extreme weather conditions seen last year. Blaming the new plan for last year’s flood damages is counterproductive, and will only undermine progress towards real solutions, such as better planning to improve coastal resiliency and prepare for inevitable future floods.
Lana Pollack
U.S. Section Chairman
International Joint Commission