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IJC announces public hearing schedule for new Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River water management plan

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The International Joint Commission next month will be holding public hearings on its new water management proposal — Plan 2014 — in several Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River communities, including Alexandria Bay.

The Alex Bay hearing will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. July 17 at the Bonnie Castle Resort and Marina, 31 Holland St.

Announcing the start of a public comment period today, the IJC introduced “trigger levels” to its Bv7 water management proposal, which will allow the binational water regulator to take “extraordinary actions” when lake water levels exceed or drop below certain points.

These high and low “triggers” will vary greatly depending on the season, and is anticipated to lessen the negative impacts of the wider range of water levels allowed under in Bv7 compared with the current 1958-DD management plan.

For example, while 245.77 feet would be considered a “high trigger” level mid-November, levels as high as 248.12 feet would be allowed in early-June.

By applying these triggers, the negative impacts of Plan Bv7 on shoreline properties and recreational boating are projected to be “substantially” reduced, said Bernard Beckhoff, the IJC’s Canadian-sector spokesman.

The public comment period ends Aug. 30 and the IJC intends to make a recommendation and seek concurrence from the two federal governments this fall.

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