Boaters cautioned as Moses-Saunders Dam opened

In this July 2018, file photo, a section of the St. Lawrence River looking west from the base of Brookdale Avenue in Cornwall, Ont. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – The regulatory board of the International Joint Commission is increasing the amount of water going through the Moses-Saunders Dam today in order to reduce flooding around Lake Ontario.

The lake has reached 75.90 meters (249.02 feet), which has surpassed the record peak of 75.88 meters (248.95 feet) set two years ago.

The International Lake Ontario St. Lawrence River Board is increasing the flow rate from 9,100 to 9,400 cubic meters per second (two million gallons per second) today by a board order.

“However, the Board may release flows as high as 10,200 cms (2.24 million gallons per second) in the coming week,” it said in a news release.

That volume is enough to fill four Olympic-sized swimming pools every second – the same amount we saw going through the dam in 2017 during flooding conditions.

The seaway has also put no meeting or passing rules in effect for boats in certain areas of the river, including sections of the Brockville Narrows, American Narrows near Alexandria Bay and the Wiley Dondero Canal near Massena, N.Y.

Boaters are also being told to be careful with strong cross-currents around Galop Island and Polly’s Gut in the South Cornwall Channel.

Editor’s note: This story was corrected at 12:03 p.m. to reflect proper agencies giving orders on water control. While a news release came from the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, it’s actually the International Lake Ontario St. Lawrence River Board, a regulatory board of the International Joint Commission, that makes decisions on water flows. The seaway corporation has no direct hand in regulation of water, which is left to the New York and Ontario power authorities operating the Moses-Saunders Dam.