Lake Ontario Hazards Discussed

On November 6, GRCA and their consultants Pete Zuzek of Zuzek Inc., and Seth Logan of SJL Engineering held an open house in the Venture 13 Lecture Hall to explain measures they were taking to cope with hazards along the Lake Ontario Shoreline from Clarington to Alnwick-Haldimand and north to the moraine. The hazards studied are flooding hazards, erosion hazards and/or dynamic beach hazards.  The intent is to have a plan to cope with these – this would primarily involve regulations that would prohibit new development where a hazard exists.  In addition, the plan would help “increase the resilience of coastal communities”,  reduce coastal hazards and maintain existing public open spaces while ensuring “sustainable coastal development (balance between environment, society & economy)”.  To do this, the consultants looked at all the hazards in the study area keeping in mind regulations, policies and legislation.

GRCA's Cory Harris and SJL's Seth Logan
GRCA’s Cory Harris and SJL’s Seth Logan

Since one of the hazards is flooding, this of course meant that there was a big turnout from residents with waterfront properties concerned about flooding due to recent high lake levels.  Although billed as an “Open House”, it consisted primarily of a presentation with a Q & A at the end. [Note – the Q & A was dominated by property owners concerned about flooding and blaming it on Plan 2014 and criticizing the lack of Government help].

Cory Harris of the GRCA made it clear that although high water levels are blamed on the recent implementation of “Plan 2014”, they were not involved in that plan and further believed it did not cause the problem: instead unusually high rainfalls were the cause in both 2017 and 2019 and these in turn were due to Climate Change.

The GRCA (Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority) is undertaking this study and public consultation with the goal of creating a “Lake Ontario Shoreline Hazards Management Plan” with a completion date of early 2020.  The meeting was to provide a progress report and to get feedback from the public.  But the focus of the meeting was not so much about stopping the flooding, but more on understanding and mitigating the effects or “improving resilience”.

But the presentation did discuss the flood and explanations were provided as to how exactly flooding occurred in on Lake Ontario shorelines.  At the risk of oversimplifying, and recognizing that this is a report on what was said and that not all agree with this, here is a brief summary:

  • In 2019, there has been an unusual amount of incoming water (a 100 year event) – this was mostly because of a fast melt in late May.
  • A “100 year event” means  a 1% chance of it occurring but it can still happen 2 years apart
  • All five Great Lakes, Lake St. Clair, Ottawa River and St. Lawrence River met or exceeded record levels in 2019
  • Only Lake Ontario and Lake Superior are regulated.
  • Timing of inputs and outputs is critical
  • Net Supply to Lake Ontario:
    • Lake Erie 85%, local supply 15% (precipitation, snow melt, runoff, rivers/streams)
    • Record net supply Jan – Jun, 2019
  • Net Outflow:
    • Combination of evaporation and outflow to St. Lawrence
    • Record outflows Jun – Aug, 2019
  • Storm surges – winds from the West – caused this end of the lake to go even higher.

So what about the benefit of regulating the water outflow?  Lake Ontario is regulated – does that help?

See the chart below based on measurements and analysis of Lake Ontario.

Effect of regulation
Effect of regulation

Notes, comments by consultants:

  • Without regulation, peak water levels at Cobourg would have been 37 cm higher (76.21-75.84). 
  • With the previous plan, peak water levels would have been 7cm lower (75.84-75.77)
  • One way of describing the connection between plan 2014 and record high water levels would be to call it a coincidence – that’s what the consultants called it.
  • Focus must be on improving community resilience to water level fluctuations and future extremes


As well as flooding, a major hazard is erosion of an average of a foot of shoreline lost each year – measured from 1954 to 2018.  This would be worse except that some shorelines are armoured (protected) and winter ice limits erosion in winter months.  Because of Climate Change, by the end of the century temperatures here would be 6 to 8 degrees warmer, Lake Ontario would be ice free year round and shoreline erosion would lack the winter ice barriers so erosion would be worse.

Erosion can be limited by various means – some better than others – see full presentation below.  There is no “best method” of protection; a competent Engineering company should be hired to make recommendations.

Dynamic Beach

This is where beaches gain and lose sand.  One way to mitigate that is what has been done in Cobourg where sand is dredged from the Harbour and deposited onto the beach.  For a full discussion see the full presentation in the Links below.

So what should be done to mitigate all these Hazards?

There are four options:

  • Avoid: reduce exposure by ensuring new development doesn’t occur on hazardous land
  • Accommodate: allows for continued occupation while changes to human activities or infrastructure are made to deal with hazards
  • Protect: protect people, property, and infrastructure. Traditional approach and often the first considered
  • Retreat: a strategic decision to withdraw or relocate public and private assets exposed to coastal hazards

See the full presentation for more detail on each of these.

See also the primer provided for these strategies by the Federal Government although it’s intended for sea coasts, not lakes. Sea Level Rise Adaptation Primer.


Full Presentation by Zuzek Inc  and SJL Engineering.

Plan 2014 articles


12 Feb 2020

The Lake Ontario Shoreline Hazard draft mapping is now on the GRCA web site here.  If you look at Cobourg, a 100 year flood (1% chance) extends to the back of Victoria Hall.  Scary stuff.

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John Green
25 November 2019 2:46 pm

In my opinion…
If anyone says that the flooding is primarily caused by anything other than the dam and plan 2014, then they are relegated to clown world where they should be laughed at, and asked to wear big floppy shoes and a goofy green wig and a big round green nose that honks when squeezed ,
while the sane people should demand that the dam be opened to let the water out to safe from flooding levels.

Reply to  John Green
25 November 2019 3:52 pm

Climate Change Clownsworld. The watershed technicians controlling the discharge rates at the dams should be fired or go public which stooge in the Ministry is sabotaging our spring runoff causing flooding.

Reply to  Max
25 November 2019 3:55 pm

program posted my comment twice

John Green
Reply to  Max
25 November 2019 5:15 pm

Yes, it is the run off in the spring, but it is ctitical to have the level lower going into winter, in preparation for the spring run off. That means now!
Are the levels high right now? If they are high then climate change clownworld probably will be flooded next year! Three out of four years!
Hopefully, sane world will perservere and lake levels are lowered to safe from spring flooding levels.

John Green
25 November 2019 1:59 pm
“could ease springtime flooding”
If they would manage the dam properly and stop playing the game of the radical green agenda of blaming “climate change” clown world nonsense, then the flooding would essentially be a thing of the past. Two of three years past!

John Green
23 November 2019 11:51 am

“On the heels of a rally that drew hundreds of people in Trenton Wednesday night, a report in the Recorder and Times states the International Joint Commission says it plans to deviate from the controversial Plan 2014.”

Let’s hope that they “deviate” enough water through the dam now and going into spring so that there is not flooding yet again next year.
Who keeps an eye on water levels? If water levels are high , and remain high, it probably WILL flood. That would make it 3 out of 4 !

Wally Keeler
15 November 2019 10:36 am

All the first world angst about a catastrophic climate crisis with their nickel and dime solutions; ban plastic straws, plastic spoons and forks, and so on, and chronic whining to Western leaders to DO SOMETHING. Meanwhile, none of it will mean a hill of beans because China has signalled that coal power will be a top priority within national energy policy as the government prepares its next Five Year Plan (2021-25). You can count on all the GREENIKS doing absolutely nothing about it.

manfred s
Reply to  Wally Keeler
15 November 2019 1:17 pm

an ‘unpopular’ and often ‘denyer’-labeled perspective but a very grounded and realistic one as far as I’m concerned, Wally. As has been said before, “crisis mongering” is the newest fad to hit the news channels and feeds the ‘hysteria addiction’ spreading through the developed self-centered first world. Then again, as with all fads, this too shall pass, once the next wave of populist outrage makes itself known.

John Green
Reply to  manfred s
15 November 2019 2:04 pm

The green movement is not just a new fad. This is global socialism with a huge network of organisation that runs through institutions world wide. Generations of people have gone through public schools where they have been well “educated” in environmentalism. It’s not new. Big corporate media is well on board and free speech is in danger. This is not a grass roots populist movement, environmentalism is well organised and top down. My God, we now have a minister of “The Environment and Climate Change” This is no fad!
There is hope though, since all of the global warming predictions are proving to be glaringly and undeniably false.
The emporer has no clothes.

Like most everyone, I think that nature is beautiful.
Many good people with good intentions have been misguided, but the global climate change agenda is not really about nature and it’s beauty; its about political control.

manfred s
Reply to  John Green
15 November 2019 8:05 pm

much of what you say is true. I said “crisis mongering” is a fad and “hysteria addiction” is more fuel for the fire. Environmentalism does not have to be crisis-driven as it seems to be at this time. It’s the right mindset and should be a plank in every political platform but handled with reason and achievable objectives that are meaningful and productive rather than knee jerk and populist idealism. This earth will likely outlive the human race because we are consumptive opportunists who seek to profit from whatever we concoct, with gain as the ultimate objective. To be true to itself, and of maximum benefit, Environmentalism should be revenue neutral at all levels. I find the manipulation of young minds through crisis mongering the most objectionable thing of all. That’s where we are failing our young people and the future.

John Green
Reply to  manfred s
15 November 2019 8:11 pm

I too, find much of what you say to be true.
Thank you sir.

Reply to  John Green
16 November 2019 8:24 am

You guys are starting to sound like Mac & Tosh.

John Green
Reply to  Frenchy
16 November 2019 12:13 pm

Lol , just being civil.

The city of Quinte West and United Shoreline Ontario are teaming-up for a rally this month protesting Plan 2014. The event is planned for Nov. 20 from 6 to 8 pm at the Duncan Memorial Arena in Trenton.

Miriam Mutton
Reply to  manfred s
16 November 2019 12:17 pm

“We are beyond any age of innocence when it comes to the ways media is now used and abused for an infinite number of hidden, subversive, selfish or greed-based intentions.”
– Megan Boler, University of Toronto professor

I say we have a personal responsibility and obligation as citizens to focus on actions which benefit all people and the environment, the planet. Sifting through information is part of experience in knowledge building, helping to get to the best solutions. Maybe banning plastic straws does not solve anything but is it a step towards something more significant? For example, why do some stores in Europe accommodate shoppers who want to leave behind product packaging for recycling at the point of purchase? This has caused manufacturers to redesign packaging. Does that happen here? As for the coal question, it can be difficult to tell where the most return on investment will be now… a clean and healthy solution or a dirty one someone else will have to fix later. Consider that telephone service in some developing countries skipped the big expensive step of installing utility poles strung with wires by going wireless from day one. I do not believe that we in North America are always dealing with the latest (or rediscovered) or best, sometimes we are treated more like a dumping ground for stuff not acceptable elsewhere.

John Green
Reply to  Miriam Mutton
16 November 2019 1:01 pm

The banning of plastic straws is a very good example of how fully the green movement is well controlled from top down.
They will give you tons of press to take on the powerful plastic straw industry *sarcasm*, they get the green troops in action on the ground and they get it done! while the big fast food corps play along and fast! Lol But just try to get traction on any matter that actually takes on big corporate/globalist/socialist interests. “But we are taking on big oil” you might reply. No you’re not. They love it . They control it. They will do ju$t fine. If you were a threat to big oil you would know it. Big oil generates revenue$ that are greater than most nations gross national product! They are the government and you are helping them to control you on a global scale.
The one poster on here was protesting against Coke. They must laugh. Don’t expect any traction on that. Coke will do ju$t fine, too. Big corporations are basically crony capatilists, not free enterprise, who are very much on board with the global socialist agenda of climate change. It is their’s. They love big government and globalism. It expands and strengthens their well controlled market$ and much more importantly , political control.
They basically control government to their profitable advantage and the greens are actually helping them to do so.
Btw , BC has the largest coal exporting port on the continent and yet not a peep from the green movement. Why don’t they let you protest? Because it services China. They love China, since it’s very well controlled, just like the greens are, and as all of western society is increasingly becoming.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  John Green
16 November 2019 4:32 pm

The one poster on here was protesting against Coke.

That was mockery, satire. Carbon dioxide is the Earth-Devouring Demon in the narrative of the Gloomy Doomsters. The Fizz Industry is producing billions and billions of bottles/cans that deliver the Demon into the atmosphere. Meanwhile in the backroom, corporate interests pump the plastic straw diversion into the public domain where a million dupes pick up the easy righteousness and convince themselves that they have done something. The whole Green movement has gone off the rails with its extreme alarmism and exploitation of a child savant selling the disgusting idea that humanity is at the “beginning of a mass extinction“. And the gullible of the world amplify that for political motives, for power motives, for control motives,

Autistic Poster
Reply to  Wally Keeler
16 November 2019 8:37 pm

Greta Thunberg is autistic. Until recently you’d have said here that she had Asperger Syndrome, though that name isn’t in use in Canada/USA anymore.

Calling her a ‘child savant’ is to hearken back to the extremely offensive ‘idiot savant’ term for people who were largely nonfunctional in most areas of life but had one exceptional ability. That is not her. She just happens to have a special and deep interest in Climate Science, as opposed to the many other wide and varied kinds of special interests that children and adults with autism have.

Say what you will about climate change, or its supporters or its policies and predictions, but the next time you, a grown man of some intellect and experience, feel the need to dismiss, minimize or otherwise take a personal shot at a child, maybe look in a mirror first and remember that, like her message frequently says, you’re supposed to be doing better.

John Green
14 November 2019 4:03 pm

If you take dam mismanagement out of the equation then there are three basic factors involved in flooding and it all has to do with the spring melt.
These factors are:
– high snow accumulation (lots of snow on ground)

– sudden early high prolonged spring temps
(Suddenly it is balmy out)

– high prolonged spring precipitation (lots of rain)

If all three occur then there will be flooding.

If the lake level is already high going into the spring thaw (dam mismanagement) then flooding will occur regarless of a severe spring thaw. This is why there has been flooding and damage at such an alarming rate since plan 2014 has been in effect.

John Green
14 November 2019 12:21 pm

Environmentalism has become a religion. The problem is that you can not have a rational discussion with a religious person about their faith. As example, you would not argue with a Christian about the bible. It’s something that they believe absolutely and therefore what is the point in arguing?
The problem is that this flooding effects many people adversely in a very direct way and its not a religious matter.

Walter Luedtke
Reply to  John Green
14 November 2019 3:03 pm

Amen, Brother!
Except the flooding in Northern Countries, like the UK and Canada has been predicted not by prophesy, but by scientists.
“Researchers from 24 European countries have provided the clearest evidence yet that climate change is affecting the severity of floods. The study also shows clear regional variations – in northwestern Europe, floods are becoming more severe but will be less destructive in southeastern Europe.” The Independent at the end of August.
And guess what?
Persistent heavy rains are causing widespread flooding in the UK right now.
The same rains that will keep causing high Great Lakes levels in years to come.

Reply to  Walter Luedtke
14 November 2019 3:41 pm

“Persistent heavy rains are causing widespread flooding in the UK right now.
The same rains that will keep causing high Great Lakes levels in years to come.”

Not the Coca-Cola?

John Green
Reply to  Walter Luedtke
14 November 2019 3:51 pm

And what about Coke?!!

2 out of the 3 years since Plan 2014 has been in effect the result has heen severe flooding and damage on lake Ontario.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Walter Luedtke
14 November 2019 5:46 pm

Walter, that is a very strong argument to lower Lake Ontario levels at a much higher rate!

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Walter Luedtke
14 November 2019 7:30 pm

“has been predicted not by prophesy, but by scientists”

Predicting is easy. I predict that shopping malls will continue to be built, that people will continue to enjoy the pleasure of jet travel, and billions and billions and billions of carbonated drinks will be opened annually to celebrate the banning of plastic straws and other Save-The-Planet projects.

Will this report be sent to Cobourg Town Council to budget a few more $million to raise the piers to a higher level to accommodate the higher lake level forecasts as modelled by a blend of stats and Al Gore Rhythms.

I’ll bet that there are Climate Crisis Consultancies forming that will lobby municipalities to study and recommend the necessary actions to prevent imminent mass extinction.

Walter Luedtke
14 November 2019 9:19 am

And it’s gonna get worse!
“The trend toward increased precipitation is expected to continue as the atmosphere warms because of climate change.
A warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture, which can condense and turn into precipitation.
A marked increase in heavy precipitation events has been observed across the United States during the past several decades, a trend linked to climate change and observed in the Great Lakes region.” Washington Post
Hope this is simple enough.
But how to cope?
Simple too.
The same people who cry ‘user pay’ at every opportunity want the taxpayer to pay for protecting them against the hazards of waterfront living.

Reply to  Walter Luedtke
14 November 2019 9:29 am

No pic?

Walter Luedtke
Reply to  Frenchy
14 November 2019 10:22 am

comment image
Ooops I forgot. Kiss on your cheek.
Flooding in Yorkshire, UK, as we speak.
Result of heavy rains.
Some bright spark suggested dredging rivers as a solution.
Sort of like a bigger drain hole in your bathtub.
Simple, no?

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Walter Luedtke
14 November 2019 11:05 am

Coca Cola sold 25.5 billion unit cases and had revenue of $35.119 billion worldwide in 2010.

25.5 billion, and that’s just Coca Cola. Add the billions from Pepsico, billions from other drinks infused with carbon dioxide, all sending the dreaded carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and contributing to the rise of the Great Lakes.

“I’d like to buy the world a Coke and keep it company. It’s the real thing.

Reply to  Wally Keeler
14 November 2019 4:24 pm

Maybe they should make nuclear coke instead.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Wally Keeler
14 November 2019 5:43 pm

According to 196 billion litres of beer (more than Coke!) are consumed each year. This is 6100 litres per second. Consider that beer production uses yeast that produces evil carbon dioxide. To quote Greta the Grinch, “HOW DARE YOU!”

Reply to  Walter Luedtke
22 November 2019 6:15 pm

joke. as if flooding never happened before.

John Green
13 November 2019 12:59 pm

Seems to me that if you want less flooding and erosion then keep the dam open more. It lets off water and causes lower lake levels. That is how dams work.
It is simple really and it really doesn’t cost anything. But it certainly saves on people losing their property!
Have any experts tried that?

Ps. If you are all for things being more natural then damming up a lake is NOT natural. It is man’s intervention in nature. It is natural to let the water flow out of the lake more naturally like it did before the dam was built. Problem solved!

Reply to  John Green
13 November 2019 1:21 pm

John, it is, unfortunately, not that simple. I spent some time reading the US Army Corps of Engineers, IJC, and other discussion papers on Great Lakes water levels in both 2017 and earlier in 2019. There are a number of serious variables at play including, but not limited to: the volume of water from the Ottawa River, water levels on the St. Lawrence that can flood the City of Montreal, water speed and water level on the St. Lawrence that can adversely affect ship navigation, water levels on the St. Lawrence that can adversely affect hydro electricity production, erosion of properties on the St. Lawrence from both high water and ship wakes, northern snowpack melt, rain level in the Great Lakes’ basin, etc. If the IJC gets it wrong and drains too much from Lake Ontario there will not be enough for shipping or hydro. If they release too much, at the wrong time, the Montrealers will be treading water for some time. Best questions in all this seems to be: how much snow and rain will we get, when will that snow melt and the rain fall and how good are all of predictions (or guesses, if you like).

John Green
Reply to  MCGA
13 November 2019 1:29 pm

Just keep it simple and more natural without all the gobbly gook that people use for unknown reasons.

Dams are not natural. Damming to the point of flooding is just plain stupid. More dam more flooding. Less dam less flooding.
See, its not as complicated as you seem to want to make it.

Reply to  John Green
13 November 2019 1:48 pm

Flooding existed before dams. Sometimes dams stop flooding or mitigate it (reference the River Thames flood barriers). Just because you are not affected by the flooding doesn’t mean people down river aren’t. Other entities including: hydro users, shipping interests (including the farmers, miners and manufacturers etc.) have an interest and rights as well. BTW dams do happen in nature and rivers reroute accordingly (reference the Fraser River) It is that complicated.

John Green
Reply to  MCGA
13 November 2019 2:04 pm

Lol, more gobbly gook. Like “dams do occur in nature” when we are discussing a modern billion dollar hydro electric dam and its effect on flooding?
Im sorry sir but i can not waste more time and type with your ridicilous argument. Lets agree to disagree and let others debate.

Reply to  John Green
13 November 2019 4:30 pm

Those who don’t wish to read the underlying studies or find all the related science gobbly book remind me of those who think calculus and physics are gobbly gook because those subjects are more complex than basic math. Sad commentary indeed.

Reply to  MCGA
13 November 2019 9:32 pm

Water levels have nothing to do with calculus. The bathtub analogy used to be taught in grade school math and is still applicable. Computers may help to deal with more variables, but it is simple really. It used to be said that bullshit baffles brains, and I think that MGCA’s complicated explanations illustrate this.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  MGBH
13 November 2019 10:25 pm

It used to be said that bullshit baffles brains, and I think that MGCA’s complicated explanations illustrate this.

More accurately, bullshit baffles those lacking an ability to think who merely accept what experts tell them and never question obvious absurdities.

Reply to  Ken Strauss
13 November 2019 10:42 pm

Actually it comes from adequate experience to reasonably test information provided by people who make careers out of studying complex topics. Most seasoned professionals gain that rank by getting it right more often than getting it wrong. The amateur just plays at it. Few Noble prizes for those amateurs.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  MCGA
13 November 2019 10:52 pm

Have any GRCA or IJC people received Noble prizes?

Reply to  Ken Strauss
13 November 2019 11:21 pm

Not sure but I know that the IJC operates under limits prescribed by International
Treaty, not simply whim. They have operated for 60 years, getting it right most of that time. I listen carefully when someone with that track record explains what is happening, and why.

Jim Thomas
Reply to  Ken Strauss
14 November 2019 9:01 pm

Are we talking about Nobel Prizes here?

Miriam Mutton
Reply to  MGBH
13 November 2019 10:30 pm

How does the bathtub analogy work with the storm surge reality of a large deep lake with expanses of open water? For example, damaging tsunamis can occur when the floor of the ocean rises up at shorelines. Even on Lake Ontario wave action can ‘pull’ a shoreline retaining wall back into the lake.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Miriam Mutton
13 November 2019 10:50 pm

The title of the graph in question is “Static Lake Level” and shows that the lake level would be about 0.7M higher WITHOUT regulation than under Plan 2014 which restricts outflows. I’m having trouble understanding how the lake would be two feet higher with unrestricted outflows than with restricted outflows. Note that there are no dams in existence to restrict inflows.

Why would storm surges be higher (in relation to the shoreline) with lower lake levels? A higher shoreline with respect to the quiescent lake level would reduce the deleterious impact of surges. With an average depth of almost 300 feet and some areas 800 feet deep, I find it hard to believe that a difference in depth of a few feet (~1%) would have any measurable difference at all in relation to surges measured with respect to the lake level.

Miriam Mutton
Reply to  Ken Strauss
13 November 2019 11:31 pm

Not sure either. If I have read the presentation correctly, measured base data for more than 100 years is the same for all three models. Were there natural restrictive high points removed or pinch points widened at lake end meeting the St. Lawrence River when the seaway was created? (Read post by MCGA after I wrote this! See below)

And, the damaging storm impact would not be necessarily from higher water level. Consider that if the lake level is lower, the damaging part of storm surge could in fact undermine a shoreline structure by exposing or eroding the supporting base. An interesting point noted in the Erosion section in the article above, the loss of shoreline protection when the lake becomes ice free in winter.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Miriam Mutton
14 November 2019 8:25 am

If the published chart is comparing the situation with Plan 2014 and the current configuration to what existed prior to construction of the Moses-Saunder dam but labeling it as “no control”, that is seriously (and intentionally?) misleading.

I am unsure of other portions of the lake shore but my particular concern is the area of Cobourg west of downtown. For much of that shoreline the lake floor gradually slopes downward so lower lake levels would move any erosion points far from the existing shore.

John Green
Reply to  Ken Strauss
13 November 2019 11:57 pm

@ Ken Strauss
You are right.
You can only increase lake water levels with a dam. Just like you can only drain a bathtub with a plug. You can not fill your bathtub with your bathtub plug even if you use calculus.
Its weird that the point must be made about something so incredibly straight forward.
But somehow people go a bit crazy about anything to do with the environment.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  MCGA
13 November 2019 10:20 pm

Indeed it is sad that so many are so gullible.
Obviously lower lake levels may adversely impact shipping and hydroelectric generation as you noted earlier. There may even be flooding elsewhere. However, I’m having trouble understanding how a dam that restricts the outflow can make Lake Ontario levels LOWER than with no dam restricting outflow as is shown by the graphs above. Please don’t omit the calculus and physics for my benefit. However bathtub analogies are also acceptable.

Reply to  Ken Strauss
13 November 2019 10:53 pm

Not sure of the region’s analysis BUT pretty sure the Corps of Engineers, who have been studying the Lakes for over 100 years, have a good handle on flooding cause and affect. One point that the IJC made was that there use to be a natural rock shelf in the St. Lawrence River that seved as a quasi damn slowing the water flow out of Lake Ontario. That shelf was removed when the Seaway was excavated. So a damn, with all its flood gates open depositing the outflow into a wider, deeper river might well cause the water level to drop faster and lower than the narrower, shallower predecessor. That is physics, though at the high school level.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  MCGA
14 November 2019 8:34 am

MCGA, you are changing the terms of the discussion in order to mislead. Nobody has suggested that we unbuild the Seaway so there are only situations to consider:
Restrain the outflow from Lake Ontario in order to raise levels and cause flooding
Reduce lake levels by increasing the outflow through Moses-Saunders.

It doesn’t require even high school level physics to understand that increased outflows will reduce rather than increase the lake level.

IJC members are political appointees so it is unlikely that there are any Nobel recipients.

Doug Weldon
13 November 2019 9:39 am

Plan 2014 from the International Joint Commission allows for water levels higher than previously was allowed. The IJC is an American/ Canadian commission that is the only body that regulates Lake Ontario water. Conservation Authorities have NO jurisdiction over water levels! In Spring the water is now higher than was previously allowed so little room is left for Spring run off. Add a high Spring run off to that and, surprise, surprise, flooding occurs. The chart “Effect of Regulation” has no real explanation as to how the data is arrived at. That chart is basically saying that with no regulation of L.Ontario water levels then the lake will be even higher. (?) The lake is regulated by dams near Cornwall. No regulation would mean opening these dams to let the lake drain to its natural level. And believe it or NOT that chart says the L. Ontario levels will get higher if this is done!!?? Seems impossible to me. Even my bath tub drops its water level when I pull the plug. The reason that high water is maintained all year on Lake Ontario is to accommodate lake shipping. Higher water allows for a quicker passage through the lake. From the $20k, $50K and even $100K bills that have occurred in our local area by homeowners trying to stop errosion I wonder what the total bill over the last few years has been. All of Lake Ontario – US & Can. must be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, billion? Would more efficient shipping be worth that much cost? It won’t be many years before Cobourg houses will be slipping into the lake. we had a beautiful shore line with many places you could walk the beach or limestone along by the water. That is already gone. I would… Read more »

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Doug Weldon
13 November 2019 1:10 pm

I had to miss the meeting. Was there *ANY* explanation regarding the absurd claim that controlling the flow at Cornwall would result in *LOWER* lake levels as shown by their graph?

Yes, Doug, my bathtub works like yours!

Doug Weldon
Reply to  Ken Strauss
13 November 2019 2:36 pm

There were comments at the meeting about the Cornwall dams and ‘How they kept Lake Ontario levels “lower”.’ I used the bathtub analogy but was told that it was all too complicated for a layman like me to properly understand. Nothing will happen until lake shore towns in Canada and the USA get together to lobby the gov’t. A group from both sides, of irate shoreline property owners, could perhaps make a great difference. Canadian reps from the International Joint Commission have said that ‘Nothing can be done because it would require getting an agreement with another country and that would be difficult.’ That was in the Toronto Star a month or so ago. I bet if we checked in the USA they are using the same excuse – We can’t break an agreement with another country! They must chuckle after saying that. Their main point seems to be to provide optimum water levels for shipping. I remember years ago the shippers would complain about low water levels. We don’t hear any of those complaints now. Funny how we were able to renegotiate the Free Trade agreement. Guess that wasn’t near as difficult as lowering a Dam. I can’t imagine that shipping would in any way be impacted as significantly as the shorelines now are. And I can’t imagine why some level of government does not stand up and deal with this – local, provincial or federal. I suspect both federal and provincial have some responsibility here. A law suite by a collective of home owners might make them take notice. Not sure why this bothers me so much but I don’t know how to sit back and watch something like this and just let it keep happening. Oh yeah, and the OTTAWA RIVER DOES NOT FLOW INTO LAKE ONTARIO… Read more »

John Green
Reply to  Doug Weldon
13 November 2019 11:23 pm

@ Doug Weldon
I absolutely agree with your points.
I visit the beach in Cobourg year round. I have been for many many years.I grew up near by.
When I first saw the crazy high water levels i thought there was something weird going on. I knew that the media would claim that “climate change!!” was to blame.
I then thought of there being a dam somewhere in the east end of the lake , and I logically wondered about how it might play a role in the flooding.I did not know about the dam until i googled it. So i discovered that it is the huge Moses Saunders dam and that there is a new policy called “Plan 2014”
that legislated for higher water levels!!!

Now , bear in mind that there have been many instances of flooding eleswhere where people have spoken of “dam mismanagement” but it is always quashed.
I can’t explain why people make such an effort to defend the dam and plan 2014.
I just know that it is like they are a bit insane. It goes under the category of “you could not make this stuff up” Seriously , imo , they seem to become completely irrational when it comes to anything environmental. Its a religion. There is no sense in arguing with irrational people and for sure there is a very powerful political agenda at play.

13 November 2019 8:51 am

So it was a nice presentation Solves nothing No protection for property owners– Obviously the presenters do not live on any active waterfront
as I have continuously for 55 yrs Lake Ont Pickering & Cobourg areas , Niagara river and the Trent sys . Now I live across the road from the lake Local Home owners are now experiencing the fact they are no longer able to get flood insurance for Back up ,or overland water damage from lake or streams here . Cobourg’s storm sewers are over burdened and under sized and back up into basements and the GRCA confirmed has done absolutely nothing in the last 10 yrs to maintain the Down stream open water flow of streams and creeks to reduce the effects of back up and larger amounts of Ponding and backup then dumps into our storm drain sys. rather than natural water courses which have been allowed to plug up and fill in .
Oh yes they will have a fancy name for it like Natural habitat occurrence but its not when lazy property owners start leaving dead fall in or across the creeks , or making little water features in
the stream in their back yds or dumping leaves along the creek beds they need to be removed to maintain a healthy water flow That means right down to the St Lawrence
Seems we have Studied & known about the 100 yr for 1oo yrs now but little has been done to resolve it Time for action not more studies

Reply to  perplexed
13 November 2019 9:04 am

First, no one tells them to live near the shoreline. Why do you continue to live near the shoreline?

Second, why do we continue to pave over ground and prevent natural leaching of rain water into the soil. It’s no wonder our storm sewers can’t deal with the run-off.

Reply to  CiW
14 November 2019 8:49 am

We have lived by the shoreline for years to enjoy what once was peaceful , Tranquil and private
nature Picturesque filed locations
Yes we pay Taxes for the privilege that are nearly if not more than Double that of a comparable
property shall we say along the Elgin st corridore of Cobourg Not to mention Property prices
that are far higher This does Not necessarily a bigger house . But we Vacation out of the Country less.
As far as Storm water goes we have to blame the Engineering Dept for the lack of foresight
and thank Premier Ford for trying to get our Conservation Depts back to the real jobs and work
such as Water flow and Open stream management and Maintenance not Ponding
and the causation of wetlands in the center of our towns filled with road salts and sand
along with a load of debris Conservations roll was never to develop Zip lines and
education centers Thats the Parks and Recreations depts roll

Reply to  perplexed
13 November 2019 9:22 am

Electing to live near bodies of water presents very understandable and largely quantifiable risks. Living with those risks is a personal choice. Expecting others, either private individuals or governmental entities, to mitigate or eliminate those risks is unrealistic and largely unfair. I grew up on or near the ocean, experiencing multiple hurricanes and flooding events. Those who did their homework understood where the limits of safety were and built accordingly. Others, suffered the consequences.
PS For a price, Lloyds of London will write a flood insurance policy on virtually any property. That said, you will not like the price tag…they understand how to measure risk.

Old Sailor
Reply to  MCGA
14 November 2019 8:28 am

Pulling the plug in the bathtub might work. But turning off the faucet called Niagara Falls doesn’t appear to be possible. I understand that the four Great Lakes above the falls are also suffering from record high water levels. As are the lakes that feed into the Trent Waterway. Which to me means more flow into Lake Ontario in the foreseeable future.

Reply to  Old Sailor
14 November 2019 5:28 pm

Absolutely Old Sailor. Contributing to that volume of water was the fact that the entire Great Lakes Basin received record levels of precipitation which ultimately must find it’s way out to sea and Lake records fell everywhere. The question that the IJC must currently grapple with is “will this event repeat next year?” If they assume yes and pull-the-plug and thereafter precipitation levels drop significantly they run the risk of too little water in the Seaway and at the hydro damn. Hard to push water back up the drain. So it comes down to the IJC placing a water level wager based upon a long term weather forecast.

Miriam Mutton
12 November 2019 7:37 pm

The presentation by the three presenters at Venture 13 was excellent and packed with information. The write up above is well done and captures a number of highlights.
I wonder if there is a video of the meeting that could be posted to the Town Civicweb or YouTube site?