Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer are joining a list of lawmakers calling on the International Joint Commission to assess rising water levels on Lake Ontario and take action to prevent the risk of flooding.
In a statement released Friday, the senators said the IJC should work to maximize outflows at the Moses-Saunders Dam on the St. Lawrence River and follow through on other actions deemed fit to prevent flooding along the lake.
Lake Ontario’s water levels are currently 15 inches above normal for this time of year, and there is concern the lakeshore could see flooding similar to what happened in 2017.
Schumer and Gillibrand are among several lawmakers who have expressed concerns or noted they are preparing for the worst. Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo called on the IJC to lower lake levels in a letter published last week, and local town leaders say they are getting ready in the event there is flooding again this year.
In Friday’s statement, Senator Schumer said:
“After experiencing record flooding in 2017, Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River communities are once again being threatened with rising water levels – so it is critical for the IJC to do all they can now to prevent flooding in all potentially impacted communities. That’s why today I’m urging the IJC and the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board of Control to expediently take all actions possible to mitigate the risk of future flooding in these communities. With the risk of future flooding rising, we must act now to prevent a repeat of 2017.”
Senator Gillibrand said:
“Two years ago, we saw just how devastating flooding from Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River can be to the homes, businesses, and infrastructure along the lake’s and river’s shoreline. Communities need to be protected against this type of severe flooding. With water levels in Lake Ontario reaching such high levels at this time of the year, we need to do everything we can to mitigate future flood risk ahead of time. I am calling on the IJC and the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board of Control to take the necessary steps to prepare our communities from flood damage, and I will continue to work to make sure that they have the resources they need.”