St. Lawrence River outflow in overdrive

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 – With the St. Lawrence Seaway shut down for the season as of Tuesday (Dec. 31, 2019), the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board has put river water flow into overdrive.

The board is increasing outflows through to dam system to 10,700 cubic meters a second for the coming week. That’s about 500 cubic meters per second higher than what is deemed safe for shipping.

The plan is to try and draw down Lake Ontario as much as possible before the winter ice forms.

Lake Ontario is at 75.01 meters (246.1 feet) as of Wednesday (Jan. 1, 2020) when it would normally be about a half meter lower during the same period on an average year (74.54 meters (244.55 feet)).

The board received approval from the International Joint Commission to continue deviating from Plan 2014 to remove additional water from Lake Ontario.

The plan has come under fire from landowners and shoreline advocates, which they say has been the culprit for flooding.