Flooding on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River: Is It Unsolvable?

APA New York Upstate Chapter


Wednesday, April 25, 2018
3:45 p.m. - 4:15 p.m. EDT

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High water events have frequently occurred on Lake Ontario in the past.  We have a record of floods going back to the Civil War and we have evidence they occurred before that.  In the 1950s, there was an international approval for a new dam constructed for the St. Lawrence Seaway and power project.  The 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty protected riparians from levels higher than those that would have occurred with the dam, but the Orders of Approval for the project went further, reducing pre-dam peak levels to reduce property inundation.  But there are limits to what regulation using the dam can do, and there have been serious floods since the dam was built.  The latest, and worst occurred in 2017, in the first year of a new regulation plan that was designed to address some of the environmental impacts which were ignored in the 1950s agreements.  Many people blamed the new plan for the flooding, but experts agreed the levels would have been the same under the old plan.  Regulation cannot prevent the biggest floods from happening.  What did cause the flooding damage, and what can be done to reduce damage in the future?  This question has been asked throughout the world after big floods, and in too many cases, the practical answer has been “nothing”.  This presentation will address the cause of the flooding and propose practical solutions for reducing future impacts.


William Werick

Invited Speaker


Contact Info

Bill Nechamen, billnechamen@gmail.com