Lake Ontario Flooding

The Lake Ontario Flooding issue is one that seems to be cropping up a lot lately these past few years. It seems like the cause is often downplayed, and redirected towards 'climate change'. Weather.com is cited as reporting on the great lakes flooding, with a definite spin on climate change. newyorkupstate.com also has an article which asks this question, and the conclusion quotes Gov. Andrew Cuomo (“We have to plan that these changes in climate will continue. We have to accept that flooding and increased water flow are the new reality. Let’s start building for that new reality.”), and agrees with his statement at the end of the article.

I suppose in a way, human beings are responsible for this flooding. But not due to climate change caused by pollution. More so climate change caused by controlling the waterways, and engineering. In 1950'tys the Moses-Saunders Power Dam was built at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River at Lake Ontario. The Dam fully controls the level of Lake Ontario. Yes, Humans have harnessed the power of the lake, and are using it in a controlled manner. We must keep in mind that this Dam is a hydro-electric generating station, which uses water to generate electricity. And with summer fast approaching, with the promise of increased electrical prices, and demand for A/C, it might be wise to store some of that water so you could use it later to generate more electricity when you can really make more money with it? Just a thought...

But let us look at some other examples I found. Currently, it is reported that the Moses-Saunders Power Dam is letting water flow from Lake Ontario at 9,400 cubic feet per second. This translates to 266 cubic Meters per second. Not very much when you compare it to this 2017 article which says that the IJC allows a maximum flow of 10,400 cubic Meters per second out of the Dam. That means we are only running at 2.5% of the maximum possible flow, leaving Lake Ontario right now. While it is possible that the democraticandchronicle.com story might be incorrect (fake news? - surprise surprise - democrats for ya :P ) and maybe they got it wrong and it should be 9,400 cubic meters per second... That is still 1000 cubic meters per second short of the maximum (but 90% is a heck of a lot better than 2.5%).

The fact remains that the level of Lake Ontario is controlled by man. Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, and Lake Erie all freely drain into Lake Ontario at the rate of up to 6,400 cubic meters per second, but averaging around 3,000 to 4,000 cubic meters per second. Lake Superior is also not really controlled, but does have the ability to be partly regulated in terms of it's flow. So Lake Ontario is the only lake, which all other lakes flow into, whose level is controlled by humans. But why is it being controlled lately? The IJC cites high water flows from the Ottawa River as the main reason they are limiting flow from Lake Ontario. This is mainly because they don't want to cause flooding down the river, through Montreal and other communities.

Rivers are supposed to be natural, organic beings, which will move around as needed. But when we begin to control or limit their flow, it will change the dynamics of the river. Slowing down and limiting the flow could cause more sedimentation which will in turn cause river levels to rise. It will also cause the river to seek out a new path as those waters begin to rise, because the surrounding topsoil is softer than the firmer, more compact river sand that tends to get deposited.

I believe that the true solution isn't to hold the water at Lake Ontario and cause its shoreline to decay, but rather to let the water run, and try to flush out that sediment, in combination with serious dredging efforts along the parts of the river where sedimentation is an issue.

But what do I know?