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Reps. Brindisi, Katko: IJC must act to prevent Lake Ontario flooding

A pair of central New York congressmen are urging the International Joint Commission to prevent flooding along Lake Ontario.

U.S. Reps. Anthony Brindisi and John Katko co-authored a letter to Lana Pollack, U.S. section chair of the commission, requesting “immediate action” to address rising water levels that could lead to a repeat of the floods that occurred in shoreline communities two years ago.

The Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board, which was established by the IJC to manage water levels, reported last week that the lake is now nearly 15 inches above its average for this time of year. With the lake level at 246.06 feet, the board has increased outflows at the Moses-Saunders Dam near Massena.

Brindisi, D-Utica, and Katko, R-Camillus, asked the IJC for information about how the commission plans to address the rising water levels and prevent flooding. Katko’s district contains three counties — Cayuga, Oswego and Wayne — along Lake Ontario. Brindisi represents the eastern portion of Oswego County.

“As you know, shorelines across Lake Ontario were severely impacted by record flooding in 2017. The resulting devastation caused to local businesses, residences and infrastructure continue to be the subject of significant recovery efforts in coastal communities,” Brindisi and Katko wrote. “In addition to threatening the lives of families throughout the region, continued flooding would only cause further destruction and cripple communities that are already struggling to respond to existing damage.”

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